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Memory Foam Off Gassing | Is it Bad for your Health?

Memory Foam Off Gassing | Is it Bad for your Health?
While memory foam provides great comfort, durability, and satisfaction, it goes through the off-gassing process when you first take it out of its package. During the off-gassing process, the memory foam releases a chemical odor that some people find unpleasant.


In this article, you’ll learn about the off gassing process of the memory foam and its health effects.

Why does Memory Foam Smell?

Other products such as new cars and fresh paint off-gas and release an odor. Freshly roasted coffee beans off gas for a week. So most of us are quite familiar with this process.

The off-gassing process is responsible for the smell emitted by new memory foam.

When volatile organic compounds (VOCs) break down, they release several gases, a process known as offgassing. Some foams contain volatile (unstable) compounds in forms including:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  • Benzene
  • Methylene chloride
  • Perfluorocarbons
  • Toluene

How Long does the Chemical Odor Last in a Memory Foam Product?

Premium quality memory foam products lose the chemical odor in a few hours or days, while the poor quality ones can take up to a month to lose the odor.

Each brand uses a unique blend of chemicals to form and enhance memory foam. So the time in which the odor disappears usually varies.

Is the off Gassing Process Toxic?

Generally, it isn’t. While the odor is unpleasant, it doesn’t harm your health in any manner. But a few people do report symptoms of allergies, such as throat irritation, headaches, etc.

These symptoms disappear when the off gassing process stops.

However, you can avoid all this by purchasing certified memory foam.

How to Avoid the off Gassing and Memory Ffoam Smell?

Certified memory foam is low in volatile inorganic compounds, decreasing the length and intensity of the off gassing process.

While several independent organizations certify polyurethane foam, none does so more independently and thoroughly than CertiPur-US.

What is a CertiPur-US Certification?

CertiPur-US analyzes the following to certify a polyurethane foam:

  • Content
  • Emissions
  • Durability

With a CertiPur-US certified memory foam, you can be sure that the product:

  • Contains negligible amounts of VOCs (volatile inorganic compounds)
  • Does not contain the following:
    • Heavy metals such as mercury and lead
    • PBDE flame retardants (considered carcinogenic)
    • Toxic chemicals such as Formaldehyde and CFCs
    • Phthalate softening agents
    • Ozone depleters

To ensure consumers of their safety, foams are tested in independent laboratories. CertiPur-US certification ensures that your memory foam product is safe for use.

Reduce the Duration of Memory Foam off Gassing Process

When you first take out your memory foam product from its package, it will emit a chemical odor. This is true for all memory foam products, including pillows and mattresses.

Let it off gas

After unboxing the product, leave it in a well-ventilated room for 1-3 days. If it’s a mattress, then leave it for 3-7 days. 

This enables the foam to breathe, reducing the duration of the off gassing process.

Deodorize Memory Foam

You can use baking soda to get rid of the memory foam smell. To do so, you can follow the steps provided below:

  1. Take the memory foam out of its cover.
  2. Sprinkle one side generously with baking soda.
  3. Let the memory foam dry out in the sun for 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Use a handheld vacuum cleaner to get rid of the baking soda.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

By simply deodorizing, you can get rid of the memory foam smell.

Is Memory Foam Flame Retardant?

No, it isn’t. But manufacturers add flame retardant chemicals to the foam, as it’s mandated by the law.

However, some flame retardant chemicals are carcinogenic, so using foams containing such chemicals can harm your health.

Therefore, you should purchase a CertiPur-US certified memory foam to avoid harmful chemicals.

CertiPur-US Certified Pillow

Our memory foam pillows are CertiPur-US certified. So they’re low in volatile inorganic compounds, and the odor is not only less but also disappears within hours to a day.

Further, you don’t have to worry about the carcinogenic chemicals because of the certification.

Our memory foam pillows meet the CertiPur-US standards for durability, emissions, and content. You can sleep without odor or the fear of carcinogenic chemicals on our CertiPur-US certified memory foam pillows.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why are memory foam pillows called hypoallergenic?
Ans. It’s because memory foam is a naturally hypoallergenic material. The foam is quite dense, making it impervious to dust. Because of a lack of dust and moisture on the inside, the foam stays free of both dust mites and molds, both of which are the main culprit behind allergies caused by traditional pillows.

Q. How long does a CertiPur-US certified memory foam pillow last?
Ans. As CertiPur-US checks the durability of the foam, you can rest assured that your product will last for a very long time.

Premium memory foam retains its original shape, meaning that even though it molds to the shape of your body, it regains its original shape when you get up.

A premium foam generally regains its shape faster than a low quality one.

Q. Do memory foam pillows off gas?
Ans. Yes, they do. However, mattresses take a lot longer to off gas. Further, shredded memory foam pillows can off gas faster than the solid ones, as they contain shreds of foam rather than a solid block.

Q. Are there other organizations that certify memory foam pillows and mattresses?
Ans. Yes, there are. Several other independent laboratories and organizations certify memory foam pillows and mattresses, organizations including:
Q. How to know that my memory foam is of premium quality?
Ans. Firstly, check for a CertiPur-US certification of your memory foam pillow or mattress. Then check the bounce of the memory foam - i.e, how long it takes to retain its original shape. 

Most importantly, the following three factors define the quality of a memory foam:
  • Density
  • Layers
  • Ingredients
Q. Is memory foam toxic?
Ans. As the chemicals used in memory foam differs among manufacturers, certain memory foam may contain toxic chemicals. To avoid purchasing memory foam with toxic chemicals, you should select one that is certified by CertiPur-US.

Q. What type of memory foam products are toxic?
Ans. Low quality memory foam made with cheap chemicals is usually toxic. However, certified memory foam is free from toxic chemicals. So always check for appropriate certification before purchasing memory foam.

Q. Do memory foam pillow off gas?
Ans. Yes, they do. But certified ones off gas for a shorter period than those that aren’t certified. Like other products made of polyurethane, memory foam pillows off gas, so you must give it a few hours to days before using them.

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