How To Wash Memory Foam Pillows? (Step By Step Instructions)

There’s nothing worse than having a dirty pillow. And since most people don’t wash their pillows often enough, they end up with a bunch of stains and wrinkles. I’ll share tips on how to PROPERLY clean your memory foam pillows in this article.

Do you hate washing your bedding? It’s not just a chore. It’s also a HASSLE! And who wants to spend hours scrubbing their pillows?

If you happen to own a memory foam pillow and wonder how to clean it, then this post is the right place for you. 

Memory foam pillow

You can wash your memory foam pillows without RUINING them with a few simple tips.

Can You Machine Wash A Memory Foam Pillow?

No. You should never put any type of foam cushion in the washing machine. 

Memory foam pillows can be DAMAGED by the motions of a washing machine (or dryer). 

Instead, hand-wash your memory foam pillow in lukewarm water using a mild detergent. 

Then rinse thoroughly and dry completely before using or storing.

Memory foam pillows should always be covered with a removable, washable cover.

Memory foam pillow with a removable, washable cover

How to Hand-Wash Memory Foam Pillows?

For DEEP cleaning your foam pillows, you should always hand wash them. 

  • Fill a big tub or a sink with lukewarm water
  • Add a small amount of gentle detergent (only a teaspoon of detergent for a gallon of water). 
  • Dip the pillow into the water
  • Let it soak up and give it a gentle squeeze to exterminate the dirt. 
  • Don’t hurry! Give the detergent time to sink in. And be gentle when squeezing the foam. Don’t twist!

Next, it is time to RINSE your foam pillow! 

  • Drain all that soapy water, and refill the tub with lukewarm water. 
  • Give a gentle squeeze to get rid of the suds. Don’t twist (you should NEVER twist memory foam pillows).
  • Continue repeating this rinsing step until your pillow appears suds-free. 
  • When done, gently squeeze the foam, and remove the water! 
  • Ensure you don’t twist or wring it, as it only destroys the foam. 

And then you need to dry your cushion:

  • To air-dry the pillow, you need a well-ventilated, flat surface. 
  • If you have to dry it fast, you can use a portable fan to circulate the air
  • If you choose to dry it outside, aim for a bright and warm day with a light breeze. 
  • The drying of the pillow entirely depends on how thick the foam is. 
  • It might need up to 24 hours to dry completely. 
  • Don’t use a dryer, as the heat and tumbling from the dryer might damage the cushion, and the foam might crumble.

 If you do not have much TIME for handwashing foam pillows, do not worry; try spot cleaning!

Spot Cleaning Foam Pillows

Spot cleaning is an EASIER trick to keep your pillows fresh, nice, and tidy until you have the time to wash them. 

Here is what you need to do when spot cleaning your foam pillows:

  • Get a small bowl, pour two cups of lukewarm water, and add two teaspoons of dishwashing liquid. 
  • Take a piece of white cloth, and dip it into the solution. 
  • Then GENTLY blot the stain. 
  • Try blotting from the outer side of the stain, and move toward the center. 
  • Do not use the same cloth area to clean all the spots. 
  • Move and use the clean area of the cloth as you clean the stains. 

You do not need to rinse the entire pillow but the stained parts of the cushion. 

Once all the stains disappear, you need to focus on getting rid of the soap. 

  • Take a clean white cloth. 
  • Dip it in fresh, plain water, and blot over the place to remove the soapy solution.   

After rinsing, let it air dry! 

Freshening the Memory Foam Pillow Using Baking Soda

If your pillow just needs to be FRESHENED a bit, you can do it easily by using baking soda! 

Here is how you should do it. 

  • Start with removing the pillow cover and washing it. 
  • Now, get some baking soda and sprinkle it over the actual cushion. 
  • Cover every surface and corner of the pillow with baking soda. 
  • Let the baking soda sit on the fabric for an hour or so. 

After the baking soda has (hopefully) done its trick, use an upholstery brush on the vacuum to get the baking soda out of the pillow. 

This should remove any odor, mites, pair hair, or dust particles from the pillow. 

Use a Pillow Cover

Always use a removable and machine washable top cover for a memory foam pillow. 

It is beneficial, as it keeps all the dirt out and does not need to be done often. 

You can machine wash it as often as needed. 

Again, the cover needs to be made out of a natural fiber such as cotton, bamboo, etc. 

What to Do If You Accidentally Washed a Memory Foam Pillow in the Machine?

The memory foam may get damaged in the washing machine. 

However, if it survives undamaged, don’t put it in the dryer

Let it air dry.

You can press the water out of the pillows first with towels. 

Be careful not to TWIST the foam since it may tear.

Today, pillows come in so MANY different materials! And not all can be machine washed or tumble-dried. Therefore, ALWAYS check the care tag before washing and drying. For general tips on drying pillows, see here.

What Is Memory Foam?

Memory foam is a type of material used in pillows and mattresses. 

It’s designed to give support and comfort to the body by molding itself around the shape of your head and neck. 

Memory foam pillow with a removable, washable cover

Memory foam has been proven to improve sleep quality for many people, and it’s often recommended as an excellent alternative to traditional bedding materials like cotton and wool. 

Memory foam is made using polyurethane foam. It is a durable, resilient product that conforms to the sleeper’s shape.

What Are the Problems with Memory Foam Pillows?

Memory foam pillows are great for back pain relief, but they aren’t always comfortable. 

They don’t breathe like traditional cushions and often feel too firm. 

To solve these issues, manufacturers have started adding air chambers and microfiber fillings to the pads. 

These fillings keep the cushions soft and breathable, and they absorb moisture, keeping them dry and comfortable.

How to Recycle or Reuse a Memory Foam Pillow?

Compared to traditional pillow materials, memory foam lasts longer.

However, all pillows lose their integrity over time. An average lifespan of a memory foam pillow is 2-3 years (then it starts to lose structural stability).

But what to do with old memory foam pillows?

You should repurpose or recycle your old pillows instead of throwing them away.

You can donate your pillows for reuse if they are still in good condition. Try your local second-hand store or post on Craigslist.

Do not donate bedding that is contaminated with bedbugs, etc. You are passing the problem to someone else since these materials cannot be reused.

Otherwise, check if the manufacturer has a recycling program. Or find a local recycling center. Unfortunately, memory foam material has limited recycling opportunities.

The Bottom Line

Memory foam pillows are a fantastic investment for any bedroom. 

They provide excellent support and comfort, but they also tend to retain heat and moisture, leading to mildew and mold growth. 

However, if you want to keep your mattress clean, you’ll need to wash them regularly. 

Washing and drying memory foam pillows isn’t difficult, though it does require a bit of care.

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