It is common knowledge that you should aim for an average of 8 hours of sleep each night. With one-third of our days spent in bed, it is important to have the perfect pillows to make sleeping as comfortable as possible. 

Memory foam pillows are made of an innovative, synthetic material that contours to your head and neck, providing the sensation of having a pillow customised to your specifications.

As these pillows are made from such a complex substance, you might wonder if you can wash memory foam at home. Pillows are essential to a good night’s rest, so understanding a few simple basics of how to wash pillows is key. Read our guide below to find out more about how to clean a memory foam pillow and enjoy a good nights sleep every evening. 

Can you wash memory foam pillows?

Yes, you can wash memory foam pillows! However, the filling of these pillows is spongy and can easily be damaged in the agitation and tumbling of a washing machine or dryer. Therefore, memory foam pillows must be hand-washed.

Why you need to clean a memory foam pillow

It is essential to learn how to clean a memory foam pillow to maintain a sanitary sleeping environment. Skin cells, sweat, dust mites, and other substances can accumulate in pillows as we sleep. These are not healthy to breathe and can contribute to respiratory issues.

Cleaning your pillow will also prolong the life span of your bedding. These pillows have an expected life span of 2 or 3 years, especially if you clean them correctly and on a regular schedule.

How often should you clean your memory foam pillow?

Memory foam pillows will live up to their life span if you clean them regularly. This means following a deep-cleaning regimen about 4 times each year.

In between those deep cleanings, leave your pillow in the sunshine to “bake” for a few hours each week. This sun exposure will help suppress any bacteria growing within the pillow and freshen it up. 

How to clean your memory foam pillow

Taking a few preliminary steps to clean your pillow will help make spot or deep cleaning more effective. The best step to take first is to remove the pillowcase and observe your pillow to see which cleaning procedures would be best.

After this, you might decide to spot clean or deep clean your memory foam pillow. First, vacuum your pillow’s surface to remove debris such as dust, crumbs, or hair. Use the wide brush attachment on your vacuum to clean the delicate memory foam.

Another great initial step to pillow cleaning is to place your pillow in direct sunlight for a few hours to naturally disinfect and refresh the scent.

Spot cleaning

In the event of a spill, it is important to know in advance how to clean a memory foam pillow so you can react quickly. Spot cleaning works best when a recent spill or stain has not been deeply absorbed into the pillow. 

Start by removing as much surface liquid as possible with a clean and dry rag before introducing a cleaning solution. Gently blot any stain that still lingers on the surface.  

Next, make a simple mixture of warm water and some washing-up liquid and put it on any stains. Rub in a circular motion until the stain fades or disappears and place in sunlight until dry.  

Deep cleaning

Deep cleaning a memory foam pillow is a rewarding process that can take more than 24 hours to complete. The first step is filling a tub with cold water and either washing up liquid or diluted laundry detergent. Then, soak the pillow thoroughly in this solution.

As the pillow soaks, squeeze the filling to incorporate the soapy water. Once the pillow looks cleaner, empty the dirty water and refresh only with cold tap water. Continue squeezing the pillow and replacing its water until the water is clear.

Keep squeezing the saturated pillow to wring out as much water as possible. Be careful not to handle the pillow too harshly, as the memory foam can easily tear. Try laying the pillow flat and rolling it up in a towel ‒ every drop of water squeezed out at this point cuts down on drying time.

Once the pillow is as dry as possible, lay it in a sunny area on a dry towel. Check on it during the next day or two, flipping the pillow and replacing the towel as needed. Invest in more than one comfortable pillow so you never have to sacrifice your sleep on deep cleaning days.

How to clean your memory foam pillow cover

Memory foam pillows often come with a pillow cover or pillow protector to prolong their life. These pillow covers do more than protect from spills. Memory foam pillow covers can help reduce allergens, and some are even scented.

Cleaning instructions for memory foam pillow covers vary based on their material. Many pillow covers are cotton or polyester-blend and can be easily washed in the washing machine. Be sure to use low temperatures in the wash and dry cycles to avoid shrinking.

How to deodorise your memory foam pillow

Whether you’ve had your pillow for a while or you decided to change your pillows, there might be a need to deodorise a memory foam pillow. All you need is a simple ingredient from the kitchen and, of course, sunlight.

Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda over your memory foam pillow and place it in the sun for a couple of hours. It does not need to be a heavy layer but should cover the entire pillow. After waiting a few hours, thoroughly vacuum the pillow with the wide brush attachment.

How to protect your memory foam pillow

Use a pillow cover

Memory foam pillows are a worthy investment for a satisfying night’s sleep. To protect your investment, it’s essential to get a pillow cover. Pillow covers, or pillow protectors, come in great variety to fit every individual need, including antibacterial and antiviral options for even more peace of mind. 

Change the pillow cover regularly

In addition to investing in a pillow cover, regularly changing the cover nurtures the maximum life span. Pillow covers are inexpensive, and some can cost only a few pounds, so switching out a pillow cover is budget-friendly as well as protective.

Things to avoid when washing a memory foam pillow

The memory foam filling has a specific structure of cells that mould to fit your head and neck. Because of this delicate internal structure, some common cleaning habits should be avoided. 

Avoid using anything harsh when washing your pillows, including hot water, bleach or other chemicals, or a washing machine. Even wringing a memory foam pillow too roughly can be too harsh.

After you clean your pillow, make sure you let it dry completely. If you use a memory foam pillow before it is dry, mould and mildew can grow. Never dry them in a tumble dryer, but opt to leave them in direct sunlight for as long as it takes instead.

Cleaning a memory foam pillow is simple, but the process can be time-consuming. Despite the work, it is an excellent idea to clean your pillow on a scheduled basis to prolong its use.

If you do need new pillows, we have a range of options available at Sleepseeker for you to choose from, including memory foam pillows, hollowfibre pillows, and duck feather pillows