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How to Wash a Memory Foam Pillow: Step by Step Guide


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Because of the pressure, their bodies endure during takeoff and landing, NASA astronauts designed a material that could adapt to any person’s body to help relieve the pressure of this massive gravitational force.

This was back in 1966. Over the last three decades or so, memory foam has changed in their composition, but they all start with a petroleum base and result in a high synthetic material.

Memory foam pillows help with your spine alignment as you sleep, ensuring you keep your natural S-curve and wake up without neck, shoulder, and back pains.

Because they are designed to contour to your body shape, they support your head, neck, and shoulders, eliminating pressure on these areas.

That’s not all. They are hypoallergenic and hygienic, safe from toxins , and help prevent bacterial, fungus, dust mites, and mold growth.

While these advantages are great, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean your pillow. Memory foam tends to hold on to dead skin and sweat, making it crucial for you to clean your sleeping buddy. But, exactly what steps should you follow when cleaning a memory foam pillow?

Steps to follow when cleaning a memory foam pillow

optimal-pillow-for-all-sleeping-positions

It’s always easy to throw something into a washer and drier, but this won’t cut it with your memory foam pillow. In fact, the constants agitation of a washer and drier will break down or crack your pillow, which is not the result we are looking for here.

What you can throw into a wash and drier, however, is your pillow cover and case. Wash your pillowcase and cover as often as possible, weekly is best, or as often as you change your bedsheet.

Pillowcases also harbor a lot of dirt and can lead to pillow acne and other illnesses. Now, let’s get down to business and show you how to wash your memory foam pillow.

1. Best practice

Vacuuming your memory foam pillow is the best practice. Once you have removed your pillowcase and cover, take your vacuum and use the upholster part to remove dead skin cells.

You can do this when changing your bedsheets or at least once a month. Once you are done vacuuming, air your pillow under direct sunlight, and you are good to go. This shouldn’t take you more than an hour at most, so do it as often as you can.

2. How to deodorize your memory foam pillow

Sometimes, your pillow may have a bad smell that makes it impossible to use. If this is the case, follow these steps to deodorize it, so it’s clean, fresh, and ready to use.

  • Lay your memory foam pillow on a flat surface and cover it with a generous amount of baking soda.
  • Let the pillow sit for two hours to allow the baking soda can soak up all the bad smells you want to get rid of.
  • Flip your pillow and repeat the process.
  • Vacuum your pillow to remove the baking soda on both sides.
  •  You can airdry your pillow for a few hours before using it.

3. How to clean a spill

Cleaning chamomile tea or other liquids is easy, but some like wine, orange, and grape juice may require a little more work. Obviously, it’s best to clean the spill immediately it happens, other than to wait until it dries.

The stains are more stubborn when dry, and the pillow becomes smelly. To clean fluids, follow the following steps.

  • Remove your pillowcase or protector and throw it into the washing machine.
  • Set the pillow on a flat surface to make working on it easier.
  • Using a cloth, absorb all the fluid from your pillow. Work quickly, so it doesn’t dry up and become a nightmare to clean.
  • Using a bowl, mix lukewarm water with a gentle detergent (used on your hands and wool) until the mixture consistently bubbles.
  • Dampen a sponge or clean cloth and rub the stain in a circular motion, preferably towards the inside. Avoid scrubbing the memory foam roughly as it will crack or break your pillow. Memory foam is a delicate material and should be treated as such.
  • Repeat the process until the stain is completely removed, then use a dry clean towel to dry the wet area and soak up all the moisture.
  • Air dry your pillow under direct sunlight. Memory foam is a dense material, so dry it quickly to reduce the risk of mold and mildew from growing.

If the weather isn’t conducive for air-drying your pillow, use a fan to speed up the drying process.

4. How to spot clean stubborn stains

As mentioned earlier, wine, orange, grape juice, blood, and pet urine are pretty stubborn compared to chamomile tea. Take care of the stain while it’s still fresh, so the job isn’t more laborious.

  •  Remove the covers and use a washer and drier to clean them.
  • If you are dealing with dark stains such as blood and wine, pour hydrogen peroxide directly onto the stain and use a clean towel or sponge to dab it. Use around 3% hydrogen peroxide. You know the process is complete when the peroxide stops bubbling.
  • Spray a little cold water on the affected area and dry it out using a clean, dry towel.
  • If the stain isn’t gone, gently scrub it in a circular motion using a mixture of warm water and gentle soap, then repeat step 2.
  • Airdry your pillow under the sun or fan and ensure it’s completely dry before storing or using it again.
  • If your pillow gets a foul smell, perhaps from pet urine, use the deodorization process above once the pillow is dried to soak up any bad smells.

If the stain is fresh, you don’t have to scrub it. Instead, dap the spot using a lifting motion and avoid rubbing. Rubbing won’t help fresh stains but will instead spread it.

5. Deep cleaning your memory foam

Sometimes, you may have tough stains that are impossible to clean using the methods we have highlighted above. Also, as a general rule, you should deep clean your pillow at least four times a year.

  • Fill your bathtub or large sink with lukewarm water and add gentle detergent. You can also add lavender scents if you use sleep-promoting scents.
  • Submerge your pillow and let it soak up all the soapy water. Gently squeeze the pillow to remove the moisture and set the pillow aside. As mentioned, NEVER wring a memory foam pillow because it will be damaged.
  • Drain the tub and fill it with clean, cold water and submerge the pillow for rinsing. Like before, squeeze the pillow to remove the soapy water. Drain the tab and repeat the process until the water runs clear.
  • Once the water is clean, gently squeeze the pillow until you remove most of the liquid. Using a clean, dry towel, warp your pillow and gently squeeze out more water. Repeat the process until the pillow is not dripping wet.
  •  Air-dry the pillow under sunlight. It may take around 24 hours before your pillow is thoroughly dried. Speed up the process by using a fan or hairdryer.

How often should you clean a memory foam pillow

Cleaning your pillow is mostly not on top of your list, especially if you don’t change your bed sheets often. Research shows that 44% of people wash their sheets once or twice a month, which is not enough to keep bacteria and mites off.

Now, imagine how long it takes before a pillow is cleaned? Probably months! Yet, another research shows that your pillow could have more bacteria than your toilet seat! Yikes!

Sleep experts recommend that you vacuum your memory form pillow at least once a week, which is the same time you should change your bedsheets.

If you get a spill, clean it immediately and let your pillow air dry. The same goes for harder stains. Avoid hot water during cleaning since it sets the stains and makes it that much harder to remove.

Since it’s not recommended to use a lot of water on a memory foam pillow, it’s best to deep clean your pillow once every three months or four times a year. This will prevent breakage and cracking and help make your pillow last longer.

After how long should you change your pillow?

Even with the best cleaning and care practices, your pillow will still break down over time due to natural wear and tear.

Most polyester pillows are replaced after six months, but a memory foam pillow will go for at least eighteen to thirty-six months before you have to replace it. Remember, our necks, shoulders, and backs are working harder today thanks to computers and smartphones.

Taking care of your pillow and replacing it on time will ensure you take good care of your health and enjoy a good night’s sleep longer. Interestingly, sleep experts recommend using a firmer pillow towards the end of a working week, Thursdays and Friday, to help you sleep better after a long week at the office.

Everyone wants to wake up rested, relaxed, and happy, and whether we want to admit it or not, pillows play an important role in making sure we do. With these tips, you know how to care for and clean your pillow.

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas and I'm the author and content operator at The Bedding Planet. I've always had a big interest in bedding and more specifically sleep. If I find something that makes me sleep better, whether that's a lifestyle change or a better bedding environment, I'm ready to share it with the world!

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