How to Clean Memory Foam Seat Cushions

You made the smart decision and invested in a memory foam seat cushion.

You did the research and realized that this material is the most comfortable type on the market. It's also heat-responsive, lightweight, and designed to conform to the exact contours of your body.

Especially if you suffer from sciatica, coccydynia, or any other type of chronic pain in your back, hips, or tailbone, you know that a premium seat cushion is important for consistent comfort. Yet, how can you keep yours in great shape?

It all starts with knowing how to clean foam cushions. 

Today, we're taking an in-depth look at how to get even the most stubborn stains, spills, and smells out of yours. With this guide, you'll be able to extend the life of your cushion and enjoy it for years to come!

The Importance of Planning Ahead

Before you gather your tools and start scrubbing away, it's important to allocate enough time to clean your memory foam cushions. 

As this material is super absorbent, it will take a few hours and even up to a day for it to dry out completely. While your schedule might be packed, resist the urge to speed up this process.


If you put the cover back on your foam cushion before it's totally dry, you could create a moist environment that encourages the growth of mold, mildew, and other microorganisms. Not only is this growth unsafe and unsightly, but it also emits a distinctive stench!

It's best to wait until the entire cushion needs cleaning before attempting this process. That said, what should you do if you only have a little spot to clean up? Let's take a look at the steps to follow.

Spot-Treating a Memory Foam Cushion

If you only need to spot-treat your cushion, you can save time and energy by focusing on that one section.

Blotting the Stain

If the stain is brand-new, go ahead and blot out as much of the liquid or stain as you can with a paper towel. Press firmly and repeat often, re-folding the paper towel as you go to make sure you're always using a clean surface.

If you're looking for a quicker fix, you can always use a more absorbent cloth, such as one made from microfiber. Some experts even recommend laying a baby diaper across the surface, as it contains powerful, absorbent flakes that practically vanish liquids on the spot!

If the spot is older, dampen your paper towel a little before blotting the spot.

Applying Spot Cleaner

Next, grab a bottle of your favorite all-purpose spot cleaner or upholstery shampoo. If you'd like a greener and more eco-friendly solution, you can follow these steps to make your own homemade cleaner!

Then, spray a little of the cleaner directly onto the blotted stain.

Remember: A little goes a long way in this instance, so don't douse it! If the stain has soaked deeply into the foam, you will need to use a little more spray, but surface-level stains don't require much at all.

Apply a little pressure to the damp spot to distribute the liquid throughout the foam.

Drying the Foam

Now, you'll need to allow the foam to air dry. As noted, this can take several days, but it should be completely dry before you proceed to the next step.

If you need to quicken the drying time, you can point a fan in the direction of the cushion. While this can help in a pinch, it's not recommended for frequent use. The ingredients in the spot cleaner need time to activate, and rushing the process can limit their effectiveness. 

Did the cleaner leave a little residue after it dried? If so, you can use a handheld vacuum to get up any debris.

Note that if the stain is from urine or any other foul-smelling liquid, you might find that the odor remains, even when the spot is gone. In this case, you can sprinkle a little baking soda in that area to help freshen it up! Let the baking soda sit for a few hours, and then vacuum the spot again.

How to Clean Foam Cushions Entirely

It's helpful to know a few spot-treating tricks. Yet, when you really want to learn how to clean chair cushions made with memory foam, you need a more comprehensive overview.

Now, let's review the steps to take when you've set aside a few hours and you're ready to really deep-clean your favorite accessory.

the pillow is in the bathroom

Gathering Your Tools

No one likes to break concentration when they're in the cleaning zone! Make sure you have everything you need on hand before you start the deep-cleaning process. Here are the tools of the trade:

  • Your form cushion
  • The cover of the cushion
  • Warm and cool water
  • A large enough sink or basin to submerge your cushion
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Several clean towels

Step 1: Remove the Cushion Cover

This is when it pays to invest in a high-quality cushion that comes with a removable, washable cover. Our Memory Foam Seat and Back Cushion is a prime example.

The cover on this cushion zips right off and goes effortlessly into the washing machine. As such, if you're only dealing with a surface-level stain that impacted the cover of your cushion, you can stop reading here! A machine rinse in cold water might be all you need to get the job done.

If you cannot remove the cover on your cushion, read the tag. Most will have cleaning instructions. Here, you can find out if it's safe to wash your entire cushion.

Whichever route you take, remember to never put your memory foam cushion in the washing machine or dryer. The central agitator on the washing machine can damage or tear the foam, as can heat from the dryer.

Step 2: Vacuum the Foam

Did you find a little debris on the memory foam itself after removing the cover? If so, you can use a small, handheld vacuum to get it up. 

This way, the surface of the foam will be mess-free as you start to work out the stain at hand.

Step 3: Prepare Your Water

What should you do if your entire foam seat cushion needs to be removed?

First, fill up a basin with enough warm water to fully submerge the cushion. If it's a personal seat cushion, a deep laundry room sink should be fine. Otherwise, you can fill up a bathtub for larger cushions, including sofa cushions. 

Keep the water temperature tepid and add a little laundry detergent. If the water is too hot, it will set the stain. Agitate the water to distribute the detergent evenly throughout.

Step 4: Briefly Submerge

Once the water is ready, place your seat cushion into the basin. Then, press it down gently to fully submerge it.

Flipping the cushion back and forth repeatedly, continue to press it into the water. Over time, as it floats to the top and you keep pushing it down, you will create a light suction. This movement alone can help clean any stains or debris out from the inside of your cushion.

As the stain releases from the memory foam, you might find that your water is becoming dirty. If you continue this way, you'll start "washing" your cushion in murky water, worsening any stains that already exist.

Instead, take the five minutes required to drain the dirty water, refill the basin, and add more soap. 

Step 5: Rinse the Cushion

Once you feel that you've adequately removed the stain from your foam cushion, it's time to rinse it.

To do so, drain the basin to completely remove the soapy water. Then, refill the basin back up with clean, cool water. 

Using the same repetitive, back-and-forth motion, rinse the cushion until it no longer looks or feels soapy. If you're washing it in a sink or shower that has a detachable spray nozzle, you can use this to spray into and through the foam. 

As you rinse the cushion, try to knead it a little. This can help remove any excess suds and allow it to wash clean. The inside of the cushion is known to harbor excess detergent, so you might need to gently squeeze it a few times to get it all out. 

Step 6: Dry the Cushion

Once the foam cushion is rinsed, it's time to dry it!

Start by gathering a few clean towels. Wrap the towels around the cushion and squeeze gently to dry it. If it's heavy and still holding a ton of liquid, you might find it easier to lightly step on the cushion to encourage the water to flow out more easily.

Every time one towel becomes soaked, go ahead and swap it for a clean towel. This helps to quicken the drying process. If you have a wet vac, you can also use this device to extract the moisture from your cushion!

Once you believe you've physically extracted as much liquid as possible from the foam cushion, set your towels aside and take it outside to dry in the sun. While the outdoors is the best place to perform this step, you can also place the cushion in a warm, sunny spot indoors if required. 

Rather than lying your cushion directly on the ground, try to prop it up a little so it can dry at an angle. This way, the air can circulate around it better and it will dry more quickly. You can also place a humidifier near the cushion to help speed up the drying time.

Step 7: Test It Out

Before you put your seat cushion into regular rotation again, it's smart to test and make sure it's really dry.

To do so, place the cushion on top of a clean, dry paper towel and press down firmly. If the paper towel is even the slightest bit wet, you'll need to wait a little while longer before using the cushion again. Otherwise, you're good to go!

Extra Tips for Cleaning Foam

The above steps can help you remove almost any spot from your memory foam cushions. Along the way, there are several more tips and tricks to keep in mind. Let's check out a few of the most helpful pieces of advice.

soaped up girl

Tips for Lingering Odors

What happens if you go to all the trouble to thoroughly wash your cushions, but a smell still remains over the entire surface? As mentioned in the spot treatment process, you can sprinkle a little baking soda over your cushion!

Let the cushion dry in the sun to make it even fresher, and vacuum up any leftover debris.

Tips for Extending Cleanliness

Deep cleaning your cushions isn't a five-minute process. As such, it makes sense to maximize your efforts as much as possible.

Before replacing the upholstery cover on your cushion, put the foam in a plastic cover. You can often find commercial covers made specifically for this purpose, or you can make your own by retrofitting a small trash bag.

Tips for Handing Your Cushion

You can gently knead the foam to remove excess water. Still, remember to never squeeze it too tightly or wring it dry. Doing so can cause the foam to become permanently misshapen.

Tips for Choosing a Solution

When choosing a laundry detergent, look for the mildest one possible. Never use bleach or strong chemicals, as these can damage the foam and cause it to break down.

Enjoy Your Clean Cushions For Years

While it can be a commitment to learn how to clean foam cushions and do so regularly, the process is worth the effort.

Keeping these accessories clean, sanitary, and free of debris is critical to ensuring their longevity. After all, you invested in this resource to keep you comfortable for years to come, so it's important to make sure they're in top condition.

Looking for more memory foam products that can make work, play, and travel as enjoyable as possible? You've come to the right place! Feel free to shop our full selection of health and wellness gear designed with your comfort in mind.

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