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How to Clean Your Memory Foam Pillow Without Damaging It

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

how to clean a memory foam pillow

A memory foam pillow offers exceptional support and comfort for a good night's sleep. However, over time, it can accumulate dust, oils, and odours, requiring regular cleaning to maintain its freshness and performance.

Cleaning a memory foam pillow, just like it's mattress counterpart, requires specific techniques to ensure its longevity and effectiveness.

In this comprehensive blog post, we'll provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to clean and refresh your memory foam pillow effectively.

Cleaning & Maintaining Your Memory Foam Pillow

To clean your memory foam pillow you need to hand wash it. Follow our steps carefully so as not to damage the composition. For spot stains, read on.

Understanding Memory Foam Pillows

  1. Composition: Memory foam pillows are made of viscoelastic polyurethane foam, similar to memory foam mattresses. They conform to the shape of your head and neck, providing personalized support and pressure relief.

  2. Sensitivity: Memory foam pillows are sensitive to moisture and heat, and improper cleaning methods can damage their structure and effectiveness. It's important to follow our cleaning regime so as not to damage it.

  3. Popularity: These pillows have risen in popularity in recent years because of their comfort and ability to help many people have a comfortable night's rest. This has become a problem due to the fact that those same people haven't done their due diligence in knowing how to care for them properly.

Regular Maintenance

  1. Use a Pillow Protector: Prevent stains, oils, and sweat from seeping into your memory foam pillow by using a zippered pillow protector. It acts as a barrier, keeping your pillow clean and hygienic.

  2. Air Out and Fluff: Regularly fluff and air out your memory foam pillow to maintain its shape and freshness. Placing it in a well-ventilated area for a few hours can help remove odours and improve airflow.

  3. Regularly clean: Even with a pillow protector, you will want to clean your memory foam pillow regularly. As we will show you, cleaning your pillow is easy once you get the hang of it.

General Cleaning Guidelines

  1. Spot Cleaning: Address spills and stains immediately to prevent them from setting into the memory foam. Gently blot the affected area with a clean, damp cloth or sponge. Avoid using excessive water or rubbing the pillow vigorously.

  2. Deodorizing: To eliminate odours, sprinkle baking soda over the pillow's surface. Let it sit for a few hours, then vacuum it thoroughly to remove the baking soda and any trapped odours.

How To Hand Wash Your Memory Foam Pillow

  1. Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Mix the water gently to create a soapy solution.

  2. Submerge the memory foam pillow into the water and press it gently to allow the soapy water to penetrate the foam. Avoid squeezing or wringing the pillow as this will damage it.

  3. Rinse the pillow under running water until all soap residues are gone. You should take extra care getting rid of all the soap, leaving it inside will potentially damage the memory foam.

  4. Gently squeeze out excess water without twisting or bending the pillow.

  5. Place the pillow on a clean, absorbent towel and gently press to remove more moisture.

  6. Allow the pillow to air dry completely in a well-ventilated area. Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources that can damage the foam.

Machine Washing Method (if applicable)

  1. Check the manufacturer's instructions to determine if machine washing is suitable for your memory foam pillow. Not all memory foam pillows can be machine washed.

  2. Use a front-loading washing machine on a gentle or delicate cycle with mild detergent. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals.

  3. Place the memory foam pillow in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase to protect it during the wash cycle.

  4. After washing, follow the hand-washing method steps to ensure proper drying. See how to dry pillows after washing guide for more information.

Can you steam clean a memory foam pillow?

If you have a good steam cleaner that can adjust the amount of steam you put out and you attach a microfiber cloth to the end of it, then there's no reason why you can't steam clean your memory foam pillow.

Steam is a great way to supercharge your cleaning solutions, making them work much better than they would with cold water. Because these chemicals work better with hotter water, it means you can use less of it and that's great for the memory foam material.

Remember that it's essential not to have the steam cleaner too hot as this could damage the contents of the pillow if done improperly. If you are not confident in using a steamer, don't worry. There are plenty of ways to clean memory foam without the need for steam.

How To Deodorise A Smelly Memory Foam Pillow

If you clean your memory foam pillow but it's still a bit smelly, do this extra step to get rid of that bad odour:

  1. Create a paste of baking soda and lukewarm water

  2. Apply it to your memory foam pillow and let sit for 10 minutes

  3. Apply even more dry baking soda to the pillow. This will dry out the paste and cover the pillow more fervently

  4. Vacuum the paste away from your pillow

  5. Smell test. If some parts are still a bit smelly, repeat the process until that odour is fully removed

How to dry a memory foam pillow fast

The faster you can dry your memory foam pillow the better it is for the material inside. There are some sure-fire ways to help speed up the drying process so that you can avoid any damage to the memory foam.

Here are some tips on how to speed the process up:

  • Put it on a spin in the washing machine with some tennis balls

  • put the heating up to around 70 degrees Fahrenheit in your home

  • Use fans on the pillow and place in a well-ventilated area

  • Suck out as much moisture as possible with towels or, if you have it, a wet and dry vacuum

Should I Put My Memory Foam Pillow In The Dryer?

can you tumble dry memory foam pillows

Absolutely not. The heat of a tumble dryer is too much for your memory foam pillow and will almost certainly cause irreparable damage to it. We understand the temptation to do this, especially if you haven't got a washing machine to spin dry with but trust us on this.

The same goes for radiators or any other heat source for drying your pillow. It might seem like a bit of a contradiction since you can use steam to clean it, but steam is only touching the pillow for a few seconds.

To dry a pillow with heat could take a few hours and that much heat on memory foam is a very bad idea. It's much better to air dry the pillow and let it take longer than use heat.

What if my dog or cat peed on my memory foam pillow?

Ouch, that's a predicament! not to worry though, there's a solution and it won't cost you the earth to fix.

To remove pet urine from your memory foam pillow, follow these steps:

  1. Create a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and warm water and put it in a spray bottle

  2. Allow the solution to cool down before using it

  3. Saturate the pee-stained area with the vinegar solution and gently agitate with a soft brush if you have one

  4. Apply baking soda to the pillow. This will help to both deodorise and dry the area out

  5. Let it sit for as long as you can before air drying or spin-drying (with 2 tennis balls)

What if I spill coffee, green tea, or hot chocolate on my memory foam pillow?

This happens way more often than people like to admit. Don't worry, there is a way to remove the stained area and get rid of any bad smells that come with those substances.

We don't want to repeat ourselves, the process for this is exactly the same as removing dog or cat pee from your pillow.

Steam cleaning is a great way of breaking down these particular stains faster and is something that is not recommended for urine stains on memory foam.

Once you've finished cleaning the pillow, let it air dry and maybe even coat it in baking soda as it dried to ensure an odour free pillow.

Maintaining Longevity and Comfort

  1. Fluff and Rotate: Regularly fluff your memory foam pillow to restore its shape and prevent flattening. Additionally, rotate the pillow every few months to distribute the wear evenly.

  2. Avoid Excessive Moisture: Prevent spills and excessive moisture from reaching your memory foam pillow by using a pillow protector. Additionally, avoid sleeping with wet hair or applying creams and lotions before bed.

  3. Use only as a bed pillow: Similar to the rotate idea, if you only use memory foam pillows as bed pillows then you will use them a lot less throughout the day, giving it time to reform its shape ready for the night.


Cleaning and maintaining your memory foam pillow is crucial for preserving its freshness, comfort, and longevity.

Regular spot cleaning, deodorizing, and airing out can help keep it clean and odour-free. When deeper cleaning is necessary, choose the appropriate method based on the pillow's washing instructions.

Remember to allow the pillow to dry completely before using it. By following these guidelines, you'll enjoy a clean and rejuvenated memory foam pillow, ensuring a restful and comfortable sleep night after night.

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