How to clean memory foam pillows 

Your pillow cradles your head for hours every day. As a result, it is bound to accumulate dead skin cells, sweat, and dust. These, in turn, attract dust mites, fungi, and bacteria which cause foul smell, allergic reactions, and even illness.

Keeping your memory foam pillow clean and fresh should be a priority. Cleaning techniques include vacuuming, deodorizing with baking soda, and targeted stain removal. Don’t put memory foam pillows in the washer or dryer, which will damage them. 

Maintaining a clean memory foam pillow is relatively easy since the very dense structure of memory foam makes it hypoallergenic by default. However, they can still cling to the surface of your pillow and must be removed. Stains should also be cleaned immediately. This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to clean your memory foam pillow and tips on how to do it effectively.

How to Clean Memory Foam Pillows

Protecting the foam pillow from moisture

Cleaning your memory foam pillow is vital to getting a good night’s sleep. Dead skin cells and microorganisms are disgusting and bad for your health. Coughing and sneezing while lying on your pillow is a sign that you should clean it. 

As mentioned earlier, several techniques for cleaning a memory foam pillow exist. They include the following: 


Deodorizing involves surface cleaning and removing bad odor from your foam pillow. You will need baking soda and a hand-held vacuum. Here are the steps to follow: 

  1. First, remove the outer covers of your pillow. 
  1. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda (on Amazon) on your pillow and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. This will help dry out bodily fluids like sweat or saliva and eliminate unpleasant odor. 
  1. Vacuum the baking soda away along with any pet hair or dust particles that may be on the pillow. 
  1. Flip the pillow over and repeat.   

You should deodorize your pillow every time you change your bed sheets. This can be once a week or more frequently, depending on factors such as how much you sweat.

You can also deodorize to eliminate the funny smell on some brand-new memory foam pillows caused by off-gassing. Deodorizing should leave your memory foam pillow smelling fresh and clean. 

Spot Cleaning 

Liquid stains, whether biological or caused by spillage, should be cleaned as soon as possible so that they do not become permanent. However, you do not have to wash the entire pillow.

You only need to use the proper cleaning solution. Remember, you should only use mild solutions to avoid damaging your pillow. 

To Clean Most Liquid Stains:

  • Remove the pillowcase and use a dry towel to absorb any excess liquid from the pillow. 
  • Mix a mild detergent with water to create a soapy solution. 
  • Dip a clean cloth in the solution and use it to rub the stain gently in a circular motion from the outside towards the center.
  • Use a damp cloth to rinse off the solution until there is no residue on the pillow. 
  • Repeat the cleaning until the stain is gone, then dry your pillow. 

You can add vinegar to your detergent and water mixture if the stain has an odor. However, you will require a more concentrated cleaning solution for tougher stains like blood, wine, and pet urine. 

To Clean Blood and Wine Stains:

  • Apply 3% hydrogen peroxide to the stain and blot with a clean cloth. 
  • Spray with cold water and use an old toothbrush to rub off the stain gently until it is gone.

To Clean Pet Urine: 

  • Mix two tbsp of baking soda, one cup of hydrogen peroxide, and one tsp of white vinegar. 
  • Apply to the stained area and leave overnight. 
  • Blot clean with cold water and allow the pillow to dry.     

Deep Cleaning

Vacuuming and spot cleaning are the most effective techniques to clean your memory foam pillow safely. Deep cleaning can ruin the quality of your pillow, but it is necessary in some drastic cases. 

You should only hand wash. This is because the spin of a washing machine can cause the memory foam to break. Here is how you wash a memory foam pillow:  

  • Add gentle detergent into a bathtub or large sink with lukewarm water and submerge the pillow. 
  • Squeeze the pillow gently to move the cleaning solution through. 
  • Rinse the pillow severally until the water runs clear and squeeze it gently to remove the water.
  • Dry the pillow completely. Do not use a dryer 

Tips for Cleaning Memory Foam Pillows 

Female hands put a cover on the orthopedic pillow

Dirt, dead skin, and microorganisms can build up on your pillow quicker than you think. Preventing this buildup can save you a lot of trouble while cleaning your pillow and improve its lifespan.

Here are some pro tips on how you can maintain the cleanliness of your memory foam pillow: 

Change Your Pillowcase Regularly 

A pillowcase acts as a barrier and prevents dust, dead skin cells, and other contaminants from coming into contact with the pillow. Pillowcases are machine washable, and cleaning them is hassle-free.

We recommend that you change your pillowcase at least once a week. If you are prone to breakouts, you should change your pillowcase every two days.   

Use a Pillow with Odor-Control Properties

Invest in a memory foam pillow with odor-control properties, and you will not have to deodorize your pillow every so often. 

Understand Your Pillow’s Material

How you clean a pillow depends on the material used to make it. Memory foam differs from ordinary pillow material and should be cleaned using other techniques. Before cleaning your memory foam mattress, you need to familiarize yourself with the dos and don’ts, including: 

  • Use gentle cleaning agents to avoid damaging the pillow.
  • Memory foam is delicate and should neither be handled roughly nor scrubbed too hard. 
  • Always hand-wash. Never machine wash or use a drier since the spinning motion will weaken the material and reduce its lifespan significantly.  

Final Thoughts

Memory foam pillows have many advantages over ordinary pillows. Their hypoallergenic nature is one of their best traits. However, as much as they do not allow dust, bacteria, and mites to penetrate and build up inside, they still need surface cleaning. 

With the proper guidelines, surface cleaning a memory foam pillow is straightforward. It involves vacuuming, spot cleaning, and sometimes, washing. Before cleaning your pillow, it is essential to note the dos and don’ts highlighted above to avoid damaging it.