If you suffer from indoor allergies, you know that finding the right pillow is crucial for getting a good night’s sleep. There are tons of pillows on the market advertised as hypoallergenic, so you may be wondering if memory foam pillows also fit that bill.
In this article, we will explore how hypoallergenic memory foam pillows really are and give you some tips on how to find the best pillow for your needs.
So, are memory foam pillows hypoallergenic?
While memory foam is not natural by any stretch of the word—no matter what the label says— it is naturally hypoallergenic. That means the material itself is resistant to mold, mildew, and by extension, dust mites. These are all common allergens that can cause congestion, sneezing, and general discomfort.
So if you are someone who is allergic to these things, a memory foam pillow may be a good option for you. If you already use a memory foam pillow and are still experiencing symptoms of indoor allergies, it could be due to something else present in the room (your bedding, mattress, etc.), or your pillow may actually be the culprit.
Can Memory Foam Pillows Cause Allergies?
While memory foam pillows are naturally resistant to the buildup of bacteria that cause most indoor allergies, it is possible that you may be allergic to the material of the memory foam itself. Memory foam is made with various chemicals, and some people may have an allergic reaction to them.
There are three potential causes of allergic reactions to memory foam pillows, which include the smell, toxic materials in the filling, and allergen buildup on the surface.
How Smell Might Trigger Allergy Symptoms
Some people may find that the smell of memory foam triggers allergy symptoms. This is because memory foam is made from various chemicals and materials, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can release chemicals into the air.
This release is known as off-gassing. These chemicals can be irritating to the respiratory system and may cause sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and even nausea.
How Toxic Materials Can Cause Allergic Reactions
While not all memory foam pillows are made with latex, many of them are. If you are allergic to latex, whether synthetic or natural, you may experience an allergic reaction to a memory foam pillow.
The same goes for other materials used in memory foam, such as polyurethane. These materials can also contain VOCs, which can cause the same symptoms mentioned above.
Allergen Buildup on Memory Foam Pillows
Another potential cause of allergic reactions to memory foam pillows is allergen buildup on the surface. While memory foam is resistant to mold, mildew, and dust mites, it can still collect these allergens over time.
If you don’t wash your pillow regularly, these allergens can build up and cause symptoms to flare up. Washing your pillow frequently will help to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction.
What to Do if Your Memory Foam Pillow Is Causing Your Allergies
If you suspect that your memory foam pillow is causing your allergies, try removing it from your bed and see if your symptoms improve. If they do improve, it’s possible that your pillow is the culprit. But there are still things you can do before going out and purchasing a new pillow.
Try covering the pillow with an allergen-proof plastic pillowcase. This will help to trap the off-gassing VOCs and prevent your skin from coming into contact with any of the other materials that may trigger an allergic reaction.
The Best Way to Clean a Memory Foam Pillow
Memory foam pillows are becoming increasingly popular, but they can be tough to clean. Unlike traditional pillows, memory foam is not machine-washable and must be spot-cleaned to avoid damage.
The best way to clean a memory foam pillow is to remove the cover and spot-treat any stains with mild detergent. To prevent the pillow from becoming misshapen, be sure to fluff it after each use and allow it to air out regularly.
The best way to remove odor from your memory foam pillow is to sprinkle baking soda across the surface of the pillow. Allow it to sit for at least an hour in sunlight for the baking soda to absorb any foul odor that may be present.
After this period, use a handheld vacuum cleaner or handheld vacuum attachment to remove the baking soda from the surface. This will also remove any dust and other allergens that may be present. Just make sure that your vacuum is clean before using it on your pillow.
If you need to deep-clean your memory foam pillow, fill a bathtub with cold water and mix in a mild detergent. Submerge your pillow completely in the water and squeeze so that the soapy water is absorbed into the pillow.
Simply repeat this process until any stains have been removed. To ensure soap residue isn’t left behind, perform the same submerging and squeezing procedure in clean, soap-free water before drying.
Never dry a memory foam pillow in a dryer. Instead, gently squeeze it over the bathtub to remove most of the water before placing it on a clean towel. Then gently squeeze again into the clean towel several times, using the towel to absorb the excess moisture.
Finally, place the pillow on another clean, dry towel and leave it out to air dry for up to 24 hours. Make sure that it is in a dry, well-ventilated area and in sunlight if possible.
Are There Other Hypoallergenic Pillows I Can Try?
If you are still experiencing allergy flare-ups, don’t worry—there are other hypoallergenic pillows you can try. These alternatives include cotton, wool, and buckwheat hulls.
If you aren’t able to afford a new pillow just yet, you can opt for a hypoallergenic pillowcase made from materials designed to prevent odors from escaping and to keep dust mites out.
Check out: Recycling Foam Pillows
Memory foam pillows are naturally hypoallergenic; however, they may cause allergic reactions in some people. If you think your memory foam pillow is causing your allergies, try removing it from your bed and see if your symptoms improve.
You can also try washing the pillow or covering it with an allergen-proof plastic pillowcase. If you are still experiencing allergy flare-ups, there are other hypoallergenic pillows you can try. With a little trial and error, you can find the pillow that works best for you.