How to Wash a Memory Foam Pillow

Last updated on June 5th, 2024 at 04:02 pm

Key Takeaways

  1. Importance of Regular Cleaning: Keeping your memory foam pillow clean is crucial for maintaining a hygienic sleep environment and preventing the buildup of allergens and bacteria. Regular cleaning helps extend the pillow’s lifespan and ensures better sleep quality.
  2. Spot Cleaning and Deep Cleaning: Spot Cleaning and Deep Cleaning: For small stains or spills, spot cleaning with diluted detergent and a damp cloth is effective. For deeper cleaning, use a diluted detergent spray and gently massage the pillow, then wipe with a damp cloth. Avoid soaking the pillow to prevent damage and mould growth.
  3. Proper Drying Techniques: After cleaning, it’s essential to air dry the memory foam pillow on a flat surface in a well-ventilated area. Avoid using a dryer or exposing the pillow to direct sunlight, as excessive heat can damage the foam.
  4. Maintenance Tips: Use pillow protectors and bamboo pillowcases to shield the pillow from sweat, oils, and dust. Regularly fluff and air the pillow, and wash it every 6 to 12 months or more frequently in hot and humid conditions. For stubborn stains or odours, consider using enzymatic cleaners or professional cleaning services.

Keeping your memory foam pillow clean is essential for ensuring a hygienic sleep environment, and maximising the lifespan of your pillow. A clean pillow not only promotes better sleep but also helps to prevent allergens and bacteria buildup. We want to give you step-by-step instructions on how to properly wash a memory foam pillow, covering essential topics such as preparation, cleaning methods, drying techniques, maintenance tips, and how to address specific cleaning issues. What are you waiting for? Let’s dive in!

What are memory foam pillows?

As you may know, memory foam pillows are revered for their ability to contour to the shape of the head and neck, providing bespoke support and comfort to all sleepers – no matter which position you choose. In order to be classed as memory foam, a material needs to be low-resistance and viscous, as well as fairly elastic. This means it will slowly change with pressure, but return to its original shape when that pressure is removed. In a pillow, these characteristics mean your head sinks in for dreamy, personalised support.

The unique composition of memory foam, however, makes these pillows sensitive to moisture – so proper cleaning and care are crucial to maintaining their hygienic integrity and performance over time. The better you care for your pillow, the longer it’ll last you.

Preparation before cleaning

First things first when it comes to washing your memory foam pillow: check the care instructions provided by the manufacturer! Memory foam typically can’t be immersed in water, as it is super hard to dry – so be aware of this. Most brands will offer care leaflets and guides, just like this one.

Your next step is to get hold of the supplies you’ll need for this particular task: a mild (preferably eco-friendly) detergent of some kind, your vacuum cleaner, a cloth and some baking soda. Inspect your pillow, too. Check for any stains, see if there’s any odours, and look at the overall condition of the pillow. Finally, you’re ready to get cleaning!

Cleaning methods

There are actually a few different methods you can use when it comes to cleaning your memory foam pillow. However, you likely won’t need to use all three every time you do this chore. Let’s look a little deeper at each one, and see which one will work for you…

Spot cleaning

To summarise spot cleaning, this is literally when you clean spots off your pillow: stains, marks and so on. If you notice any specks of blood, or you’ve spilled a drink, or your moisturiser has left streaky marks on your pillow, then this is a must. If your pillow has a cover (like our bamboo pillows do!) then remove this and pop it in the washing machine. If the stain has affected the memory foam inside, then you can spot-clean them: dilute some detergent and apply a small amount to the mark itself, then wipe off with a damp cloth or sponge. Let it dry fully before using again.

Deep cleaning

Does your pillow have a strange smell, or has it become discoloured? If so, it needs a deep clean! As mentioned, you can’t do this by using a washing machine or completely immersing your memory foam pillow core in water – the inside doesn’t dry properly, leading to a risk of mould and the breakdown of material. Dilute some detergent with water in a spray bottle, and spray this all over the pillow. Give it a massage, and then wipe with a clean, damp cloth. This allows you to break down any dirt and bacteria, without soaking the pillow.

Using a vacuum cleaner

For general memory foam pillow maintenance, and to get rid of dust and debris, you can use your vacuum cleaner! Small handheld ones work best, but you can also make use of the attachments on larger vacuums to allow you to get up close and personal with your pillow. Sprinkle some baking soda on the surface, leave it to absorb any odours, then simply vacuum your pillow – and you’re good to go.

Drying techniques

After cleaning your memory foam pillow, proper drying is essential to prevent moisture retention and the growth of mould or mildew. Avoid using a dryer or exposing the pillow to direct sunlight, as excessive heat can damage the memory foam. Instead, gently squeeze out any excess water (of which there shouldn’t be much) and allow the pillow to air dry on a flat surface in a well-ventilated area. Outside in the shade is best, and make sure you fluff the pillow into shape as it dries.

Maintenance tips

Aim to wash your memory foam pillow every 6 to 12 months. This can be more frequent, especially if the weather is hot and sticky or you’ve been ill. Regular maintenance is key to extending the lifespan of your memory foam pillow and keeping it clean between washings. If you need to store your pillow or transport it somewhere, keep it covered and don’t squish it into an ill-fitting bag or box.

Use a pillow protector or pillowcase to shield the pillow itself from body oils, sweat, and dust. Frequently fluff and air the pillow to help maintain its shape and freshness. When you change your bedding, leave the pillow bare for a few hours. Opt for a bamboo pillowcase, as this incredibly soft material won’t damage the pillow. As a bonus, it feels gorgeous on the skin!

Dealing with specific issues

If your memory foam pillow has specific stains or odours that are difficult to remove, consider using an enzymatic cleaner or a mild vinegar solution to spot treat the affected areas. Allow the cleaning solution to sit for a few minutes before gently blotting it with a clean cloth. Repeat the process as needed until the stain or odour is eliminated. Look into pillow sprays for deodorising, but make sure these aren’t too harsh! On the other hand, if you’ve neglected your pillow for a long time, or it’s in a really bad state, then consider hiring a professional cleaning service to sort it for you.


Properly cleaning and looking after a memory foam pillow is essential for maintaining a clean and hygienic sleep environment and preserving the quality of the pillow. By following the step-by-step instructions provided here, you can ensure that yours remains fresh, comfortable, and supportive for a restful night’s sleep. Remember to regularly clean and maintain your memory foam pillow to enjoy the benefits of a healthier sleep environment and long-lasting pillow performance. Take care of your bedding, and it will take care of you with the comfort and support you deserve.

Explore our range: