If you have ever had to wash a memory foam pillow, you know it can be tricky. The material is so dense and heavy that it is hard to move in the washing machine, and the dryer does not always work. This article will show you exactly how to wash a memory foam pillow to keep it fresh and as good as new.
Should memory foam pillows be washed?
Solid memory foam pillows should not be washed! They are made of materials that were unable to withstand liquids, so one wash can destroy the structure of the pillow and leave it without its supportive pillow like bounce.
The best way to handle the issue is to always use a pillow cover. A solid foam pillow should always be used in a pillow protector under your regular pillow covers.
Most solid foam pillows come with a removable pillow cover that can be washed in the machine, so you can just wash the cover and put it back on the pillow.
A shredded foam pillow can’t be washed with water either, but you can take the foam out and wash the pillow casing before re-filling it either with the same foam or replacement foam.
Read also: is your memory foam mattress causing back pain?
Can memory foam pillows be washed in the washing machine?
Most memory foam pillows are not machine washable, so you should never wash memory foam pillows in the washing machine. The combination of water and the spinning or tumbling nature of the washing machine will damage the memory foam and make it unuseable as a pillow.
Read also: do you put a pillowcase on a memory foam pillow?
Do I need to wash memory foam at all?
Solid memory foam is anti-allergenic and does not generally require washing. However, the pillow covers need washing as they can accumulate dead skin cells and even dust mites after a time. Your outer pillow cases should generally be washed every one to two weeks, and the inner pillow case around the memory foam should be washed every month or so.
Solid memory foam pillows do sometimes get stained, and may require some cleaning following the steps below.
Shredded memory foam can accumulate dust mites and dead skin cells within the bed pillow itself, as there are gaps between the foam.
In extreme cases, these shredded pillows can be gently washed in their pillow cover (check the label first). Alternatively, the foam can be lightly sprayed with antibacterial spray and then left out in the sun to naturally sterilise. After this, the pillow can be re-filled with the memory foam.
Read also: Do silk pillowcases make you sweat?
Can I dry a memory foam pillow in the dryer?
Never put a memory foam pillow in the dryer as the heat will damage the foam.
What about dry cleaning?
Dry cleaning should never be attempted on a memory foam pillow either, as the chemicals involved in the process are too harsh for this type of product. If you can find an option that does not include water or chemical agents then it may be possible to dry clean your solid foam pillow.
Shredded memory foam pillows may be dry cleaned, but only if the pillow cover has a zip or other removable panel for easy cleaning access.
What about spot cleaning? Spot clean your solid memory foam with anti-bacterial wipes. Start by removing the pillow cover from the foam pillow and then gently use an anti-bacterial wipe or a very slightly damp cloth with mild detergent.
Spot cleaning a memory foam pillow with water, soap and anti-bacterial sprays is only acceptable on shredded pillows if the label specifically states that this can be done. If in doubt, do not use any liquids to clean your memory foam! It will damage it beyond repair.
If you are not sure, then just simply dust and vacuum regularly instead! Never dry out or heat up a memory foam pillow in any way.
If you do need to use water, make sure to use a clean cloth with very gentle detergent and only use this cleaning solution on the minimum area of the pillow.
What if my memory foam pillow smells?
If your memory foam pillow smells it may simply require the pillow cover washing. Alternatively, it might be the natural smell of the memory foam coming through. This normally happens when the pillow is new, and will wear off after a few days of use.
This is similar to what happens with latex pillows smell.
Cleaning your memory foam pillows with baking soda
To freshen up your memory foam pillows, sprinkle over a little baking soda on to one side of the pillow and then let it sit outside for a few hours, preferably in the sunshine. Then use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner to remove the baking soda. Turn the pillow over and repeat on the other side. You now have a clean pillow free from dust mites, dead skin, and any other dirt.
Sun clean your pillows
Alternatively, simply leaving your pillows outside in the sun without any baking soda or other cleaning process will actually leave your pillow smelling fresh.
This is a good solution for shredded memory pillows, as you won’t be able to use baking soda on these due to the fact that even your upholstery brush attachment will still suck up the foam pieces.
You can also use this technique to get any chemical smell out of your pillows. Read also our article on Do latex pillows smell.
If you do really need to deep clean your memory foam pillow as a last resort, such as when pet urine has gone on your pillow, you can try the following technique. Bear in mind that your pillow is not guaranteed to survive this deep cleaning process, so only try it if all other methods have failed. You will need to do this on a warm day, as you will want to dry your pillow outside.
Firstly, remove the protective cover. Next, fill a bath tub with lukewarm water and mix in some gentle detergent.
Place the entire pillow gently into the water and leave it to soak for around 15 minutes. Make sure not to compress the delicate material of the foam or to scrunch up the pillow in any way. If you do have any particularly dirty areas then you can very gently rub them with a clean cloth.
Once the pillow has soaked, remove the foam gently from the bath and very gently squeeze out any excess liquid. Then take it outside. Don’t be tempted to wring the pillow out or put it on a clothes dryer or in a spinner, as this will ruin the pillow.
How long does it take for a memory foam pillow to dry?
You should aim to air dry your pillow in gentle sun for a whole day if possible.
To dry your pillow, make sure it is on a flat surface and never use a hair dryer or other heat direct heat source. Instead, let the pillow air dry completely before using it again.
How long will my memory foam pillow last?
A memory foam pillow typically lasts around 1-3 years. Although a memory foam pillow is a higher-ticket item than an ordinary bed pillow, they are generally recommended for people who experience neck pain, and are often a great investment.
Conclusion: How to wash a memory foam pillow
It is only necessary to clean your memory foam pillow if it smells or has stains. Spot-washing the pillow with water and anti-bacterial spray can work for some, but it is better to simply use baking soda to clean a memory foam pillow. This will not be possible for shredded foam pillows, but you can still make your pillow fresh by taking the foam out of its washable cover and leaving it out in the sun for a few hours. It is recommended to air-dry a memory foam pillow that has been cleaned with water for 24 hours without putting it in the dryer.
Aside from keeping the pillow cover clean, it is probably best not to attempt to wash memory foam pillows, but instead simply buy new ones every year or so.