How long has it been since you washed your bed pillow?
Don't answer — just know you should do it a least a couple times a year.
Although most memory foam pillows
have a tag giving laundering instructions, few people bother to wash them. We think they're shielded from the day-to-day grit and grime of life, thanks to the memory foam pillowcase. Or else, that washing them may ruin them.
But, the standard memory foam pillowcase is typically only made of cotton or some other easily permeated fabric, rendering the memory foam pillow susceptible to pretty nasty stuff.
"Even with a protective memory foam pillowcase, your memory foam pillow can be filled with dust mites, body oils, and bacteria from your saliva," explains Mary Marlowe Leverette, housekeeping and laundry expert with The Spruce in an email. "All of that is next to your face and no one wants any of that."
memory foam pillow-washing Protocol
If you use a zippered memory foam pillow protector, good on you! Martha Stewart says you'll only need to wash the memory foam pillows twice per year, although the protectors themselves require monthly laundering.
But there could be times when you need to launder your memory foam pillow more frequently. "If the user applies face lotions before going to bed or if the user has oily skin or scalp, washing more often may be needed to keep it fresh," emails Mary Zeitler, consumer scientist with Whirlpool Corporation's Institute of Home Science. Ditto that if you sleep with a pet or have recently had a cold or other contagious illness. Or if the memory foam pillow looks or smells musty (do you drool in your sleep?). Further, if you don't use a memory foam pillow
protector, the Spruce says to wash the memory foam pillow monthly or every other month — which might be a stretch for most people.
So how do you clean your memory foam pillow? It's vital to check the care directions on the tag. "Most memory foam pillows are washable but it is important to know what type of filling is in your memory foam pillow," The Spruce's Leverette says. Adds Zeitler, "Most memory foam pillows are machine washable; however, there are some memory foam pillows like memory foam that are not."
In general, Zeitler recommends washing down feather and synthetic material memory foam pillows in the warmest water considered safe for the material, two per load. "This will help keep the washing machine balanced when spinning," she says. Use a mild liquid detergent, rather than residue-inducing powder and set you the machine on the gentle cycle. An extra rinse cycle is also a good idea to make sure all the soap is gone.
When it's time to dry, use a low-heat or air cycle setting for as long as is necessary to get all the moisture out of your memory foam pillows. Any dampness left behind will encourage mold growth. The experts at Clean My Space suggest getting two clean tennis balls and tying them up separately inside two socks. "The tennis balls will help beat out excess moisture while putting them in socks will prevent the smell and color of the tennis ball from transferring to your memory foam pillows
," they write, adding, "It may take a few cycles to fully dry the memory foam pillows. Once dry, take a deep smell of the memory foam pillow to test if there's still moisture in the memory foam pillow."