How to Wash Foam Pillows

Memory foam pillows offer exceptional support, but unlike down or down alternative pillows, they cannot be washed in a washing machine. The machine’s harsh movement and dryer’s heat can damage the foam, reducing the pillow’s support. So how do you wash a memory foam pillow? As with any bedding, you should follow the care instructions on the label. Often, the best way to clean a foam pillow will be to hand wash or spot clean.

How to Hand Wash Memory Foam Pillows

Usually, it is okay to machine wash pillows filled with down or down alternative—but memory foam pillows require a different approach. If your foam pillow’s care instructions indicate that it can be hand washed, follow these steps to deep clean the insert:

Remove cover from pillow and wash according to the instructions. Unlike the inserts, most foam pillow covers are machine washable.

Fill a large sink or bathtub with lukewarm water and a small amount of gentle detergent designed for laundering delicate items—we recommend one teaspoon of detergent per gallon of water.

Completely submerge the pillow in the water, then massage lightly to lather and move the detergent through the foam. Continue for about ten minutes.

Rinse the pillow until the water runs clear, gently squeezing the foam to remove any excess. Do not wring or twist; this can cause the foam to break.

How to Dry a Foam Pillow

Once it’s been washed, allow the memory foam pillow to air dry on a flat, well-ventilated surface away from direct heat and sunlight. Do not use a clothes dryer, as the high heat can cause the foam to crumble, damaging the pillow.

Dense memory foam dries slowly, so a breezy afternoon or desktop fan may help speed things along. Foam pillows should be completely dry before using or storing to prevent mold or mildew—the complete process can take up to 24 hours.

How to Spot Clean Memory Foam Pillows

Spot cleaning is a practical alternative for foam pillows that cannot be hand-washed—or for when a quick turnaround is essential. Remove and wash the cover according to its care instructions, then follow these steps to spot clean memory foam pillow inserts:

  1. Combine one tablespoon of mild detergent or dishwashing liquid with two cups of lukewarm water in a small bowl.
  2. Dip a clean white cloth into the solution, then gently blot the stain from the outside in. As the stain transfers, move to a clean area of the cloth and continue blotting until the stain has been removed.
  3. Dip a new clean white cloth in plain water and blot to remove any remaining soap.
  4. Allow the pillow to air dry completely; a hair dryer set to the coolest setting can help speed the process.
bowl of soapy water

How Often Should You Wash Memory Foam Pillows?

Whether you spot clean or hand wash, you should wash your memory foam pillows every three months to prevent the accumulation of dirt or dust. The pillow cover can be cleaned as frequently as you’d like; for simplicity’s sake, we recommend washing the cover when you wash other bedding protectors—about once a month. Between washes, use a protective cover to block stains, moisture, dirt, and allergens to keep your pillow cleaner, longer.

Foam Pillow Care Tip: A quick vacuum over the surface of a memory foam pillow helps keep it fresh between washes.

All of our foam pillows come with machine-washable protective covers to help keep them clean, but we recommend also using a pillowcase for comfort—and as an added layer of defense against dirt and dust. Find more bedding cleaning tips and other advice in our other Guides.