Updated January 1, 2021We spend one-third of our lives sleeping— and making sure your memory foam pillow stays clean can also improve sleep quality and overall health. Over time, our pillows accrue dust mites, sweat, and dead skin cells.Unlike most pillows, memory foam is naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites and bacteria. Memory foam is a great pillow choice for all types of sleepers because it’s conforming and pressure-relieving.Despite being hypoallergenic, memory foam can still trap dead skin cells and sweat. Keep your memory foam pillow clean and smelling fresh by washing it every 2 to 3 months. We’ve researched ways on how to deodorize, spot clean, and deep clean your memory foam pillow while keeping its quality intact.Deodorize a Memory Foam Pillow Remove the pillowcase and the protective pillow cover (if the cover is removable), and follow the instructions on the care tag to properly clean them.Lay the memory foam pillow on a flat surface, then sprinkle one side of the pillow with baking soda, covering well. Let it sit 1-2 hours with as much exposure to sunlight as possible. Using the upholstery attachment, vacuum the surface of the pillow and remove the baking soda. Flip the pillow over and repeat this process on the other side.Spot Cleaning For fresh stains, remove the pillowcase and the pillow’s protective cover. Use a dry, clean cloth or paper towel to blot the stain. Avoid using dark-colored clothes when removing stains to prevent any color from bleeding onto the pillow.Use lifting motions with your hands and avoid rubbing the stain— rubbing won’t remove the stain and could end up spreading it across the pillow. Continue this process until most of the stain is removed.After removing any excess moisture from the pillow, and after treating older stains, combine a gentle detergent and lukewarm water to create a stain remover solution. Avoid using hot water— hot water will set the stain, making it harder to remove.Dip a clean, white cloth into the solution and wring it out. Starting from the outer section of the stain, gently rub around the stain in a circular motion towards the center of the stain. As the stain attaches to the cloth, switch to a clean section before continuing rubbing in circular motions.Repeat this process until the stain is removed. Using a new clean cloth, dip into clean, lukewarm water and wring out to remove excess water. Dab the previously stained area to remove any soap residue. Allow the pillow to air dry completely before use.Deep Cleaning To treat tough stains, fill a bathtub or large sink with cold water and mix with a small amount of mild detergent. Submerge the pillow completely, then squeeze the foam gently to allow the soapy water to penetrate the pillow’s material and remove the stain. Avoid wringing your memory foam pillow— this can damage the memory foam.Once the stain is removed, drain the bathtub or sink of water before refilling with cold, clean water. Submerge, then gently squeeze the pillow until the water runs clear. Gently squeeze the pillow until most of the water is removed.Place the pillow on a dry towel, then roll it up, squeezing gently to continue removing excess liquid. You may have to do this a couple of times.Remove the pillow from the wet towel and lay on top of a clean, dry towel. Allow the pillow to air dry before using— the drying process may take 24 hours, but you can speed it up by using a hairdryer on the pillow (on the cool setting).What to Avoid When Washing a Memory Foam PillowCleaning a memory foam pillow is easy, but you should avoid certain things to extend your pillow’s longevity and make sure it performs the same as it did before you washed it. Memory foam is a delicate material, and if not treated correctly, you could end up looking for a new pillow.Avoid using harsh chemicals, like bleach, to prevent memory foam from breaking down.Never place a memory foam pillow in the washing machine unless specified, even if the washing machine has an agitator. The spin cycle in the washer is too rough, damaging the memory foam.Never place a memory foam pillow in the dryer, unless specified. The heat from the dryer can melt the memory foam.Don’t wring the pillow— wringing can damage the memory foam.Avoid hot water, since it will set the stain instead of removing it.Never use a memory foam pillow until it’s completely dry. The damp interior is the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew if the pillow is used before dried completely.What is Memory Foam?Memory foam was first developed by NASA in the 70s to help lessen takeoff impact for astronauts. Since then, memory foam is most commonly found in mattresses and pillows. A memory foam mattress contains a top comfort layer of memory foam with a support layer of polyurethane, or poly-foam. Memory foam pillows can either contain a solid memory foam piece or shredded memory foam.Other Things to ConsiderHow long does a memory foam pillow last?Memory foam pillows can last between 1-3 years. To check to see if it’s time to replace your memory foam pillow, fold the two long sections together— if it doesn’t immediately revert back to its normal shape, it’s time for a new pillow.Can memory foam get wet?The only time memory foam should get wet is if it’s being cleaned. Even then, memory foam should be left to air dry before use to prevent mold and mildew growth.Can memory foam get infested by bed bugs?Yes. Bed bugs can infest any pillow, no matter what type. The only way to protect a pillow is through a protective cover that shields the pillow against bed bugs.Can memory foam pillows be washed in the washing machine?No, memory foam should not be put in the washing machine unless specified otherwise. Memory foam is like a sponge, and if put in a washing machine, it will become waterlogged and damaged. If you have to wash your memory foam pillow, spot-clean it.How do you get the smell out of a memory foam pillow?Memory foam often has a chemical smell, known as “off-gassing.” It should fade within a few days of opening your new pillow, but if it does not, you can air it out under a fan or put it out in the sun for a few hours. If this doesn’t work, try sprinkling it with baking soda, which absorbs the smell. You will need to vacuum the baking soda after it rests on the pillow for a few hours.Research MethodTo write a high-quality and credible article, we read several dozen articles and spent over 16 hours researching, writing, and editing.ConclusionMemory foam is a delicate material. If not properly cared for, memory foam can easily deteriorate. Taking the necessary steps to clean your memory foam pillow will keep it fresh, prolong its lifespan, and help you get better sleep.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. CommentsLeave a comment Maribel August 29, 2020 at 11:19 am ReplyWell Indid all the do nots as listed in your article. Used a high speed professional front loader, hot water. I’ve been drying it for three days in the sun and it feels dry but it’s VERY HEAVY. Now what? eachnight August 31, 2020 at 4:57 pm ReplyHi Maribel,Thank you for your comment! Sorry to hear about your pillow cleaning troubles, but if it’s been a few days and the memory foam is still feeling heavy, it probably means the pillow needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, once foam is washed, especially in hot water like so, the consistency of the foam permanently changes. You can always give the pillow a try as long as it’s fully dried and there is no risk of mildew or mold growth, but we would imagine you’ll want to replace this pillow for a new one.Even though most brands don’t cover this kind of damage under their warranties, you can always explain what happened and ask if they can extend a discount — many mattress companies offer returning customer discounts and would likely have no problem slashing a couple of dollars off of a replacement pillow.We hope this helps! Alma Gissentanner September 21, 2020 at 11:19 am ReplyI just spray my memory foam pillows with fabreze! Leave a comment Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.