With so many different types of pillows out there, it can be tough knowing how to take care of them. Today, we’re going to give you a quick and easy way to clean a memory foam pillow. Whether you need to wash the entire pillow or there are just a few spots that need a little TLC, by the end of this article, you’ll be ready to tackle any pillow-cleaning situation.

How To Wash a Memory Foam Pillow

Keeping your pillow clean and hygienic is easy with the right tools and a little effort. Here’s what you’ll need to wash a memory foam pillow without damaging it:

  • Detergent
  • A bucket, sink, or tub large enough to fit the pillow
  • Clean, dry towels
  • Stain remover (optional)
  • Laundry brush (optional)

1. Remove Cover

If your pillow has a removable cover, take it off. Check the label to see if it’s machine-washable. If it is, toss it in the washing machine. Follow the instructions on the label for the best results.

This is a good time to lay your clean towels on a flat surface. You’ll be resting your wet pillow on them, so choose a surface that won’t be damaged by water.

2. Fill a Tub or Sink With Water and Detergent

After you’ve removed the cover, fill the bucket, tub, or sink with warm water. You don’t want it too hot because you’ll be washing your pillow by hand, but you also don’t want the water to be too cool.

Add a small amount of detergent (just a few drops is usually enough) to the water and mix until it’s sudsy. If the pillow has dirty spots, apply a small amount of stain remover to the pillow, dip the laundry brush into the warm water, and scrub the stains gently. Work from the middle of the stain outward.

3. Submerge and Wash Pillow

Once you’ve treated any stains, submerge the pillow completely. Using your hands, squeeze the pillow to work the soapy water deeply into the material. The type of filling inside your pillow can change how easy this part of the process is. Solid foam pillows may take a little longer to inundate with water, while pillows with shredded foam filling usually absorb water faster.

Be sure not to twist the pillow. Twisting can rip or permanently damage the pillow.

4. Rinse the Pillow

After a few minutes of squeezing the soapy water through the pillow, take it out of the water and run it under warm water. Gently squeeze the pillow under the flowing water to help push out the soap. When the water runs completely clear, squeeze as much excess water as possible without twisting.

5. Lay the Pillow Out To Dry

Lay the pillow on the clean, dry towels you prepared earlier. To speed up the drying process, place the pillow in front of a sunny window or set up a fan nearby. Don’t use a space heater or hair dryer — they could damage the material.

It can take up to 24 hours for a memory foam pillow to completely dry. You probably don’t want to be without your favorite pillow for even a night, but waiting is important. If the pillow isn’t fully dry before you put the cover back on, it could create the conditions for mold and mildew to thrive.

Illustrated diagram showing how to wash a memory foam pillow.

How To Spot Clean a Pillow

Spot cleaning a memory foam pillow is simple, and you can do it with just a few common household items. If you need to clean stains off a pillow to disinfect it or keep it looking good, get these materials ready:

  • Detergent
  • Small bucket or bowl
  • Laundry brush or clean white cloths for scrubbing
  • Clean, dry towels
  • Stain remover (optional)

1. Remove Cover

Remove the pillow cover before spot cleaning. Because your pillow’s cover is designed to protect the filling, many stains may never go deeper than the cover. You can wash most covers in a washing machine, so check the label and follow the instructions.

2. Combine Water and Detergent in a Bowl

Add a few drops of detergent to a bowl, then add warm water. Stir the water to create a sudsy solution.

3. Gently Blot or Scrub Stain

Dip the laundry brush or one of the clean towels into the water, remove as much excess soapy water as possible, then gently blot the stain. Start from the middle and work your way out in a circle. If blotting doesn’t remove the stain, gently scrub using the same circular motion.

Once the stain is gone, grab another clean towel and dampen it with clean water. Blot the area to remove as much of the detergent as you can. Repeat until there’s no trace of detergent.

4. Dry the Pillow

After you’ve removed as much moisture as possible, use another clean towel to blot the spot-treated areas dry. If you cleaned multiple spots, lay the pillow on top of a clean, dry towel resting on a flat surface. To help speed up drying, set the pillow near a sunny window or use a fan.

Depending on the number of stains and how wet the pillow is, it can take up to a full day to dry. Be patient, or you could create ideal conditions for mold and mildew growth.

Illustrated diagram showing how to spot clean a memory foam pillow.

How Often Should I Wash Memory Foam Pillows?

Memory foam body pillows can last for five to seven years, so protect your investment by washing your memory foam pillows every three months or so. If it gets stained or you’ve been sick, wash it as soon as you can to disinfect the pillow and prevent damage.

Can I Dry a Memory Foam Pillow in the Dryer?

It’s usually not a good idea to dry a memory foam pillow in the dryer. Solid foam pillows can rip in the machine, and the fibers of shredded memory foam pillows can be damaged by the heat of a dryer.

Sleep Better (And Cleaner)

Now that you know how to clean a memory foam pillow, make sure you’re doing everything you can to get the best night’s sleep. If a new body pillow could help you address discomfort during pregnancy or relieve neck pain, now is the time to check out Eli & Elm.