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Can I Wash Memory Foam Pillows?

image of our writer Filip Maric

Written By Filip

Sleep Advisor


4 June 2024 8 min read

If you asked yourself “can I wash memory foam pillows?”, in short, yes, you can wash it but only if you follow the maintenance instructions for memory foam pillows. Forget about washing machines and dryers, as well as aggressive detergents.

The lifespan of the pillow depends on its quality and maintenance. This means that you should take care of your bedding every day after use. For example, shake the pillow after getting up to maintain its optimal filling density and elasticity. Since the foam is under a lot of pressure all night, every day, you have to repair it occasionally. However, do it carefully. Do not use rough methods, as they may be damaged.

Before washing, keep in mind that the entire washing and drying process can take a long time. Allow enough time to do the job thoroughly. If you want to be sure that the pillow is completely dry, you can weigh it before washing it. If it is heavier, it means that there is still water in some parts, and you should dry it additionally.

But that's just a brief overview. Let's now go in-depth and answer the question can I wash memory foam pillows?

Tips for washing memory foam pillows without damaging them

an image of a woman's hand pressing a memory foam pillow

Memory foam is delicate and requires gentle cleaning agents. Do not fold pillows that are made of foam because you can damage the core and change the structure of the pillow. It is also not recommended to use washing machines and dryers, which are equally dangerous. If you plan to wash your pillow, make sure you follow all the steps.

After all, if you spend a lot of money on the best pillow, you don't want to risk damaging it!

Start with the outer part first

A man putting a cover on a pillow

The outer part consists of a pillowcase or protective cover and you should start by removing it. While the pillowcase is being washed, you can start with the top layer cleaning. Wash the removable pillow cover according to the care instructions provided. Most materials are machine washable in warm water.

Manufacturers generally allow regular detergent. In that case, you can wash the pillowcase with the rest of the bedding or some other laundry.

Do not put them in washing machine or dryer

a man putting a pillowcase in a washing machine.

Machine operation can cause the memory foam to weaken or even break into pieces, so these pillows should not be washed in this way. But there are some pillows with shredded memory foam that are machine washable, and you can check the washing instructions on the product label.

But most of the time it's better to play it safe and wash them by hand. After all, once memory foam rips, you basically have to get a brand new one.

How to wash a memory foam pillow?

Memory foam should be washed by hand because machine washing can destroy the pillow. It should also not be cleaned too aggressively, because its hypoallergenic properties are destroyed. They prevent the formation of mould, mites and other allergens. Choose a ventilated place to dry the pillow, but do not expose it to direct sunlight. It is preferable to dry the pillow while there is a gentle wind and while there is a low percentage of humidity in the air.

Regular cleaning

an image of a professional worker steam cleaning the furniture

Now that it's time to start washing, do it carefully. After you have put away the pillow cover, you can remove larger dirt from the surface of the pillow. Use a vacuum cleaner followed by mild detergent and warm water to remove spills or stains. Gently pat only the spots and wipe with a dry towel when finished.

And both patience and consistency are key here if you want your pillow to stay fresh for as long as possible. So, don't rush the process and don't think that washing the pillow once means it will be clear for the following 2 years!

Spot cleaning

It is recommended that you clean your memory foam pillow once or twice a year, treating only stains or discoloured areas. This is especially important if you have a good memory foam pillow you want to stick around for a while! If you have noticed a stain in the meantime, you must first identify it because they are treated differently. Mild detergent and water are generally used, but there are other options.

Mix a lukewarm water & gentle detergent

Another option is to fill the tub with water and add an unscented hypoallergenic detergent. Strong detergents will not only destroy the structure of the pillow but will also cause allergies or unpleasant odours. After thoroughly cleaning and rinsing the pillow, gently wring it out to remove excess water and hang it to dry.

Gently Rub the stain with a clean white cloth

To completely remove the stain, dab the product onto the stain with a white cloth. Repeat the process until it disappears, and if necessary, add more stain remover. Don't do this too quickly to avoid scrubbing the stain. That way you can just push it as deep as possible into the fibers or spread it out.

Repeat until the stain is gone

The detergent solution should be gently rubbed in even if it is a stubborn stain. There are several methods for stain removal, and it is advisable to try as many as possible. You may have to repeat the process several times until you see the result, but it will not disappear if you are persistent.

Let the pillow air dry

The memory foam pillow should not be exposed to the sun. It should be kept away from heat and fire, sun or washing will destroy the structure of the memory foam and significantly shorten its life. Use a towel to remove the rest of the water and put it in a ventilated place. If you want to speed up the process, you can use a hair dryer set on cool.

Deep cleaning

A man deep cleaning and removing dust mites from a mattress topper

If you want to remove deeper stains, a mild detergent and a sponge will suffice. For stubborn stains like wine and blood, you will need 3% hydrogen peroxide to deep clean it. It is effective for removing blood and wine stains.

After it works, wash it off with cold water. If it is pet urine, mix one cup of hydrogen peroxide, one tablespoon of white vinegar and two tablespoons of baking soda and apply to the affected area. This mixture should work overnight, but repeat the process until you see results.

Fill a large bowl with cold water

Unlike when washing a mattress topper, a pillow is rather small. So, it's rather simple to prepare what you need in order to start cleaning.

You should fill a large bowl with lukewarm water. Then, add a very small amount of mild detergent and soak the pillow in the water. Squeeze it gently to get it all wet. Rough movements can cause the foam to crack. Focus on the spots, but do not rub them, so as not to achieve the opposite effect.

Add a bit of mild detergent and submerge the pillow

Although you can't put a memory foam pillow in the washing machine, you can still wash it. You will do this by filling the sink or bathtub with lukewarm water and a little detergent. If you want to add freshness, pour a few drops of lavender oil or another fragrance. Soak the pillow and gently press it so that it is soaked as much as possible.

After the stain is removed, add new clean cold water

Pour cold water again and soak the pillow to remove residue from the stain remover. If you wash it in the bathtub or sink, put it under the faucet. As you rinse it, gently squeeze it until the suds are completely gone. You can move on to the next step when the water becomes completely clear.

Squeeze the pillow again until water is removed

Once you have made sure that the pillow is clean, take it out to dry. First, you will squeeze out as much water as possible, but be gentle. Otherwise, you will damage the structure of the memory foam. Try to squeeze out the excess water several times, as it will dry faster.

Put a pillow on a dry towel and roll gently

To speed up the drying process, lay it on a dry towel and roll it gently. You will need two towels. You will spread out one and place a pillow on it, while you will cover it with the other. Squeeze it gently so that the towel picks up as much moisture as possible from the memory foam. In this way, you will eliminate the possibility of mould.

Remove the pillow from the towel and let it air dry

Make sure you remove all the excess water and then air-dry it. It is best to check the weather forecast in advance and plan this process. Memory foam dries best at higher temperatures. If you must dry your pillow at home, leave it in a room with a window and open it wide. You can also use a fan.

How to deodorise a memory foam pillow?

While we sleep, we often sweat, especially in summer. That's why the pillow can take on an unpleasant smell. The question arises how to deodorise it.

Remove the cover/pillowcase

First things first, remove the cover or pillowcase to treat the surface. Otherwise, you will not be able to remove all the dirt and odours from the pillow. It is also important to change the covers regularly. They absorb the most dirt during sleep. By washing often, you will keep your pillow clean and stay healthier.

Sprinkle baking soda over one side of pillow

Since you don't have many options when it comes to deodorising memory foam, you'll need baking soda. It removes unpleasant odours, moisture and dirt. Sprinkle a large amount of baking soda on the surface and let it sit for at least half an hour. It will help you to remove yellow stains from sweat, even the more stubborn ones.

Let it sit for 1-2 hours

Baking soda will usually take 30 minutes to work, but if you want to make sure all odours and impurities are removed, wait longer. It is best to wait until 2 hours have passed. Don't worry, there will be no side effects even if more than 2 hours pass.

Vacuum the surface of the pillow with a vacuum

It is desirable that the vacuum cleaner has a suitable upholstery attachment. In this way, you will be able to remove most of the small particles and get rid of unpleasant odours, as well as annoying mites. When it comes to cleaning memory foam pillows, this is the most important method.

Sprinkle baking soda on the other side & repeat the process

Since the baking soda will act on the surface, you need to repeat the process with the other side of the pillow. Pour the same amount of product and wait for some time before vacuuming it. Odours will be more intense on the side of the pillow that is used more. Therefore, it is often necessary to repeat the process with baking soda until all the smell is neutralised.

Can bed bugs infest a memory foam pillow?

an image of bed bug spray

Because memory foam is naturally hypoallergenic and dust mites resistant, these pillows stay clean longer than traditional pillows. It is very unlikely that bed bugs can survive in such an environment, but the possibility is not theoretically excluded.

For example, the quilted design of pillowcovers can provide a large surface area for bed bugs. These bugs are not fans of the inner space of the solid memory foam pillow and will prefer to stay on the surface of your bed.


The choice of pillow depends on personal preferences and budget – but the best thing we can advise is to go for a bundle that gives you a pillow and a removable pillowcase. Whether your choice is a memory foam or another type of pillow, you should know how to properly maintain it. In addition to daily care, washing pillowcases and refreshing part of the bedding set, you must know the characteristics of its inner part.

In this case, it is important to understand the manufacturer's instructions and to know which materials should not be washed in the washing machine. Pay attention to the laundry detergent, as there are different brands and not all are designed for memory foam. If you have a problem with stains, do not treat the entire surface of the pillow. Do only spots cleaning. If you follow these instructions for maintaining your pillows, your sleep on them will be better and more comfortable. But even with the best care, the advice is to change the pillows every two to three years for hygienic reasons.

Or, in other words, can I wash memory foam pillows? Yes. However, you need to be careful how you do it. And if you have any questions about cleaning pillows or even tips of your own, leave them in the comments!

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