I BOUGHT A MEMORY FOAM PILLOW AND IT DIDN’T EXPAND. WHAT CAN I DO?
NOTE: This page provides instructions about how to expand any memory foam pillow. This is not specific to Bluewave Bedding products.
In 2018, we made a batch of pillows that had did not immediately expand after unpacking. While we have since fixed this problem, we learned quite a bit from the experience. Turns out, it’s a fairly common occurance, and we thought we would share some tips and tricks for anyone who has purchased a memory foam pillow from ANY vendor that did not expand right out of the box.
Immediately After Unpacking
Does your pillow look really flat and lumpy after unpacking? Is there very little or no expansion occurring? Let’s get started.
If your pillow has an outer cover AND an inner cover, remove the outer cover first. If the pillow only has one cover, LEAVE IT ON. Do not perform any of these steps on an exposed memory foam core.
STEP 1: Please the pillow in a clothes dryer. Tumble the pillow in medium heat for 20-30 minutes.
STEP 2: While the pillow is still warm, compress and decompress any sections that have not fully expanded. Squeeze and let go. Squeeze and let go. This will help loosen stuck memory foam bonds. You can even take it a step farther and walk back and forth over the pillow (wear socks!).
STEP 3: Repeat Step 1. You’ve loosened the bonds a bit, now give it a bit more heat and movement in the dryer.
Does your pillow look something like this after unpacking? Yikes.
AFTER COMPLETING STEPS 1, 2, and 3, lay pillow on a flat surface and wait 24 hours.
24 Hours Later. It Still Hasn’t Expanded. Now What?
We recommend repeating Steps 1 through 3 before moving on to more drastic measures.
The pillow in this picture was run through the dryer and did not fully expand. All hope is not lost, but the foam bonds need to be further loosened. This can be accomplished by applying 1) heat and 2) pressure.
Most of us have a perfect tool in the house to do just that: a common clothes iron or steamer.
Using a Handheld Clothes Iron to Expand Memory Foam
First and most obvious here: don’t burn yourself and don’t start a fire. DO NOT PLACE A HOT CLOTHES IRON DIRECTLY ON THE MEMORY FOAM CORE. There must be fabric in between the hot iron and the memory foam.
We advise starting at 50% of max heat. The “wool” setting will work.
Use a maximum steam setting if available. It will force the heat deeper into the memory foam and cause faster expansion.
Apply Heat and Pressure
Lay the pillow flat on the floor. For additional protection, lay a bath towel down first.
As seen in the first video, apply the iron to depressed sections of the pillow. Move slowly back and forth while applying maximum pressure to compress the foam. This helps drive the heat deep into the foam to loosen the bonds. If available, apply steam liberally.
Lay a towel over the foam to protect your hand from the heat) and as seen in the second video, repeatedly punch/squeeze/release the foam. This will cause any stuck foam bonds to break free allowing the foam to expand properly.
Now wait 24 hours for foam to cool and continue expansion.
Repeat Until Expanded
Repeat all of the steps on this page if necessary until the memory foam pillow has completely expanded.
You may be asking yourself: why would I ever go through all of this effort to expand a memory foam pillow?
Truth is, if you purchased a pillow that didn’t fully expand, chances are an identical replacement pillow is going to have the same problem. Sometimes a memory foam pillow may feel perfect except for some expansion defects. It may be worth fixing.