How to expand memory foam

Written by gail delaney
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How to expand memory foam
Memory foam does not automatically return from a crushed state. (Wikimedia Commons)

Memory foam comes in a variety of different thicknesses, from 7.5 cm (3 inches) to more than 35 cm (14 inches). The open-celled memory foam conforms to the different shape of each person lying on its top. When your memory foam leaves the factory, it has been folded, machine rolled and compressed into a smaller package. You need to expand the memory foam before you can use it on your bed.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Remove the memory foam from the package within 72 hours of receiving it. Take off the plastic wrapping with your hands. Do not use scissors, knives or any other sharp object to open the package or you risk damaging the memory foam.

  2. 2

    Allow the memory foam mattress to acclimate to room temperature. This may take one to two hours before it warms and starts expanding. Don't skip this step if your memory foam arrives during colder months. The product becomes more brittle when in its compressed state and can easily tear.

  3. 3

    Unroll or unfold the memory foam gently onto a flat surface. Put it in a spare or unused room. Not only does this give your memory foam ample time to expand, it also will air it out.

  4. 4

    Separate the layers of the memory foam. Do this carefully, otherwise you risk tearing the foam. When you separate the layers, do so with a slow, steady, uniform pulling motion. Stop if you feel any resistance and allow the product to settle a little longer.

  5. 5

    Leave the foam alone for 24 to 72 hours. This will give it enough time to expand to its full shape and size.

  6. 6

    Centre the memory foam on top of your mattress. Cover with your fitted sheet and finish making the bed.

Tips and warnings

  • Memory foam has an odour when it arrives at your door. To help the foam air out faster, allow a fan to blow on it. Turn the foam over after 12 hours to air out the other side. It may take two to four days before the "new" smell goes away.

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