ErrorException Message: WP_Translation_Controller::load_file(): Argument #2 ($textdomain) must be of type string, null given, called in /home3/safesle1/public_html/wp-includes/l10n.php on line 838 How To Fix A Memory Foam Pillow That’s Not Expanding 🛏️ - Safe Sleep Systems

How To Fix A Memory Foam Pillow That’s Not Expanding 🛏️

Over the last few years, memory foam has become an increasingly popular material for mattresses and pillows. It’s soft and conforms to your body, and no matter how much pressure you put on it, it always bounces back. However, memory foam sometimes has difficulty expanding to its fullest form, leaving people stumped about what they can do to make their pillows plush again. 

Here’s how to fix a memory foam pillow that’s not expanding:

  1. Be patient with your pillow.
  2. Heat your pillow.
  3. Fluff your pillow.
  4. Wash your pillow.
  5. Cool your pillow.

Read on to learn more about memory foam and discover ways to fix your pillow if it is not expanding. I’ll walk you through the steps and answer some questions you might have about this fantastic foam!

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Be Patient With Your Pillow

Memory foam is often vacuum-sealed for shipping to make life easier for everyone involved and protect the pillow or mattress. Since memory foam can be bulky and heavy but is easy to compress, most manufacturers will suck all of the air out of the pillow, reducing its size and weight significantly. 

If you’ve just received your memory foam pillow in the mail or if it came in a box, you should expect it to take some time to rise after you open it up. This re-fluffing process can take several hours, and it may even take an entire day in some cases.

How long it takes for the foam to come back to life will depend on factors like the thickness of the foam and its temperature. If your memory foam pillow has just arrived or been compressed for a long time, the best thing you can do is put it in a warm room with good airflow. 

These conditions will help the pillow rise into shape the quickest. That’s because the warmth will soften up the pillow, and it will need to refill itself with air. However, if your pillow is brand-new and has not risen within 72 hours, it may be a good idea to contact the manufacturer’s customer service. 

Heat Your Pillow

One of the biggest complaints about memory foam is how it traps and retains body heat. Part of that is necessary because heat makes memory foam more moldable. The way that memory foam forms so perfectly around your body is because your body’s heat warms the foam around you, allowing the foam to soften. 

When memory foam is too cold, the viscoelasticity decreasesOpens in a new tab., and the foam becomes stiff and rigid. If you’re not able to wait for your new pillow to expand on its own, or if your pillow has been squished under your luggage in the trunk of your cold car, applying a little heat to it can help it return to shape faster.

Tossing your memory foam pillow into the dryer is the quickest way to do this. However, before you do, be sure to check the laundering instructions on your pillow because several factors may cause your pillow to be unsafe for the dryer. Different manufacturers may blend their polyurethane pillows with other chemicals that are not dryer-safe. 

Likewise, the pillow covering may not be able to go in the dryer. If your pillow is a blend of materials, like memory foam and cooling gel, the heat could melt the cooling gel, leaving you with a slimy pillow. 

Turn the dryer to its lowest heat setting and let it dry for 10-15 minutes. Any longer or hotter, and you risk damaging your pillow.

If a dryer is not an option because you can’t access one or your tag advises you not to, another option for heat is to use a hairdryer. 

A hairdryer will allow you to control the heat level so that the pillow does not get too hot. It also allows you to direct the heat to a specific area if your pillow is flat in the center where you lay your head.

Fluff Your Pillow

If your pillow is looking a little sad, or if it’s just not quite as full as you want it to be, you can try plumping it up. 

Fluffing can be especially effective if your pillow is shredded memory foam instead of a solid block. Moving the shredded foam around and allowing airflow can quickly revive your pillow. Pumping a memory foam pillow is a little more challenging than fluffing other types of pillows because of the firmness of the foam, but it’s not complicated.

To fluff a memory foam pillow:

  1. Start by laying the pillow down in front of you on a bed or table. Position it, so one of the narrow ends is facing you.
  2. Grasp the narrow end and shake the pillow a couple of times as if you were shaking out a rug or a blanket.
  3. Lay the pillow back down the same way you laid it down before. With your hands on either side, punch inward along the sides. You don’t need to hit hard, just enough to compress the foam inward.
  4. Turn the pillow so one of the long ends faces you and repeat the motion, punching up and down the sides. Continue on each side.
  5. With the narrow end of the pillow facing you again, lift the far end. Like the previous steps, use your fists to punch up on the underside. Go up and down the length of the pillow once or twice.
  6. Once more, punch up and down a few times along the long sides of the pillow.
  7. Grasp the narrow end and shake it out again.
  8. Repeat the steps, focusing on the areas that aren’t fluffing up as well as the rest of the pillow.

Clean Your Pillow

You may not want to hear this, but you have bugs in your bed. Most people doOpens in a new tab..

These bugs are called dust mites. They’re in the Arachnida class with spiders and ticks, but these guys are teeny tiny, and you can only see them under a microscope. 

Unlike many other arachnids, dust mites don’t bite or sting. Unfortunately, many people are allergic to them. An estimated 20 million peopleOpens in a new tab. in America are allergic to dust mites! If they’re in your bedding, it means you’re being exposed to that allergy the entire time you sleep.

Still, why do dust mites like pillows? Dust mites’ primary source of food is dead skin and dander. Since you spend so much time laying in one spot on your bed, your pillows, sheets, mattress, and other bedding items are the perfect feeding ground for dust mites. Still, memory foam is less susceptibleOpens in a new tab. to dust mites because the mites struggle to burrow through the thick foam. 

Dead skin also doesn’t build up as quickly because memory foam doesn’t have the open space that down or feather pillows have. However, eventually, dead skin, dander, sweat, and oils do build-up, which can cause your memory foam to become heavy and sag in the middle where you lay your head.

You should clean memory foam pillows roughly every two months, but how many of us remember to do that? If your memory foam pillow is looking worn, stained, saggy, or overall a little sad, it’s time for a deep clean. Here’s how:

  • Check the tag. The instructions below are basic memory foam cleaning instructions, but just like throwing them in the dryer, the ingredients in the foam and its cover may require extra care.
  • Find a sink or tub with enough room to wash your pillow. Fill it with enough lukewarm water to completely submerge your pillow, plus extra so it can absorb water.
  • Soak the pillow in soapy water. Add in a gentle detergent, something like Tide Free & Gentle Liquid Laundry Detergent, which is scent-free and dye-free and has over 14,000 reviews on Amazon.
Tide Free & Gentle Laundry Detergent Liquid Soap, HE Compatible 64 Loads, 84 fl oz
  • Deeper clean that is gentle on skin vs. leading national competitor Free detergent
  • Dermatologist Recommended
  • Free of Dyes and Perfumes

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  • Press your pillow under the water, letting it absorb the soapy water. Squeeze it a few times to help the soap get as deep into the pillow as possible. Repeat two or three times to ensure the whole thing is saturated with soapy water.
  • Drain out the soapy– and now dirty– water, and replace it with clean water with no soap. Like in the previous step, let the pillow absorb the clean water and squeeze to let the clean water penetrate deep and remove the dirt, oils, and soap. Repeat until the water runs clear. You may need to empty the dirty water and replace it with more clean water several times.
  • Once the water runs clear, remove the pillow and gently squeeze the water out. You want to remove as much as possible while continuing to be gentle. Twisting or trying to wring it out will damage the foam.
  • Let the pillow air dry. Do not put it in the dryer when it’s wet. Setting the pillow in the sunlight or placing it in front of or below a fan will help it dry faster and more completely.

Ridding your pillow of all the oil, sweat, skin, dust, and dust mites that accumulate over time can be a great way to freshen and revive your pillow. Even if your memory foam isn’t flat or sagging, it’s something that should be done periodically for your health and to help your pillow last longer.

Cool Your Pillow

This step may sound confusing since the second tip was to heat your pillow but stick with me on this. If memory foam is too cold, it can’t expand because heat makes it more moldable. 

However, if your pillow is too warm, it could have trouble springing back into shape. You might see this sometimes when you wake up after a hot night. The heat of the air coupled with your body heatOpens in a new tab. can leave a soft, sagging spot in the center of your pillow. 

If you’ve woken up on a hot, humid morning and your pillow is refusing to rise back into place, try cooling it down. Try putting it in a cooler room. Placing your pillow near a fan or air conditioning vent is another option, and this can help wick away sweat and moisture as well.

How To Take Care of Your Memory Foam Pillow

People like memory foam pillows so much because they don’t go flat like down or polyester. However, they still fall victim to time, and you should change your memory foam pillow every 18-36 months. 

Not many people follow that piece of advice since pillows can be pricey, so if you don’t want to keep replacing yours, keeping them in the best shape possible is your best option. 

So, to help extend the life of your pillow, there are several things you can do:

  • Protect your pillow. Most memory foam comes encased in some kind of cover, but you should still always put a pillowcase over it. Pillow protectors can keep out bedbugs, dust mites, and allergens. Waterproof ones are even better, as they protect from spills, sweat, and oils. This pack of Everlasting Comfort Waterproof Pillow Protectors on Amazon saves your pillow from liquids and oils and keeps out dust and bugs. 
Premium Waterproof Pillow Protectors Standard Size, 2-Pack - Zippered Design Prevents Bedbugs, Dust... Opens in a new tab.
  • 100% WATERPROOF PILLOW PROTECTORS: Our standard pillow protectors are 100 percent waterproof,...
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  • ZIPPERED FOR COMPLETE ENCASEMENT & PROTECTION: Our zippered pillow protector uses strong and durable...

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  • Clean up spills immediately. If you don’t put a waterproof pillow cover on your pillow, you’ll need to clean up spills before they soak into the memory foam. Start by stripping off any covering, such as the pillowcase. Take a towel and blot up as much of the liquid as you can. Mix a little dish soap with some water and gently rub at the spill with a cloth or sponge until the liquid is gone.
  • Remove stains. If your memory foam has oil or sweat stains, removing them will help keep your pillow fresh. Apply some hydrogen peroxide to the stain, and once the peroxide stops bubbling, spray with water. Rub at the stain with a toothbrush or cloth. For more difficult stains, allow the hydrogen peroxide to sit overnight.
  • Deodorize your pillow. Pillow protectors help by keeping out odors, but over time, even with a protector, your pillow can start to smell stale or sour. Sprinkle some baking soda over your pillow and let it sit for about two or three hours in the sun if possible. Vacuum up the baking soda for a refreshed pillow.
  • Wash your pillow every few months. I mentioned above that it’s advisable to wash your pillow every few months, even if it’s not sagging. Doing so helps get out any dirt or grime that’s made its way deeper into your pillow.
  • Freshen your pillow often. Dust mites struggle to penetrate thick memory foam, but they can still live on top of it. Vacuum your pillow about once a week to remove anything on the surface. As mentioned in the tip above, you can use a little baking soda to keep your pillow odor-free. Just don’t forget to vacuum it up!
  • Don’t be too rough with your memory foam pillow. The foam can rip if you are too harsh on it, which will affect the viscoelasticity and can cause the pillow to start to crumble.

Memory foam lasts much longer than most other types of pillow fillings, and it takes much longer to go flat. If you take good care of your pillow, it could last as long as three years. 

However, if the memory foam inside your pillow becomes crumblyOpens in a new tab., loses its shape, or does not dry appropriately after becoming waterlogged, it’s time to get a new pillow.

What Is Memory Foam Made Of?

Now that you know how to fix up a stuck memory foam pillow, you might be wondering how it just keeps bouncing back from all that pressure. Memory foam is a flexible rubber-like material, but somehow, it is soft enough to use as a pillow. So, how does it do that?

Memory foam is made primarily of a plastic polymer called polyurethane. NASA initially created it in the ’60s for shock absorption on space shuttles. In the ’90s, TempurPedic co-opted memory foam for use in mattresses and pillows.

The key to memory foam’s shock-absorbing, the body-molding ability is its viscoelasticityOpens in a new tab.. That essentially means that the memory foam takes a long time to transfer movement, and it will return to its original shape. 

How long this takes depends on the size of the pores in the foam. Smaller pores reduce airflow, leading to a firmer memory foam mattress or pillow.


Memory foam pillows and mattresses are popular because of memory foam’s viscoelasticity. 

However, it takes some time for the memory foam to rise again if it’s been compressed or too cold for a while. Usually, being patient, applying heat, or fluffing your pillow will help it expand again. 

Keeping your memory foam pillow in a protective cover will help prevent dust, dust mites, and oils from weighing down your pillow. Taking good care of your memory foam pillow, including using a pillow protector and cleaning it regularly, will allow you to take advantage of the entire lifespan of your pillow. 


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