Updated at: 06-12-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

You’d want to know how to get the smell out of a memory foam pillow if you like the way this type of pillow supports your body while you sleep.

You Can Get the Smell Out of a Memory Foam Pillow

These pillows serve to keep the upper body aligned as you sleep. It works by taking the shape of your body, hence why they are called memory pillows. The name foam, of course, comes from the material it is made from.

How To Get Rid Of Memory Foam Smell: 10 Tips That Work - Terry Cralle

But have you ever asked yourself how you can take good care of the pillows you regularly use? Whether it is a memory foam pillow or just a regular pillow, here are some steps to help you maintain their cleanliness.

Step 1

Use house plants. Having plants indoors or in your bedroom is the most effective in naturally eliminating odor. If you have an allergy to a certain smell, like perfumes or scented sprays, then having plants may be your best option to illuminating smelly odors.

Step 2

People sweat all the time, and sweat can result in an unwelcomed smell thanks to the bacteria that feed on our juicy sweat. Since we always lay on our pillows, a lot of this smell will be transferred to it.

So, what you can do is remove your pillow from its protective case and try to check if there are stains that result from sweat or saliva. These stains can be removed by baking soda and water paste.

If your pillow has a strong odor, try to spray it with vinegar mixed with water to eliminate the smell. Make sure to leave it aside afterward so that it can ventilate well until the smell goes away.

Step 3

Lay your pillow under the heat of the sun. This will help lighten its discolored areas. You may treat yellow stains by using a toothbrush to apply bleach or vinegar mixed with water. Baking soda will be of great help too, but you need to give it a day before brushing it off.

Step 4

One basic thing you can do is to simply lay your memory pillow in a well-ventilated area for a few hours. This will help remove the smell naturally through aeration. Keep in mind that it’s better to air out the foam product longer if you want to get rid of its noticeable odor.

Step 5

Sometimes, when you are tired, you can forget to clean yourself. It is common to simply jump into your best reasoning that you are just too tired to do anything other than rest or relax.

But being outdoors exposes you to all kinds of bacteria, so this might be a cause as to why your pillows smell bad. For this reason, make sure that before you sleep or nap on your pillows, clean yourself first by freshening up.

Step 6

We cannot deny that we sometimes are a little bit careless. That’s why we can easily spill something on our memory pillow, which can result in a bad odor. In order to get rid of the stain as well as the smell, you should:

Tip 1

Remove the pillowcase protector.

Tip 2

Use a clean cloth to absorb any excess liquid spills.

Tip 3

Mix a gentle detergent with water.

Tip 4

Dip a sponge in the water (old towels or cloth will do) and rub the stain gently in a circular motion. Remember, do not scrub the memory pillow as it might get damaged.

Tip 5

After rubbing the stain, get a clean and dry cloth to dry up the area where you cleaned.

Tip 6

It is highly recommended to dry the pillow after cleaning. Otherwise, molds and mildews run fast when it is not dried out.

The Benefits of Using a Memory Foam Pillow

Here are some of the benefits of using a memory foam pillow:

Helps with spinal alignment

Memory foam pillows are great for people who suffer from headaches, back or neck pain. The weight of your body shapes the foam, supporting the neck area.


Memory foam is hypoallergenic, which means it inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold, dust mites, and fungi. This makes it a great option for people allergic to dust mites, feathers, and other pillow materials.


Memory foam pillows are durable and with proper care, it will last for many years.

Are memory foam pillows machine washable?

Short answer, No; memory foam pillows are not machine washable. Due to the constant agitation putting them in a washer can break down the pillow’s structure and even cause cracks. Even though memory foam looks squishy and firm, machine cleaning it will cause irreparable damage.

How to wash away sweat from a memory foam pillow

It’s important to practice good pillow hygiene as sweat can build up on your pillow faster than you think and cause an odor. This can adversely impact the quality of your sleep, leaving you grumpy and irritable all day. Since you cannot put your memory foam pillow into the washer machine, you should wash it by hand to clean it deeply. Here’s how you do that:

  1. Fill a sink or bathtub with some warm water and add in a small amount of mild detergent. About a teaspoon of detergent mixed into about a gallon of water will do. You don’t want to use any harsh detergents or chemicals as they can damage the memory foam. You can add in several droplets of your preferred essential oil, such as lavender if you choose.
  2. Remove the pillow from its cover and slowly immerse it into the soapy water while gently squeezing it to let out the air and allow the water to penetrate it better. Repeat this until the pillow is fully submerged.
  3. Remove the soapy water and fill up the sink or bathtub with clean water. Once the pillow is submerged, squeeze it a couple of times to help rinse out the soapy water and wash away any dirt and sweat that was in the pillow. Repeat this process until the water runs clear.
  4. Gently remove out all the water you can. Do not twist or wring your pillow as this will damage it.
  5. Leave your pillow out to air dry, preferably in direct sunlight or outdoors. If neither one is available, you can use a ceiling fan on high to dry your pillow.
  6. Once it dries, you can spray it with your preferred essential oil if desired.

How to remove sweat stains

Despite what material your pillowcase or over is made from, sweat can seep through and get into the pillow. When sweat dries, it can leave a yellowish stain on your pillow, which can be unsightly. To remove sweat stains, you can use distilled vinegar or boric acid.

Combine equal parts distilled vinegar and water into a bowl. Using a soft piece of cloth dipped in the solution, gently rub the sweat stain in circular motions moving inwards. Cleaning it this way reduces the chances of spreading the stain.

Repeat this process until the stain is gone. Once you are done, use a clean cloth dipped in clean water to wipe away the vinegar solution. Pat dry the area and leave the pillow out or dry.

Alternatively, you can use boric acid. Sprinkle some boric acid onto the pillow and dab or blot the stain with a sponge or clean cloth in circular motions. Repeat until the stain is gone. Avoid scrubbing as this will cause the stain to set, making it even harder to remove. Once the stain is gone, vacuum the pillow thoroughly to ensure no boric acid residue is left.

How to deodorize a Memory Foam Pillow to get rid of sweat smell

If your memory foam pillow isn’t new, but you notice a sweaty odor, you can deodorize it. To do so, sprinkle some baking soda onto the pillow and let it sit for about 2 to 3 in a well-aerated room or even out in the sun. Use a vacuum with an upholstery attachment to clean the baking soda off the pillow thoroughly.

What’s even better, the upholstery attachment can remove hairs and other nearly invisible debris from your pillow. For the best results, apply the baking soda onto the memory foam pillow rather than the pillowcase or cover.

Alternatively, you can just air your pillow out for a couple of hours without covering it with baking soda. Sunlight, air, and baking soda can revive your pillow, eliminate any odors, and leave it feeling fresh, practically brand new.

How to clean your memory foam pillow cover and case

Cleaning your memory foam pillows about two times a year is enough to keep it fresh and in good condition. However, it’s more important to clean your pillow cover and case more regularly.

To get good quality sleep, changing your bed linens is key, and this includes your pillowcase too. Other than washing your pillowcase, you should wash your pillow cover every month.

Just unzip the pillow cover and toss it into the washer while following the care instructions. If you mistakenly cut off the care instructions, you can simply look them up online, search through the manufacturers FAQ page is a good idea. Some pillow covers are specially designed and can be damaged if the care instructions are not carefully followed.

Memory foam pillows are great. They are durable and offer great support while sleeping. Regularly cleaning and deodorizing your pillow can help eliminate that sweaty odor that comes with frequent use.

Get Rid Of Memory Foam Smell: 7 Useful Tips

1. Use Houseplants

There is no affordable and easy way to get rid of memory foam smell than with the use of houseplants. In addition to being effective at eliminating odor, houseplants make your home welcoming and look fashionable. Houseplants work by absorbing VOCs and other harmful toxins released by the mattress and other products such as carpets and cleaning agents in your house.

The best way to go about it is by planting different plant types in various rooms to enjoy healthier air. Placing all plants inside one room not only increases humidity but also encourages the growth of mold. Mold is nasty for damaging homes and worsening allergy and asthma symptoms.

So which plants are the best for this task? Try the following:

  • Peace lilies, Spider plants, and Chinese evergreens – All these fight common VOCs. Taking care of them is a walk in the park even for unskilled gardeners.
  • Chrysanthemums – Chrysanthemums features dazzling blooms that come in an array of colors. They are effective at filtering out benzene.
  • Aloe – Aloe vera eliminates benzene and formaldehyde. On top of that, the gel contained in the plant is also ideal for burns, cuts and dry skin.

That Memory Foam Smell - Is Memory Foam Toxic?

2. Buy Independently Tested Memory Foam Mattress/Pillow

US authorities require mattress companies to meet some standards for the safety of users. One of the standards that must be met is CertiPUR-US certification. CertiPUR-US certified memory foams do not contain the following:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Heavy metals such as lead and mercury
  • Ozone depleters
  • Phthalates

3. Use Food-Grade Polyethylene (Ideal for Crib Memory Foam Mattresses)

Not all plastic can help you reduce or remove memory foam smell. Some add more off-gassing or chemical exposure, making an already bad situation worse. The right kind of plastic is the thick one. Buying a plastic cover such as the one made of vinyl is the last thing you want as it’ll add more exposure to chemicals.

Food-grade and low-density polyethylene plastic is the best choice because of its non-toxic nature. It features a non-complex molecular structure which lacks harmful chemical additives such as dangerous plasticizers and phthalates.

The only downside to these plastics is that they are only available for baby mattresses. Those that cover larger sizes are unavailable. Therefore, you should consider this option only if you are considering to buy memory foam mattresses for your crib or baby bed.

4. Ensure Proper Ventilation

This is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to remove foam smell. You need to ensure that the room where you’ve placed your mattress is properly ventilated. Adequate air circulation goes miles to minimize initial caustic odor. Make sure that you open all the windows around the room and close to your bed. Ensure that the bedroom door remains open.

In addition to keeping doors and windows open, aim your bedroom fan towards the exit points to ensure a cross-breeze circulates inside the room. According to the Energy Department follow this guide to properly circulate air within your room.

Simply put, to get incredible results, try various methods such as outward-facing window fans, big outlets, and smaller inlets. You should run the cross-breeze across your room until you realize that the foam smell has reduced. After a few days, you should achieve your goal.

5. Use Bamboo Charcoal (Activated Charcoal)

Charcoal has been handy in many applications around the world for many years now. Activated charcoal is not only tasteless but also odorless. It is quite magical in improving the general air quality inside your room in three major ways:

  • Helps to regulate humidity
  • Get rid of odors
  • Remove VOCs

Millions of the tiny pores present in activated charcoal efficiently trap all the harmful chemicals released by your memory foam mattress. A good way to think about how it works is by taking bamboo charcoal as an air filter. The process that makes this possible is known as adsorption. Through the process, the tiny harmful particles stick to the outside structure of the charcoal.

The best attribute of bamboo charcoal is the fact that it boasts a high surface area which gives it the ability to trap VOCs. Additionally, this charcoal is pocket-friendly. All you need to do is buy it and place it inside your bedroom for roughly a month. Once a month lapses, remove and put them outside. Doing this clears their pores courtesy of the natural UV light.

6. Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is a great remover of memory foam smell. For impressive results, allow it to set through the night. Once it has done that, utilize a hand vacuum cleaner to remove it from the surface of your mattress. A soft brush attachment of the traditional vac cleaner should also be handy. As you remove the baking soda, make sure you do it keenly and carefully in such a way that you do not leave any traces of it on your mattress.

Replicate the procedure on the undone part of your mattress. Doing so will go miles in ensuring you get rid of the odor on both sides of your mattress.

7. Consider Installing Special Air Filters

Different types of air filters are in the market today. Activated carbon air filters are the most ideal for this job. Place the air purifier inside your room and leave it to run for 2 – 3 days nonstop. As the toxic air passes, the purifier filters it thus getting rid of the offensive and unpleasant smell.

Other Ways To Get Rid of Odors

In addition to the above strategies that we have laid out above, employ these to combat memory foam smell:

  • Spray your mattress with enzyme spray – Although these sprays are tailored for nastier smells such as that of vomit and urine, they can be handy with memory foam smell too. All you need to do is spray your mattress with the enzyme spray, give it some time and repeat the process until you achieve the desired result.
  • Spray your mattress with vodka-water combination or vodka alone – Nothing beats vodka or its mixture in terms of odor removal. When choosing the vodka to use, opt for an unflavored version. Once you have it, put inside a spray bottle and do the necessary. Some people might not be comfortable with the use of 100% vodka. If you’re one of them, dilute vodka with some water and as the alcohol in the mixture evaporates, it’ll carry the awful odor with it.
  • Spray with vinegar or citrus – This is a good solution if you have used baking soda but continue smelling the odor. As the last option or resort, put some vinegar inside a spray bottle and then spray on the foam’s surface. Once you have sprayed it, give it ample time to completely dry. Just like you did with baking soda, use a vacuum to thoroughly remove all residue or traces that form on the foam. The smell should have disappeared.

Can memory foam make you sick?

Toxic chemicals in memory foam. Some memory foam mattresses contain toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene, and naphthalene. Memory foam may contain isocyanates, which, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin.

Why do Skechers smell?

The reason your shoes get so stinky is because the odor-causing bacteria that like to live on your feet spread to the inside of your shoes.

Can you wash memory foam toppers?

Memory foam mattress toppers and memory foam mattresses must always be cleaned by hand, because machine cleaning can destroy the memory foam. For simple cleaning, you need a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment, a gentle fabric cleaner, water, and a spray bottle.

How do you get the chemical smell out of a memory foam pillow?

Sprinkle baking soda
It works for an odorous memory foam pillow, topper, or mattress too. Simply sprinkle a bit directly onto your memory foam and let stand for a day or two. Then, give it a shake and vacuum off the remaining fine powder with the upholstery brush attachment. This should help minimize the smell.

Will memory foam smell go away?

How To Get Rid Of Memory Foam Smell. When you first unpackage your mattress or pillow, to your surprise you might find an overwhelmingly unpleasant chemical odor. The bad news is the smell may be with you for some time and can irritate some sleepers. The good news is the smell is harmless and eventually goes away.

China Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow Ice Silk Cooling Feel Cover Multi Color Pillow Different Smell Pillow - China Memory Foam Neck Pillow and Memory Foam Bed Pillow price

Why does my pillow smell?

Hand Washing Pillows
If you’re like us, you love a good memory foam pillow. Step 1: Remove your pillow from the protective cover and spot clean stains with a baking soda and water paste. If your pillow has a strong odor, spray a 50/50 vinegar and water mix to eliminate the smell.

What does memory foam smell like?

Memory foam is manufactured using polyurethane and several other chemicals, so it isn’t surprising that it emits a chemical odor. This “off gassing” of volatile organic compounds is a common and well-documented property of memory foam pillows and mattresses.

How long does off gassing last?

Chemical off-gas at different rates, but manufactured goods usually undergo their most noxious (and smelly) off-gassing for about a month after they’re produced. Still, some chemicals can emit VOCs for years. Carpeting, in particular, can off-gas for up to five years.

What happens if you don’t let memory foam air out?

If you only have a couple of hours, it is okay. In fact, sleeping on your new memory foam bed before 24 hours can speed up the process. Body heat can make the memory foam more pliable, making it expand faster. Only regular wear and tear from sleep can cause deficiencies in your mattress.

Is memory foam safe to sleep on?

Although concerns about household chemicals and toxic ingredients are valid, when it comes to today’s mattresses, they are largely unsubstantiated. There is no research available that says memory foam is unsafe, and authorities like the EPA and ACC concur that finished polyurethane foam is non-toxic.

Are Ikea memory foam mattresses toxic?

This problem can emerge in any of the mattress brands because they use harmful chemicals in memory foam mattresses. Perhaps seemingly trying to kill, IKEA mattress is said carcinogenic, the end results can be dangerous if you continue using the same mattress over the years.

Can your mattress make you sick?

(CNN) Ah, your bed. But what’s inside your bed may be making you sick, not safe. There’s a multitude of contaminants — bacteria, fungi and allergens — that you can’t see but studies show are there. When you move around as you sleep, you kick them up until the air and breathe them in.

What does off gassing smell like?

So much like you can smell the car, you might be able to smell an odor when a new item is brought into your home. There is not one specific type of odor that you might recognize from off gassing chemicals. Odors range from sweet or metallic, to earthy or chemical-like.

What is the safest mattress topper?

9 Best Organic, Eco-Friendly and Natural Mattress Toppers

  • Birch. Birch Plush Pillow Top Mattress Topper.
  • Avocado Mattress. Avocado Green Natural Latex Mattress Topper.
  • Plush Beds. Plush Beds Natural Luxury Handmade Wool Topper.
  • Latex For Less. Latex For Less Nautral Latex Mattress Topper.
  • Brentwood Home.
  • Keetsa.
  • PangeaBed.
  • Sleep On Latex.

How toxic are mattresses?

Chemical Off-Gassing
Flame retardants, formaldehyde, and benzene have been found in some mattresses and can be linked to health issues such as cancer, infertility, and developmental brain disorders. If your mattress is off-gassing harmful chemicals, you’re breathing in those toxins for hours every night.

Is memory foam smell toxic?

The short answer is no. While the odor from mattress off-gassing is unpleasant,for most people it’s not harmful. Also, despite the fact that some of the chemicals that cause mattress off-gassing odors are classified as carcinogens or potential carcinogens, no studies have shown memory foam is toxic or causes cancer.

Are bamboo pillows toxic?

Bamboo pillows contain minimal bamboo.
Most primarily contain memory foam, a toxic material that is known for retaining your body heat, leading to a hot and uncomfortable sleep.

Final Thoughts on How to Get the Smell Out of a Memory Foam Pillow

You should always take good care of yourself since no one is responsible for it. Our pillows must be treated as part of our body as well. That way, you can make sure that it is also safe and will be free from any diseases that could harm us. So, in essence, how you treat your pillow shows how you take good care of yourself.

How to get the smell out of a memory pillow is simple and easy if you follow these basic steps. Remember, following safety precautions can promote your health, thus avoiding your chances of becoming ill from such things such as bad odors.