What To Do When Your Memory Foam Smells Bad

by Mary Lou | Last Updated: May 18, 2017 When you buy something using the links on our posts, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

So your memory foam smells bad. My condolences. I was a memory foam pillow virgin when I first bought mine and had never heard of the words “off-gassing”. I nearly went out of my mind when my odorous new pillow wouldn’t become odorless!

I’ve learned from my mistakes since then and I’m here to give you some tips on how to deal with smelly memory foam.

But first…

Why does memory foam smell so bad?

Memory foam was created by NASA’s research center as far back as 1966. It was initially developed to improve airplane cushions. It’s made from polyurethane plus other chemicals. Some products are also treated with flame retardants to comply with safety standards.

As a result, these compounds escape from the foam or “off gas”. The smell has been compared to a newly painted room and dissipates with time.

Depending on the item and brand, off-gassing may take a few days to a few weeks. There are, however, some tactics you can employ to make the smell disappear faster.

Tips to Remove Smell from New Memory Foam

Air your memory foam

The smell will be strongest when you first take it out of its plastic and packaging. I aired mine out in an enclosed room. Stupid right? Instead of just having an odorous pillow, I ended up having an entire room smelling of chemicals and paint.

At the least, let your memory foam air in a well-ventilated room. Open doors and windows to let the air in. You can lean your memory foam against a window and then change the sides facing it periodically.

Sunlight helps

Weather-permitting, leave it out on your porch on a dry day. Remember though that memory foam doesn’t take well to extreme heat so put it under shade if the sun is hellish. If you’re not sure if it will rain later in the day, be sure to have a roof over it.

airing out a memory foam pillow

Sprinkle baking soda

I am such a fan of 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.

Cheat with fabric spray

If you’ve Febreze or some similar fabric deodorizer at home, spray it on lightly to your memory foam.

Or use an organic citrus cleaner spray

Philip calls me a hipster because everything at our house has to be organic. I make my own cleaner slash deodorizing spray and it should work great with memory pillows as well as the commercial brands.

All-Natural Air Freshener {3 INGREDIENT DIY!)

Try an air purifier with a washable filter

Air purifiers use advanced HEPA technology to remove a wide range of air pollutants. Think about choosing an air purifier and humidifier combo unit for best results.

What you should never do to your memory foam

Memory foam has two natural enemies — liquid and heat. Here are some things you should never subject your memory foam to:

Author: Mary Lou
In the Before Times, Maru spent vacations traveling and making stops at showrooms to test the latest massage chair models. Nowadays, she’s hunkered down in her small sunlit home dotted with her ever-growing collection of fiddle fig trees, indoor plants, and Himalayan salt lamps. Find her at LinkedIn.