How Often Should You Change (and Clean) Your Memory Foam Pillow? [Complete Guide]

memory pillow

One of the most important questions of owning a memory foam pillow is how often should I change one, and how often should I clean it? The condition of your mattress determines how comfortably you can rest and sleep on it.

Memory foam pillows, just like other types of pillows, won’t last an eternity. While they are more durable than regular polyester pillows, you might be surprised to learn that memory foam pillows still need to be replaced from time to time.

When we sleep, our body produces body oils that get stuck to the bedsheets and our pillows. Additionally, our skin might peel off and our hair will also stay on the pillows, as well as the hair resin.

That’s why it’s important to keep proper maintenance of a pillow. This entails regular cleaning and airing, as well as regular replacement.

Memory foam pillows require special care when it comes to cleaning. They shouldn’t be placed in a washing machine, as the memory foam is highly sensitive and will get broken down. If you don’t want to ruin it, you should clean it by hand by vacuuming.

Here, we’ll take a look at how often you should change your memory foam pillow and how can you clean one to keep it fresh for longer.

How Often Should You Change Your Memory Foam Pillow?

Memory foam pillow

A memory foam pillow will not last you an eternity, which is what some people will lead you to believe. You should replace your memory foam pillow every 18-36 months, depending on the state of your pillow. While this type of pillow does last longer than a standard, polyester pillow (which lasts about six months or slightly more), it still has a certain date of “expiry” after which the pillow just won’t be as effective as before.

As the pillow wears on and you use it on a daily basis, the memory foam filling inside of the pillow will start to break down. This, in turn, leads to a much worse quality of sleep, and you’ll be feeling the effects of a bad sleep the next morning you wake up. And this guideline of replacing the pillows every 18-36 months stands regardless of whether you keep good maintenance during that time. It just won’t last more than that; even though you can keep it, it won’t be nearly as comfortable as before.

As soon as you start to feel uncomfortable with your memory foam pillow, you should consider replacing it. It is the first sign of a pillow that has worn out and needs replacement. Regular cleaning and washing can extend the lifetime of a pillow, though. Memory foam pillows can be sensitive when it comes to washing, and you should place special care when you do so. Overall, a weekly or monthly maintenance of your pillow will do it a world of good, as you will remove all the skin cells and the dust mites that might start to collect with just a few simple steps.

And that way, you can prolong the time the pillow will last. There are many reasons why you should replace your pillow on a regular basis.

Why Should You Replace Your Pillows?

There are several reasons as to why you should replace your pillow every 18-36 months.

skin irritation and allergies

How Often Should You Change (and Clean) Your Memory Foam Pillow? [Complete Guide] 1

While these may not be harmful to your health, they can cause skin irritation and allergies, and they can also be hard to remove. Over time, there will be a lot of these dust mites and that’s when you should replace your pillow.

deteriorating quality of sleep

So, these are the main reasons as to why to replace a memory foam pillow. Additionally, you might want to have a pillowcase so that the pillow will last your for longer; in some cases, your pillowcase will need replacing or at the very least, regular washing.

You will notice a deteriorating quality of sleep, and the pillow just won’t feel as comfortable as before.

While dust mites can be slightly controlled with regular maintenance, there is not much you can do about this but to replace the memory foam pillow.So, these are the main reasons as to why to replace a memory foam pillow.

Additionally, you might want to have a pillowcase so that the pillow will last your for longer; in some cases, your pillowcase will need replacing or at the very least, regular washing.

the neck may start to hurt


Moreover, the pillow will decrease your quality of sleep, and the neck may start to hurt after a rough night’s sleep.

It’s a warning sign that you should buy a new pillow, and you don’t want that to become a recurring thing. In the long-term, you might hurt your spine and your neck, but you’ll also get more headaches and strain if you use a worn-out pillow.


So, these are the main reasons as to why to replace a memory foam pillow. Additionally, you might want to have a pillowcase so that the pillow will last your for longer; in some cases, your pillowcase will need replacing or at the very least, regular washing.

Having a fresh, new memory foam pillow just feels nice and it will keep us rejuvenated and refreshed for longer.

Are You Supposed to Wash New Pillows?


If you have recently purchased a new pillow from memory foam, then you might start to smell some strange smells coming out of the pillow. It’s a funny smell caused by off-gassing. That’s a chemical procedure where the organic compounds start to break down into gases, which is called off-gassing.

While it doesn’t last for long, it’s especially typical of memory foam products that usually contain Polyurethane, a chemical that makes the memory foam more durable.

While these smells from off gassing are only present for the first few days, we can easily make them disappear more quickly by giving the brand-new memory foam pillow a quick wash. At the very least, you should leave your memory foam pillow out in the open air for a few hours to air it out and get the “memory foam smell” out of it.

Some users have reported that it takes hours, while for others, it might take a couple of days for this smell from off gasses to get removed.

Additionally, we can help the new pillow with a quick, gentle wash as we get it out of the box. A very important thing to remember never put memory foam pillows into a washing machine!

That can significantly hurt the memory foam, and it will start to break down, especially if it’s solid memory foam. Here’s what you can do for your brand-new pillow.

  • Take the pillowcase off the pillow and get it prepared for a quick wash.
  • Get some baking soda. After you take the pillowcase off, sprinkle some baking soda onto the pillow, and leave the pillow in direct sunlight for a few hours. This will remove the smells from the pillow and make it feel fresher.
  • Lastly, use a vacuum cleaner to vacuum the pillow to get the baking soda out completely. Now, your brand-new pillow should feel fresh and ready to go. Additionally, you can leave the pillow outside for a few additional hours to make sure it’s completely fresh.

Remember that memory foam is delicate and shouldn’t go into the washing machine or be treated harshly. Whatever you do, do it gently and carefully.

How Often Should You Wash a Pillow?

Washing your pillow

If you’ve been using the same mattress for years and it’s starting to get very smelly and uncomfortable, you need to deep clean it.

To keep your foam pillow feeling fresher and more comfortable for longer, you should try to keep regular maintenance with it.

Just like the bedsheets and the mattresses, the pillow will need regular care in order to remove all the residue that gets into the pillow: our skin, our hair, body oils, as well as dust mites and other smaller allergens that might disturb us.

You’ll be pleased to know that it doesn’t take a lot to keep the memory foam pillow in good condition for long. Yes, you should treat your pillows with a nice cleaning treatment every week, although a more thorough cleaning should be done on a monthly basis. 

Here’s how to keep good maintenance of your pillow from memory foam and what you can do weekly, and monthly:

Weekly Maintenance

On a weekly basis, you should, at the very least, remove the pillowcase and wash it thoroughly. Then, you should also vacuum your memory foam pillow in order to remove as many dust mites and other harmful particles and allergens as possible.

What you can also do on a weekly basis is that you can put some baking soda onto the pillow itself and let it dry in the sun for a couple of hours. Then, vacuum it thoroughly, and your pillow should feel fresh and ready to go again.

Consistency is key in order to prolong the lifetime of a pillow.

Monthly Maintenance

On a monthly basis, you can perform a more thorough cleaning process for your pillow. Provided that you have already done the weekly changes suggested before, there should not be a lot of pollution going on in your pillow.

But still, you can do a monthly wash that we’ll provide here.

First, you should take off the pillowcase and wash it. After that, fill a sink with lukewarm water and put some nice smelling detergent in it. You can also put some lavender to keep it smelling fresher.

Then, mix the water to create bubbles. After that, sink the pillow into the mixture and squeeze it to allow the soapy water to come underneath the surface. Repeat this process twice and then gently squeeze the pillow to remove the excess water.

Lastly, you can leave your pillow out in the air to dry out. You can sprinkle it with some lavender to keep it smelling fresh.

In Case of a Spill

Pillow spill

Removing spills might prove to be more difficult, especially if it’s wine or even blood. In that case, you’ll need to prepare some water and detergent. You’ll also want to have a sponge at the ready.

Then, dip the sponge into the mixture of water and detergent. Start rubbing the area or the spill very gently and increase the intensity if the spill doesn’t come off. It should, though.

Remember to remain gentle and stay patient if it doesn’t come off at first. Try again!

What Happens if You Don’t Change Your Pillow?

If you fail to keep the proper maintenance of the pillow and you don’t change it, you will suffer a lot when you sleep.

  • Your quality of sleep will deteriorate massively. As the memory foam will wear out, the pillow just won’t be as effective anymore. You’ll start to feel less comfortable, and you might wake up during the night. The next morning, you’ll wake up with a headache and your back or neck will hurt. And it all happens due to the poor quality of the memory foam inside the pillow. Inevitably, it will start to break down and deteriorate, and there might be more and more spacing between the memory foam.
  • Secondly, the pillow will start to emit odors, especially if you don’t wash it often or keep proper maintenance. As the body oils and other residues, we leave in the pillow really start to set in, they’ll be incredibly hard to remove, especially if we haven’t washed the pillow in a while. In that case, not even thorough cleaning might help.

Note that you will need to replace your pillow even if you keep good maintenance of it and you clean it regularly. That’s because the memory foam just won’t last longer than that.

Every 18-36 months, you should look into buying a new pillow from memory foam for yourself.

In addition, the old memory foam pillow will start to feel flat and won’t give you the proper support to keep your neck and spine in a good position.

And that is absolutely crucial to prevent any back and neck pain.

Especially these days where we might find ourselves hunched over a computer for most of the day.

Why do My Pillows go Flat?

No matter what type of pillow you might have, eventually, they will start to flatten down. As a result, you will lose support and your neck might start to hurt over time. But why does this happen? Why do pillows go flat?

Even memory foam pillows won’t last an eternity. They will start to break down and go flat because of the heavy use. As we press our heads onto the pillow for eight hours (at least) every day, it will inevitably tell. The material will start to compress, and the pillow will become flat. We’ll lose support for our spine and our back. A pillow plays a crucial role; as it elevates our head to keep our head in correlation with the spine, it helps us to have a better posture.

If the pillow becomes flat, we lose that support. As a result, we’ll start to feel neck pain and our spine will also feel the effects. But what can we do when the pillows go flat?

Ultimately, you’ll have to think about replacing it. It’s the only long-term solution that will last you another three years at most. But in the short-term, we can fix that slightly if we buy washable gel for memory foal. This gel will help us get the consistency again, and if we dry the pillow in the drier with some dryer balls, then you might start to notice that the pillow might not be as flat anymore.

How do I Get Rid of Old Pillows?

If your pillow has run its course and it’s time to buy a new one, you’re going to have to think of what to do with the old latex pillow. Your initial thought might be to throw it into the garbage bin but think twice before you do that. 

Your pillow might still come useful in some cases and might be reused for other purposes.

What exactly does that mean?

Here are some of the best ways of how to use an old pillow instead of throwing it out completely.

  • Ideally, you can gift the pillow to someone that really needs it if it’s still in relatively good condition. You never know, the pillow might come useful for someone who desperately needs it. Ask at the local community center or consider donating it to better causes. It might still come handy to someone, so don’t through it away just yet.
  • If you have pets, then you might use it as a pet bed. It’s an excellent idea; your pet will feel comfortable, and you won’t have to spend additional money on a pet bed. Plus, you get to keep your pillow and not throw it away.
  • You can also consider contacting your local pet shelter and ask them if it’s of any use to them.
  • If there really is no other way of using the latex pillow, throw it away. Or, you can store your old pillows in a plastic bag. You never know, they might come handy at some point.

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