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Memory Foam Pillow Allergy Symptoms And How to Deal With Them

Memory Foam Pillow Allergy Symptoms And How to Deal With Them

Do you always find yourself sneezing, blowing your nose, and coughing when you hit your bed each night? If yes, well, it seems like you are suffering from allergies.

You look around your room, and you see that your memory foam pillows and mattress may be the culprit for your nighttime sneezing. You might be wondering what the allergy symptoms caused by memory foam pillows.

If ever you are suffering from memory foam pillow allergies, here are some of the tell-tale signs and symptoms you should look for. If you experience nighttime coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, watery eyes, and skin rashes; you may seek your doctor to confirm what is causing your allergies and to get a proper pillow recommendation.

Another concern arising with the use of memory foam pillows is the so-called off-gassing. Memory foam pillows are known to have this phenomenon, especially when your memory foam pillows are new.

This is due to the chemicals present in the foam that may break down and spread out in the air. Fortunately, this odor from your memory foam pillow will disappear within a couple of weeks, but you can air them outdoor to speed the dissipation of the odor.

So, you can see below are some ways on how to make your sleeping environment free from allergies.

Tips To Create An Allergy-Free Bedroom

Your bedroom probably is one of your favorite areas of your house. That is why you do all the possible ways on how to make it comfortable and engaging to have a good night's sleep every night.

Before we move on, you should know first the common causes of allergies that can be found in your room, and here are just some:

  • Bed bugs
  • Dust mites
  • Pets
  • Harsh chemicals
  • Molds and mildew

In addition to making your room comfortable, you may also consider making it free from allergies by doing these simple tips:

Wash your pillow covers in warm water once a week

Although dust mites love to live in a warm environment, these tiny species cannot survive in a warm temperature above 60 degrees Celsius. Well, in order to get rid of these dust mites, consider washing your pillows in warm water once a week.

You can check my previous blog post on how to wash pillow cover efficiently.

Invest in washable mattress covers

Using mattress covers will create another layer of protection for your mattress against dust mites and bacteria; therefore, cleaning your mattress covers regularly will help reduce the risk for certain allergens harboring on your pillow.

To make this more compliable, consider investing in washable mattress covers so that you can just toss them inside your washer to make them clean.

Grab your vacuum cleaner

Make it a habit of vacuuming some of your household furnishings such as your bedroom carpet and curtains since dust mites and bacteria love living in these kinds of places. Vacuum at least twice a week to get rid of these certain types of allergens and stop them from spreading.

Tip: Make sure to cover your nose and mouth with a face mask so that you can avoid inhaling the air filled with dust from vacuuming.

Consider using dehumidifier

Dust mites and bed bugs love living in a humid kind of the environment; therefore, you consider using a dehumidifier to lessen the humidity in your room, making it less hospitable for them.

You may also consider getting a HEPA Air Cleaner for your bedroom to trap and filter the air around your room. Do not forget to change the filter every three months to keep the air clean and fresh.

Keep your windows closed

I know it is very tempting to open your windows, especially during hot summer days. However, doing this allows pollen to get into your room and settle down on your carpet and your mattress. Therefore, keep your windows down to avoid allergies from pollen.

Invest in hypoallergenic pillows

To maximize your sleep, consider shifting into hypoallergenic pillows such as down alternative, cotton, buckwheat hulls, feather, or other pillows with natural stuffing.

Pillows made from natural fibers have a lesser risk of growing these allergens since they contain materials, which can naturally deter certain types of allergens settling on your pillows.

Do not allow pets to go into your bedroom

cat sitting on bed

I know as a fur parent, we love to sleep with our dogs and cats; unfortunately, our fur babies can trigger allergies.

Do you want to know how? Well, because of their dead skin cells that can settle into dust and air, which can trigger allergy symptoms. You may also get an allergy skin test to check whether your pets trigger your allergies. Hence, to put you in ease, you must make your bedroom a pet-free zone.

Are Memory Foam Pillows Toxic?

Most of us complain about the smell of our memory foam pillows. There are reported incidence of headaches, allergic reactions, and nausea that results from the odor released by memory foam pillows.

This usually happens when the pillows are new and elicit a strong smell that can last for weeks. That is why it is recommended to avoid sleeping on your pillow during the initial phase of the off-gassing period. Some people advise to air out and fluff the pillows outdoor to speed up the off-gassing phase.

If you are wondering if memory foam pillows are toxic, well, there are certain reports that show these pillows contain carcinogenic chemicals and formaldehyde, which is very toxic and dangerous for people. Some people are also allergic to polyurethane, which is the main component of every memory foam pillow.

Thus, you may check with the memory foam pillow manufacturer about the process and the quality of chemicals used in order to produce pillows, as this can give you an assurance that the memory foam pillows you will buy are made from high-quality materials, which is proven safe for users.

Here are some toxic chemicals used in making memory foam pillows.

Chemicals Description
Formaldehyde Most of the household product contains this chemical, which is a by-product from the combustion of burning fuel and cigarette smoke.
This is a toxic chemical that can cause diseases when it comes in contact with: depression, headache, insomnia, digestive problem, respiratory failure, and some neurological disorders.
Isocyanates This chemical can cause irritation to your eyes, nose, and throat.
They are usually used in combination with polyurethane polymers to make products such as insulation materials, car seats, foam mattresses, surface coatings, carpet padding, and other household products.
Polyurethane This is the flame retardant chemical used to make a memory foam pillow.
This toxic chemical can cause heart problems, obesity, and brain disorders.

If you are used to sleeping with memory foam pillows and do not want to shift to organic pillows, a piece of advice is to buy quality and certified memory foam pillow to ensure the safety, quality, and the non-toxicity of the pillow.

Here are some of the best memory foam pillows you can buy on Amazon that are certified by GOTS.

How to lessen the smell of memory foam pillow

One of the major downsides of memory foam pillows is the off-gassing, in which the foam excrete strong odor that may be bothersome, especially when you sleep on it at night.

This is because the foam is treated with a flame retardant to comply with the federal standard in regards to the mattress flammability. What is good about this is that the smell does not last long forever.

Instead, it dissipates within a couple of weeks. However, there are some helpful tactics to hasten the disappearance of smell more quickly.

Air out the memory foam pillows

Uncover your new memory foam pillow from its plastic packaging and give it a good shake. Place your pillows outdoor for at least four hours on a dry and humid day. Avoid placing it directly under the sun.

If you cannot take the memory foam outside, you can just air it out on your room with windows wide open and then turn on your electric fan to draw air out of the room.

Note: The longer the memory foam pillow airs out, the lesser you will notice the odor.

De-fume memory foam using baking soda solution

This is just the continuation of the above step. After you have aired out the memory foam pillow, sprinkle baking soda all over the surface of the memory foam pillow and allow it to sit for an hour.

Once one hour has passed, you can now dust it off using the upholstery brush attachment of the vacuum.

Use white vinegar as a room refresher

A newly-bought memory foam pillows can make the entire room smell for a couple of weeks. Well, no worries, about this odor, since white vinegar has got our back, to help remove the strong odor in the room.

While you are away, make sure to place the white vinegar in your room (as this can absorb off-gasses and airborne odors) and then discard the vinegar before you go to bed.

Fact: White vinegar acts as a natural deodorizer.

Maintain its cleanliness and freshness

Keep your memory foam pillow from smelling it fresh by letting it air out first before you wash the pillow. Remove all the pillowcases and covers and let the pillows breathe to expel out the smell.

If your room has a  ceiling fan, turn it on and set it to "high-speed" to dry out any dampness and moisture trapped inside the memory foam pillow.

Once the pillow is completely dry, sprinkle baking soda all over the surface of the pillow and let it sit for an hour. Vacuum away the baking soda powder using the upholstery brush attachment

When To Replace Memory Foam Pillows

blowing nose kleenex

The lifespan of your pillow will depend on the filling material used. For example, natural pillows made with feathers or down has an average lifespan from five to seven years when handled with care, while synthetic pads typically last for not more than three years.

There is no scientific basis when you will consider a pillow as "dead"; therefore, the decision to replace the pillow is a personal choice.

For memory foam pillows, in most cases, to check if there is a need to replace the memory foam pillows is by doing the fold-over test, wherein you just simply fold the pillow and see whether it goes back to its original shape instantly.

For natural pillows such as feather and down fill, they need to be tossed right away and if the pillow has not come back to its original shape after putting into pressure; therefore, say goodbye to your memory foam pillow.

Here are some tips and facts to know when is the right time to replace your memory foam pillow:

  1. If your memory foam pillow takes time to return to its original shape after folding, then its time to get a new memory foam pillow.
  2. Consider looking at the elasticity and temperature-sensitivity factor of your memory foam pillow as a guide when you need to check if you need to replace it. Temperature sensitivity is also affected with time; hence, it is a perfect reminder for you to replace your memory foam pillows.
  3. Memory foam pillows will lose their shape and other features over time with use.
  4. When your pillow is no longer adjusting on your body contour and does not absorb much heat on your body and surrounding, therefore, you need to replace it with a new memory foam pillow.
  5. Some memory foam pillows last longer than their average lifespan; however, those memory foam pillows are made from high-grade raw materials, and they are expensive.

If ever you have come across some of the signs that you need to replace your memory foam pillows, you may consider shifting into organic and natural pillows. You may continue reading below to know some of the best and recommended alternatives for memory foam pillows.

The Natural Alternative To Memory Foam Pillows

Due to reported allergies and toxic chemicals of memory foam pillows, you may also consider shifting to something that is natural and organic.

If you are searching for the best organic and natural alternative for your memory foam pillows, well, no worries, I got your back since I have here the list of the best natural pillows that are hypoallergenic for sleepers sensitive to memory foam and they are filled with natural stuffing.

Hence, you must know first what are the reasons why you should skip conventional pillows. Of course, most of all, conventional are made with synthetic chemicals that are extremely harmful to every sleeper, especially with memory foam pillows wherein it gives off volatile organic compounds that may cause eyes, nose, and throat irritation.

Aside from the health hazards, conventional pillows may put a toxic load to the environment, since it can pollute the air due to the volatile compounds used in making the pillows.

Therefore, here are the organic fillings you should look for when shifting to a new pillow.

Organic Cotton

Make sure that the pillow is certified with the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) to ensure that the pillow is made with a hundred percent pure cotton. Though cotton is a firm, it may not be the firmest. It is more on a medium-firm type of pillow.


  • Free from synthetic materials
  • Hypoallergenic
  • They are breathable


  • Tend to fluff, flat, and harden over time
  • Holds a lot of moisture

Best organic pillows on Amazon

Organic Wool

What is good about this type of organic filling material is that it is naturally pest and flame resistant. It can also inhibit the growth of bacteria and molds, which is perfect for people with sensitive skin.

It can be both good to use during summer and winter season, because of the insulative properties of wool. However, some people are allergic to wool; therefore, make sure to check you are not belong to this population.


  • They are naturally hypoallergenic
  • It has a good airflow property, which is a perfect choice for hot sleepers who always sweat at night
  • Natural insulator


  • They tend to flatten over time that is why they need to be fluffed regularly

Best organic wool pillows on Amazon

Organic Buckwheat

This type of pillow is made from buckwheat hulls that offer great support for your head and neck. In addition, these pillows offer a great circulation of air, which helps you stay cool at night. Just like organic wool, these pillows are also pest resistant.


  • They are natural, renewable, and long-lasting
  • Provide excellent support for the head, neck, and back
  • They are cool and breathable


  • They are heavier than most pillows
  • They do not return to their original shape

Best organic buckwheat pillows on Amazon

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay, freestocks-photos from Pixabay, Luisella Planeta Leoni from Pixabay

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