Pillows aren't supposed to get wet. That's why you leave them on your bed, and it's also why you shouldn't take them out to the front room - even if a nap on the couch sounds absolutely amazing.
But once in a while, accidents do happen. Maybe you spilled your bedtime cup of water. Maybe the window got left open, letting in the rain. Or maybe you accidentally tossed your pillow into the washing machine, even though you're weren't supposed to. No matter how your memory foam pillow got wet, you need a way to dry it that won't damage that super-soft foam interior.
Steps to Dry a Memory Foam Pillow
The quicker you get to your memory foam pillow after it gets wet, the easier it will be to dry. When moisture is allowed to sit in memory foam, mold and bacteria can start to grow. That's why you should dry your pillow as soon as you notice that it's been exposed to water.
First, remove any pillowcases or covers that you're using. These can usually be cleaned normally in a standard washing machine. Once your pillow is free of extra fabric, you can dry it using the following steps.
1) Wring All Moisture Out of the Pillow
The first thing you should do is carry your damp pillow over to a sink or bathtub. Using both hands, gently squeeze the pillow until water starts to drip out.
Don't wring your pillow too hard, or you might permanently damage the structure. With that said, most memory foam pillows can handle a little twisting and pushing. As long as the foam expands back into place, you're safe to keep wringing the pillow out.
Just like getting water out of a sponge, you should apply pressure to every part of the pillow that feels moist or damp. You'll know you're done when you can't squeeze out even one more drop.
2) Pat the Pillow Dry with Towels
Now that the bulk of the moisture is gone, start gently fluffing your pillow and patting it with a towel. A normal bath towel or washcloth should be enough to soak up any water that might still remain.
Damp pillows won't expand properly, but you can still take this chance to smooth the surface. Identify lumps, and use your fingers to work them until they're the same texture as the rest of the pillow. Doing this now will help your pillow return to its normal shape as it dries.
3) Set the Pillow to Dry in the Sun
The best place to dry a memory foam pillow is in front of a sunny window. If you live somewhere with good weather, you can also dry placing your pillow outside to dry even faster.
The most important things your pillow needs are fresh air and exposure to the warmth of sunlight. Ultraviolet rays have been known to kill bacteria, so drying your pillow directly in the sun is a good way to prevent mold.
However, you should never place your pillow in front of a heating vent or another source of artificial warmth. Heat can melt memory foam faster than you think. If you wouldn't use a tactic to dry a nice pair of dress shoes, you definitely shouldn't use that method on a memory foam pillow.
4) Move Air Across the Pillow
If you need your pillow to dry faster, you can dry blowing cool air across the pillow's surface. This will help evaporate the moisture more quickly and may take an hour or two off your drying time.
A bedroom fan is a good choice for drying memory foam. Angle the airflow across the surface of the pillow, and make sure that the air is room temperature. Once again, never use any kind of heated air on memory foam; the last thing you want is a melted plastic mess.
5) Wait 12 to 24 Hours
Memory foam pillows take time to dry. Expect to have to wait at least a full day for your pillow to be fully dry again. You might be able to get this time as low as 12 hours, but you should still check for moisture before you try and use the pillow like normal.
The best way to tell if your pillow is dry is to press your hand into the surface. If you've cared for your pillow correctly, the texture will be smooth, and the pillow should expand like normal after you remove your hand. If it expands slowly, there could still be moisture weighing the foam down.
6) Fluff the Pillow
The final step to restoring your memory foam pillow is to fluff it gently. Use a hand to grab each side of the pillow; then, gently tug and push until the foam starts to expand. Pay special attention to areas that feel lumpy or which seem to have dried unevenly.
For the best results, you may want to fluff your pillow several times during the drying process. Always work gently; memory foam is more susceptible to tearing when it's wet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you put a memory foam pillow in the dryer?
You shouldn't put a memory foam pillow in a dryer unless the tag or packaging says otherwise. The heat from the dryer could easily melt the foam that makes your pillow so soft. If your dryer has a no-heat setting, you can try throwing the pillow in; just be aware that even a small amount of heat could permanently change your pillow's structure and texture.
Can you put a memory foam pillow in a washing machine?
Memory foam pillows should never go in the washing machine. Memory foam acts like a sponge, and that means that it will absorb as much water as possible. When you put them in washing machines, these pillows become completely waterlogged and may be completely destroyed.
Don't worry if you accidentally washed your memory foam pillow. Just wring it out over the sink as much as possible, pat it with a towel, and set it out in the sunshine to dry. In most cases, this will be enough to restore your fluffy pillow to its former glory.
How long does a memory foam pillow take to dry?
When they aren't waterlogged, memory foam pillows tend to dry in about 12 to 24 hours. You can speed up this time slightly by wringing out the pillow, patting it with a towel, and pointing a fan or other non-heated air source to move across the pillow's surface.
Can you save a shredded memory foam pillow?
Unfortunately, once the memory foam starts to fall apart, your pillow is essentially done for. You might be able to get a little more use out of the pillow by putting it inside a tight pillowcase. Remember to dry the pillow completely before doing this; you don't want to trap moisture in the pillowcase and invite mold.