After long deliberation, you just bought the memory foam mattress of your dreams or for your dreams. You lay it down until you had a not-so-pleasant surprise: the bed is hard as a brick.
Well, truth be told, it’s normal, and we will discuss everything on the matter in this article. But I don’t want to skip the intro without understanding a little bit more the material used to manufacture these mattresses.
So, memory foam is famous for its ability to mold the body shape and offer it the ideal support. Simply put, the material is quite firm, keeping the optimal and healthy body position during sleeping time.
No matter the manufacturer, memory foam should not have the same texture on the bed as when it’s unpacked. Memory foam should soften a bit to provide the most comfortable sleep. However, this takes time, and it is recommended to wait until you use the mattress for sleeping.
But what if you are busy or cannot wait until you try out the new sleeping accessory? Don’t worry cause I’ve got you covered.
This being said, here are some easy tips you can apply to expand the memory foam faster. What about the rule of not sleeping on it for 24 hours? Don’t worry, as we will clarify everything.
How Long Does It Take For A Memory Foam To Expand?
Most memory foam mattresses do not look like what most people know about proper mattresses. And that should not come as a surprise. Why? Because most manufacturers do this on purpose, fabricating their products in that way.
Therefore, mattresses of this kind are initially compressed, folded, and machine-rolled to make them easier to transport to customers. The foam mattress is then packed inside a box and fastly delivered. It is essential to mention that this compression process is not harmful to the foam.
As stated by experts, the recommended period for the rolled mattress expansion can differ based on sizes and brands. Yet, on average, a memory mattress takes somewhere between 24 and 72 hours to expand and be ready to sleep on it.
The process is simple, and it’s based on pure physics, and I will explain it in simple words. As soon as you unwrap and take the memory foam out of it, the air that was pushed out of the memory foam during the compression step begins filling the open cell system again. When the air enters the cell structure, the viscoelasticity of the material makes it expand to the foam’s original shape. As previously mentioned, the expansion period depends on the variety of the products.
There are three elements that influence the expansion time of foam memory products:
Any memory foam will dilate quicker once the room temperature gets warmer. Also, heat diminishes the viscosity of the material and makes it more fluid, meaning it will be quicker to mold.
Each manufacturer will use different densities for their memory foam products. If the foam is denser, it will take longer to fully stretch. This theory is universal for any product. It really doesn’t matter if it is a topper, a pillow, or a mattress. If the foam is denser, it will also be firmer.
The depth and the thickness of foam is a factor that determines the expansion period. Pillow may take more to expand entirely because they are thicker. On the other hand, memory foam toppers are thinner and grow faster than standard mattresses and pillows. Therefore, if you deal with a memory foam mattress that is too thick, you may be interested in a topper.
Seven Tips For Making Memory Foam Stretch Quicker
Although most manufacturers claim that memory foam takes between 24 and 72 hours to set and expand at its fullest softness and height, you can actually make this process faster. It’s true that for being comfortable enough, memory foam products need to be broken first. It is similar to purchasing a tight pair of shoes. So be patient with it, just like with any other new product in your life.
These simple tips and tricks will make the pillows and mattresses expand quicker and keep their genuine quality.
1. Take the memory foam product out from the package.
The manufacturers usually pack their memory foam products into smaller packages. The reason? To make them less voluminous. Furthermore, your order may have also been machine-rolled and compressed to occupy less space during shipping.
Here is a video of the fantastic process of compressing a memory foam mattress. Exceptional, right?
Considering this aspect, you have to take it out from the original packaging and remove the plastic wrap. To make sure you don’t harm the product’s quality, I don’t recommend using scissors, cutters, or any other sharp items to unwrap the memory foam. Work gently, and don’t rush in removing the plastic.
Now that you have gotten rid of the packaging, you can unroll and unfold the memory foam product on a plain surface. Try doing all this process in a spare room. This way, you will accelerate the memory foam to expand and ventilate.
This is a great piece of advice, especially if we are talking about a mattress.
2. Adjust the room temperature.
The cooler the room temperature, the firmer the memory foam remains. Therefore, one of the main tasks you need to complete is to adjust the room temperature and make it warm so that the memory foam softens faster. Remember that the item needs some time to adapt to a comfortable environmental temperature. This step applies even more to customers who purchase the memory foam product during winter days.
3. Gently separate the layers.
If the product you just purchased is a memory foam mattress with different layers, you need to take each off separately, like in this video.
Again, make sure to work gently and carefully with this process so you don’t risk ripping up the foam. Do this steady, in a slow pulling motion.
If you struggle during this step, stop and allow the foam mattress to settle and expand more.
4. Roll the memory foam around, then walk on it.
Some factors can activate the memory foam and loosen the material. I am talking about constant, permanent movement, heat, and body weight. So it makes total sense to place a little weight on the foam to help it soften.
An easier way to do this is by walking gently on the mattress or rolling around it for a couple of minutes. Repeat these steps. If you deal with a smaller product, like a pillow, just add some pressure with your arms or hands.
5. Give it time.
One of the golden rules is to allow the memory foam to sit for some time. Even though it’s hard, don’t use it immediately you get the package. Experts also claim that laying on the memory foam sooner than what it’s recommended by manufacturers will keep it from expanding correctly.
6. Prepare the mattress.
After placing the mattress on the bed, it’s time to cover it with a mattress protector or topper. Only after that, you can use a fitted sheet.
7. Sleep or relax on the memory foam mattress.
When you are ready to finally relax, sleep on your new memory foam mattress, even if this means skipping all the necessary “wait it out” steps. Enjoy the perks of having this relaxing type of mattress. Read, sit or watch TV while benefiting from the most ergonomic kind of surface.
Manufacturers Expansion Advice
Note: Not all memory foam products have the 24-hour wait rule. Some of them can be expanded instantly. Accordingly, some manufacturers recommend their customers to use the item right away. Using the mattress right from the box, if the manufacturer allows it, is a great tip because every consistent movement and body heat can soften the foam, making it expand in less time.
The only downside to using the memory foam items immediately and skipping the 24 hours waiting time is they won’t feel and offer the same comfort if they do not fully expand. But don’t panic, as laying on it won’t stop the expansion process; on the opposite, it will only help it along.
The Mattress Has Expanded, What’s Next?
Now that the memory foam has fully expanded, and you figured out that this item is exactly what you needed for a good-quality sleeping experience, what’s next? Well, you should start acknowledging the caring rules.
Let’s take the most basic example. In order to do their job properly, memory foam mattresses need to stay on a solid foundation. Because that’s how things are. Your memory foam mattress needs to sit on a safe platform. That includes bed frames with a slatted base or another solid flat surface.
Consider a mattress protector as the best investment to keep the longevity of your sleeping surface. Memory foam mattresses are large sponges that can soak up a lot; from sweat to dead skin and massive amounts of dirt and juices. Therefore, I imagine that the last thing you want is sleeping on a filthy surface. Keep in mind that a mattress protector is a bit different from a mattress topper, and its primary purpose is to keep away the dirt. On the other hand, a mattress topper makes the mattress more comfortable.
If you have ordered a memory foam mattress that didn’t have a machine-washable protective cover, you might need to find an alternative. Combine room temperature water with mild detergent and rub the mattress’s surface. It is also wise to clean the bed by vacuuming at least once a month to remove all loose debris and dust fibers. This process applies to foam pillows too.
The Mattress Did Not Expand, What To Do?
Let’s look at the less unfortunate case. If the memory foam item has not expanded properly after several days, you might have to deal with a broken mattress. Luckily, most memory foam items have a generous return policy, from 15 to 30 days.
This being said, these are some signs you should return the foam pillows or mattress:
- Have you noticed having neck, upper back, or shoulder pain after sleeping on your new mattress?
- Did you deal with a lot of discomfort in the hip and knee areas?
- Do you have tinglings in the legs, feet, and arms?
- Isn’t the mattress taking the contour of your body, or do you feel some pressure points?
If the answer to one of these questions is “yes,” consider returning the product as soon as possible.
With everything out of the way, it’s time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this topic.
Q: Is heat a helpful factor for memory foam expansion?
A: Memory foam items go through a compressing process before shipping. So they require at least a full day to expand at their full height. The foam mattress will adjust to the original shape as long as they stand at room temperature.
And yes, heat makes the process faster. If you raise the room’s temperature, the memory foam will become softer and more comfortable.
Q: Why is the memory foam mattress still hard?
A: People love memory foam mattresses because they are ergonomic and cozy. However, sometimes they may feel still firm or hard. And this is entirely normal.
This means the memory foam does not react appropriately to the outside temperature. If the room temperature is too low, the mattress will feel firm. The cold temperature makes foam fibers stiff. However, the foam mattress will become flexible if you raise the room temperature.
Q: How to decompress a memory foam topper?
A: Decompressing a memory foam topper requires the same steps as the mattress. First, unpack the topper, then unroll it out on the bed. Finally, let the foam fully expand for about 72 hours before using it for the first time.
Q: What does it take to flatten a memory foam mattress again?
A: Although this process might seem a bit overwhelming, all you need is to use a vacuum cleaner and some vacuum mattress storage bags.
This video explains it better.
Memory foam products need some time and patience to expand and gain their correct shape. Luckily, there are easy methods to make foam mattresses, toppers, or pillows stretch quicker.
Remember, each little effort is worth it, considering how important a good night’s sleep is. A fully expanded memory foam mattress keeps the body position in perfect alignment and gives you better health.
Don’t worry if the foam has not fully decompressed in 24 hours. There are times when it lasts up to a week for the memory foam to expand. So patience is the big secret here.