How to clean memory foam pillows — 4 steps to refreshing yours at home

Sleep easy by learning how to clean memory foam pillows and make your bedding essential fresh as a daisy

Memory foam pillows stacked on top of green blanket
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Knowing how to clean memory foam pillows is key to maintaining their soft, fresh comfort.

Memory foam pillows are have so many pros, including superior comfort. But they're not items you can chuck in the washer. Instead, our cleaning experts reveal how to clean these pillows at home in just four steps, plus recommend products to help.

Armed with the best cleaning supplies, let our pros walk you through exactly how to keep that memory foam at its brilliant, fresh, buoyant best so you can enjoy blissful slumber every night.

How to clean memory foam pillows like a pro

When it comes to the best pillows for a sound snooze, it's no surprise that memory foam ones top the list. But it's vital to know how to clean memory foam pillows to avoid ruining their shape and softness.

Where our industry experts have recommended products, we've sourced matching picks to shop online from trusted retailers to get your memory pillows freshened up ASAP. 

Prices correct at the time of publication.

Step 1: Spot clean stains on your memory foam pillows

Person's hands holding a white memory foam pillow

(Image credit: Katelin Kinney/Getty Images)

Keeping your memory foam pillows in good condition starts with addressing any stains promptly. 

Karina Toner, operations manager at Spekless Cleaning, says, "As soon as a spill occurs, remove the pillowcase and check its care instructions. Soak it in cool water or wash it according to the label to prevent staining."

Use dry cloths, microfiber towels, or paper towels to blot the spill area on your pillow. Everspring Microfiber Cleaning Cloths from Target help do the job well. Avoid scrubbing vigorously though, as it can damage the foam structure.

Karina explains, "Dampen a cloth or paper towel with cool water and a drop or two of mild, alcohol-free dish soap, and gently dab the spill area. Cool water prevents stains from setting, while mild detergents are gentle on memory foam, removing stains without causing damage."

Continue to blot until the stain fades away, taking care not to saturate the foam. Try Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid from Amazon for a gentle clean.

For tougher stains, such as coffee, another approach may be needed. 

Karina says, "For tougher stains, mix equal parts water and white vinegar or use a commercial enzymatic cleaner. Lightly spray the stained area and let the cleaner stand for five minutes. Blot with a clean towel until the surface feels dry. Never use a hairdryer, as heat can melt memory foam."

We recommend Good & Gather Distilled White Vinegar from Target and Amazon's Commercial Multi-Purpose Enzyme Cleaner

Profile photo of Karina Toner, operations manager at Spekless Cleaning
Karina Toner

Karina Toner is operations manager at Spekless Cleaning, which prides itself on exceptional cleaning, professionalism and client satisfaction. With over a decade of hands-on experience in the cleaning industry, Karina specializes in providing expert, tailored advice for clients on natural cleaning methods that prioritize both effectiveness and sustainability.

Step 2: Neutralize odors on your memory foam pillows

The next step in restoring your memory foam pillows to their best is to neutralize odors — one of several useful pillow-cleaning hacks

Karina says, "Sprinkle both sides of the pillow with baking soda. Let it sit for a few hours to absorb odors, then vacuum thoroughly afterward."

We recommend Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda from Walmart. Use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner to avoid leaving lines or marks.

Karina adds, "If you're short on time, mist the pillow with a fabric freshener (such as Febreze Fabric Extra Strength Air Freshener Spray from Target). While this won’t tackle tough smells, it’s a quick fix."

Step 3: Deep clean your memory foam pillows

Lady on a bed with white sheets, duvet and memory foam pillow

(Image credit: Med-Ved/Getty Images)

Now for the most important stage of cleaning memory foam pillows — the deep clean. 

Begin by removing the pillowcase and any protective covers. Using a handheld vacuum (such as one from our tried, tested and reviewed best handheld vacuums), gently remove dirt and dust from the pillow's surface.

Never machine wash memory foam pillows as the agitation and heat can cause them to lose their shape and integrity. Instead, fill a bathtub or large basin with lukewarm water and a small amount of mild detergent (aim for around a teaspoon of detergent per gallon of water). Agitate the water to ensure the detergent mixes evenly. 

Hellamaid cleaning specialist, Angela Rubin, says, "Submerge the pillow in the soapy water and gently squeeze to allow the detergent to penetrate the foam. Don't twist or wring as this can damage the foam. Allow it to soak for 15 minutes.

"Refill the bath or basin with clean, cool water and rinse the pillow thoroughly until all soap residue is removed."

Angela Rubin, cleaning expert at HellaMaid
Angela Rubin

Angela Rubin works at Hellamaid, a top-rated cleaning company in Canada. Hellamaid are industry experts specializing in residential and commercial cleaning services.

4. Air dry your memory foam pillows

Though knowing how to wash pillows is important, it's equally vital to ensure they have time to dry. The final stage of the cleaning routine for your memory foam pillow is to ensure it is completely dry before returning it to the bed. 

Dense memory foam can dry slowly, taking up to 36 hours, but it's important to ensure it is fully dry to prevent any mold or mildew growth. Do not use a tumble dryer as the high heat can cause the foam to break or crumble. 

Karina says, "After cleaning, blot the pillow with a dry towel. Air dry completely before replacing the pillowcase. Sun drying is ideal, but a fan works too."

To maintain the cleanliness and longevity of your memory foam pillows, protect them with pillowcases, spot clean stains promptly, and deep clean every 6 months.

So there you have it — four simple steps to refresh your memory foam pillows and get a great night's sleep. 

Next, check out our rundown of the best bedding brands and these amazing bedding sets for a bed you'll never want out of! 

Andy van Terheyden
Freelance Writer

I'm a senior writer with an English degree and NCJ qualification, plus years of experience writing news, lifestyle and consumer articles for the national and international press. I'm also a copywriter, working on a breadth of consumer and corporate projects, and a private education consultant. I live in the quiet of the countryside and spend my weekends mooching around homeware shops, completing DIY tasks to breathe life into my small, newly-built home.