How to Wash Memory Foam Pillow: Mistakes to Avoid

Romeo Vitelli
Romeo Vitelli
Expert Writer
Received his doctorate in Psychology in 1987, spent fifteen years as a staff psychologist in Millbrook Correctional Centre. In 2003 went into full-time private practice. read more
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Last updated: August 16, 2023
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Having a memory foam pillow and a memory foam mattress is a great addition to any bedroom. It can greatly enhance your sleep and give you that much-needed sleeping time that you need. Since you spend so much time in the bed and on your pillow, it is very important that they are kept clean.

Your pillow will have oils and cells from your face that can allow it to hold onto bacteria. This, in turn, can then cause skin problems or other health issues. This article will teach you how to wash a memory foam pillow.

Many people wash their pillowcases, but they forget about the actual pillow. Some people may think you can’t wash the actual pillow, but you can. You will have to take the proper care and precautions when washing the pillow to ensure there is no damage. Read on and follow these tips to see how to properly wash your memory pillow.

What is memory foam?

How to Wash Memory Foam Pillow: Mistakes to Avoid

Memory foam is a commonly used material in pillows, couches, and other furniture. It is made out of a polymer called polyurethane. It is known for its long lifespan. It also forms your weight Trusted Source Memory foam - Wikipedia Memory foam consists mainly of polyurethane as well as additional chemicals increasing its viscosity and density. It is often referred to as “viscoelastic” polyurethane foam, or low-resilience polyurethane foam (LRPu). and shape, making the sleeping experience much more comfortable for you.

Based on reviews, one of the best pillows is the Conforma Ventilated Memory Foam Pillow by Classic Brands. It is hypoallergenic and resistant to allergens and molds.

How to wash and clean memory foam pillows?

While a memory foam pillow shouldn’t be put in the washing machine, you can still clean it simply and easily. It doesn’t take too much time.

  • Use a large sink or bathtub and fill it with warm water.
  • Do not use body soap or laundry detergent. The best option is an unscented dish detergent.
  • Put the pillow fully underneath the water.
  • Squeeze it out and then submerge it again. Do three times total.
  • Now drain the soapy water and refill the sink with clean, warm water.
  • Squeeze all the excess water out of the pillow until all the soap is out. Try not to ring it out or squeeze too hard.
  • Leave it out to air dry.

How to clean spills and spots

How to Wash Memory Foam Pillow: Mistakes to Avoid

Spilling drinks or other things on pillows is sometimes unavoidable. It happens when you are lounging around or when a kid or dog may jump on the bed. Follow these easy steps to get the stain out:

  • Remove the pillowcase. Try to do this as soon as the spill happens.
  • Mop up the extra fluid. You can use an old towel.
  • Use dish detergent (unscented) and mix with water until it bubbles. Then use a sponge with the soap mixture to rub the stain.
  • Rub in a circular motion lightly. Do not press into the pillow or rub roughly.
  • Either let the pillow airdry or use a hairdryer on low. Do not put it in the dryer machine.

How to eliminate unpleasant odors

Your pillow is bound to absorb an odor every once in a while. Washing the pillowcase and keeping your face and hair clean can help avoid odors on the pillow.

When you notice your pillow smelling, follow these tips:

  • Remove the pillowcase and wash it in the washing machine
  • Lay the pillow on a kitchen counter or a clean surface on the floor.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on the pillow in an even layer. Not too much and not too little.
  • Leave the pillow in direct sunlight for 2-3 hours.
  • Take a pillow vacuum with the wand attachment and gently vacuum up the excess baking soda. It will vacuum up hair or other debris that may be causing the odor.

How to Wash Memory Foam Pillow: Mistakes to Avoid

Deep cleaning

Deep cleaning is sometimes needed if there was a huge spill or the pillow hasn’t been cleaned in a while. Always clean stains up first with dish detergent. Then vacuum the pillow.

After vacuuming, submerge the pillow in warm water and dish detergent. Squeeze it out and repeat the process several times. Allow it to air dry. Use the baking soda method above if there is an odor after the pillow is dry.

Finish by misting it with water and an essential oil mixture.

How to dry it

The best way to let your memory foam pillow dry is to let it air dry. This means you will need to wash the pillow at a time when you don’t plan to sleep soon. You can also wash it on a sunny day and leave it in direct sunlight to allow it to dry faster.

If you are pressed for time, use a hairdryer in low and warm settings. You can also place it under a ceiling fan.

How to maintain it

There are several ways you can maintain the cleanliness of your memory foam pillow. If you are looking for an easy pillow to clean, try the Tempur Cloud ProMid Pillow by Tempur-pedic. It has adaptive support and never loses its shape.

Use a removable pillowcase so that you are not sleeping directly on the pillow each night. This will keep your pillow cleaner for longer. You won’t have to clean it as often.

Wash the memory foam monthly. Consider washing it right after an illness. Always clean up spills and stains as soon as they open. Leaving a spill can cause the pillow to be permanently damaged and give it an odor that is harder to get out.

Tips and tricks

Good cleanliness and the right equipment go a long way when keeping the pillow clean. Change your pillowcase every week, more often if someone was sick or there was a spill.

Vacuum the pillow every time you change the pillowcase. This will remove any hair, dirt, and debris. It also doesn’t take as long as washing, and you won’t have to wait for it to dry.

Spot clean as needed. You can use hydrogen peroxide to clean the blood by mixing it with cold water and using a new toothbrush or small cleaning brush to rub it in.

If there is a urine stain, you can mix white vinegar and baking soda. Leave the mixture on for a few hours and then blot with a cloth.

Equipment and tools

Only a few tools are needed to clean the pillow:

  • Baking soda
  • Unscented dish detergent
  • Sponge
  • Hairdryer (if not air drying)
  • Warm water
  • Sink or large basin

Mistakes to avoid

Some things can ruin your pillow. Make sure to avoid these common mistakes:

  • Don’t leave the pillow wet. Let it dry in the sun or under a fan immediately.
  • Don’t put the pillow in a washing or dryer machine.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals or household cleaners on the pillow.
  • Don’t sleep on the pillow without a case or other covering.

Final thoughts

Following all the tips above on how to wash a memory foam pillow is a great way to keep your pillow fresh and clean. It will also decrease the growth of bacteria and mold. Make sure to always use mild soap and water when cleaning the pillow. Allow it to air dry for a fresh, smelling, new feeling pillow. Keep a pillowcase on it so that the cleaning process is even easier.


Memory foam - Wikipedia
Memory foam consists mainly of polyurethane as well as additional chemicals increasing its viscosity and density. It is often referred to as “viscoelastic" polyurethane foam, or low-resilience polyurethane foam (LRPu).
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