Did you know that traditional pillows are often home to substantial amounts of dust mites (and their feces) and dead skin? Fortunately, memory foam pillows are resistant to these pests.
Since you spend hours with your face pressed against your pillow, it is vital to keep it clean and prevent the development of dust mites. Cleaning memory foam pillows is different than cleaning cushions with other fillings because they can’t be cleaned in a washing machine.
This shouldn’t concern you too much, because in this guide I’ll show you all the methods you can use to thoroughly clean your pillows and prevent them from becoming a refuge for the nasty dust mites.
What Is Memory Foam?
We’ve gotten so used to hearing about memory foam that we rarely even ask ourselves what it is and how it works. This stuffing is foamed polyurethane with added chemicals for increasing viscosity and density.
The foam cells are open, which creates a matrix through which the air moves. Its key characteristic is that it molds itself to your neck and body quickly. Memory foam was first discovered for the needs of improving cushion safety in NASA.
Pros And Cons Of Memory Foam
While the very design of memory foam pillows was a revolutionary change, it is impossible to claim this stuffing is perfect. Like every other thing in life, it has its pros and cons.
- Good support
- Pain relief
- Can be contoured to fit the head and neck
- Smooth without lumps
- Decent durability
- Relatively easy to look after
- Takes Time to Get Used to
- Very Firm
- Needs a Few Days to Settle
Three Types Of Memory Foam Pillows
Not all memory foam pillows are made the same, and some of them have entirely different purposes, advantages, and disadvantages. Here are the three types you should know about:
Standard memory foam pillows that can be adjusted to your neck and return their natural shape when you get up.
Wedge-shaped pillows differ from traditional pillows because of their shape which helps people with sleeping disorders, such as GERD or acid reflux.
Shredded memory foam is more adjustable and flexible than regular memory foam pillows. The firmness, bounce, and responsiveness are similar for the two, but shredded foam tends to flatten out faster.
When And Why Should You Sleep On Memory Foam Pillow?
Do you have neck pains when you wake up? Or is it simply uncomfortable for you to sleep? Memory foam pillows are ideal for back sleepers because they require support under the head neck and shoulders.
Memory foam helps them maintain natural spine curvature. Since many memory foam pillows have a side panel for extra height, they can be a good choice for side sleepers as well.
Practice Good Pillow Hygiene
Pillows shouldn’t be only washed from time to time. The longevity and cleanness of your pillow are determined by how well you take care of it on a daily basis. With memory foam filling this is even more important because you can’t wash it in the washing machine.
Dirt, pollutants, bacteria, and grease can build up on pillowcases in no time. That’s why experts recommend you should change your pillowcase at least once a week. If you have skin prone to breakouts, consider doing this every day.
Rules Of Cleaning Memory Foam
Before we move on to the details of cleaning memory foam pillows, we must establish some ground rules for dealing with this stuffing.
Whatever you do, don’t break the following rules:
- Never, ever wash the pillow in the washing machine. Only washing by hands is allowed.
- Memory foam is delicate, so make sure you don’t scrub the pillow too hard during the washing or treat it roughly in any way.
- Stay away from overly harsh cleaning agents. Use only gentle products.
Vacuuming The Memory Foam Pillow
If you follow the basic hygiene rules of changing the bedding and the pillowcases once a week, this is the time when you should vacuum your memory foam pillow to get rid of dust and dirt. Use a hand vacuum or a regular vacuum, but with a soft brush attachment so you don’t damage the pillow surface.
How To Wash Memory Foam Pillow?
Deep cleaning is a bit more complicated than that. Here’s how the process works, one step at a time:
Remove the pillowcase.
Fill up a bathtub, sink or a large washbowl with lukewarm water and a few drops of mild detergent.
Gently submerge the pillow under the water. Squeeze it a little bit to allow the water to penetrate beneath the surface. Repeat two or three times.
Drain the soapy water from the pillow and refill the tub with clean water. Squeeze the pillow a couple of times to allow the clean water to remove remaining dirt and soap. Repeat until the water runs clear.
Remove the pillow from water, and squeeze it lightly to remove excess liquid. Don’t twist or squeeze too hard because it could lose its shape.
Air dry the pillow, preferably outdoors or in direct sunlight. If this is not an option for you, you can dry it indoors, but you will fasten the process if you leave it under a ceiling fan.
Bonus tips: Add a drop of lavender water to the soapy water and sprinkle the pillow with it after you’ve washed it.
How To Remove Stains?
Sometimes there is no need for deep cleaning, but you do have to remove mild spots and stains unless you want to sleep on a bunch of bacteria.
Most liquid stains (e.g., you’ve spilled a few drops of chamomile tea on your pillow) can be removed easily.
Remove the pillowcase.
Absorb any excess liquid with a towel.
Mix water and a few drops of mild dish detergent until you get a bubbly consistency. Dip a sponge into the mix and gently rub the spill in circular motions until it’s clean.
Dry with a hairdryer or allow it to air dry.
How To Spot-Clean It?
Not all stains are as harmless as chamomile tea. Some of them are more persistent, like wine and blood.
If you are dealing with such problems, here’s how to solve them:
Remove the cover.
Apply 3% hydrogen to the stain and blot with a clean cloth. Do that until the peroxide stops bubbling. Spray with cold water. Take an old toothbrush and rub gently.
Allow it to air dry.
If the stain is from pet urine, you can clean it efficiently by mixing one tablespoon of white vinegar, one cup of hydrogen peroxide, and two tablespoons of baking soda, and then by applying them directly to the stain. Leave it overnight and if the stain sticks, repeat. Blot clean the area with cold water. Air dry.
How To Deodorize Memory Foam Pillow?
Some memory foam pillows can release odd smells when they are new because of off-gassing. Also, sometimes your pillow can pick up the scents of the environment.
If the smell bothers you or you think the pillow needs some refreshment, here’s how to deodorize it:
Take off the pillow cover and place the pillow on a flat surface.
Sprinkle baking soda over the pillow. Leave it like that in direct sunlight for about three hours.
Vacuum the pillow thoroughly using an upholstery attachment to remove hair and invisible detritus.
How Often Should You Wash Memory Foam Pillow?
You already know that you should change your pillowcase at least once a week, but how often should you wash the pillow in order to maintain proper hygiene? It is recommended to deep clean it every two months.
However, if you or another occupant of your home has recently been sick, it is advisable to deep clean the pillow to get rid of the bacteria. In most cases, it is enough to vacuum and deodorize it regularly (once a week).
When Is It Time To Replace It?
Memory foam pillows last significantly longer than standard polyester pillows which should be replaced every six months. However, despite their superior quality, memory foam pillows have to be substituted for new ones ever eighteen to thirty-six months.
You will notice that your pillow is no longer good for use when the filling begins to break down and lose its shape. This puts additional stress on your neck and back while you are sleeping and alerts you to get a new pillow as soon as possible.
You spend six, eight or more hours a day sleeping. During that time, your head or face is leaned on a pillow.
Notes: If you don’t take care of that pillow properly, you are exposing yourself to many health threats that come from the piled up dirt, bacteria, and dust mites.
If you own a memory foam pillow, cleaning can sound challenging at first, because you can’t just put it in the washing machine and wait until it does all the work. However, it is not an impossible task. After you have read these tips, you can see that spot cleaning, deodorizing, and washing a memory foam pillow is not as difficult as you originally thought.