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5 Reasons Why Does Your Pillow Smell and How to Fix it

5 Reasons Why Does Your Pillow Smell and How to Fix it

After the hustles and bustles of the day, we all want to end the day with a good night’s rest. However, a night of quality sleep doesn’t come easily, at least not with stinky pillows. So, what could be behind that foul smell you just realized on your pillows?

Well, there are lots of reasons pillows become smelly all of a sudden. In this article, we are going to examine five possible causes of odor coming from your pillow. We will also suggest ways to restore things to normal and much more. So yes, if that has been your most recent problem, this article is just for you!

Let’s get right on it!

Why Does My Pillow Smell?

As we’ve said, there are many possible reasons your pillow smells so bad. That makes it quite unfair to point out one cause as the culprit behind that awful smell you have in your bedroom.

Instead, we will walk you through a rundown of all the potential causes of the bad smell. That way, it will be easier for you to know the likely cause of your pillow’s bad smell!

5 Reasons Why Does Your Pillow Smell

1. You Sweat When You Sleep

The first point is the most likely reason your pillow smells. Some people are sweatier than others at night, but we all sweat at least a bit, even if not every night. Now, when this wetness finds its way into the pillow, it can begin to develop smell with time.

And just so you know, sweat majorly consists of water. It also has tiny amounts of other chemicals such as ammonia, urea, salts, and sugars. With all these coming together, sweat making your pillows stink becomes very likely, especially considering the poor flow of air inside them.

If you have been ailing recently or the weather has turned hotter, then you likely have become sweatier. As such, you might have been damping your pillow with sweat, and that could be the reason it now smells.

Sweat usually produces a pungent odor with time. If it’s the reason behind your pillow’s awful smell, then you should know it without any problem. That said, if the odor that’s coming from your pillow smells like your sweat, or anything close to it, then sweat should be the main culprit behind the lingering odor issue.

2. You Drool When Sleeping

Some people even drool when they are asleep. It can have something to do with a medical condition, but that’s not the case most of the time. Now, much like sweat, saliva will make your pillow smell with time. After it soaks deep into the interior material of the pillow, it can produce a horrible smell, especially with time.

Things can even be worse when saliva mixes with sweat, hair, and other things your pillow is likely to encounter. Where all these come together, getting that horrible odor becomes almost inevitable.

So yes, if you don’t sweat, it could be that you produce excess saliva when sleeping, and that’s enough to cause the smell you are getting from your pillow.

3. Your Pet Could Be The Cause

Dogs have become an integral part of the family. They make our lives more fun, and we always enjoy their companionship – even when sleeping. Now, if your canine comes to your bedroom, they could make your pillow smell.

Not many things in this life beat the joy of being a pet parent. We love these furry friends to pieces. But let’s be honest – there’s one thing we don’t like about them – that awful smell they tend to produce.

Your dog isn’t going to smell bad all the time, but they will at some point do. That may come from bacterial infections, allergies, and rolling in poop. Some dog species are even smelly naturally, for instance, Saint Bernards, Shar Pei’s, and English Bulldogs.

Now, if you have a smelly pillow and dog at the same time, it could be that the smell your pillow has is coming from your canine. Perhaps your smelly dog sat on it, and that’s enough to cause problems to your nose at least for several nights.

Some dogs even drool more than usual. And much like smelling, drooling can be natural or from medical conditions such as tumors, tummy trouble, or other issues. Much like your own saliva, your pup’s saliva is going to give your pillow an unpleasant smell.

4. It’s The Pillows Natural Smell

The pungent smell your pillow is producing now doesn’t necessarily have to come from your home. The chemicals used in the manufacturing process can as well make it just as smelly as it is.

You see, if you just ordered a new pillow and you realized that it came with a smell, then that has nothing to do with your sweat, pet, or any other thing within your home. New pillows can have a terrible smell, but that most of the time will fade days after.

Stuffing materials such as memory foam usually come with a chemical smell. That’s normal, and it’s commonly known as off-gassing. The odor comes about when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the foam begin to break down and diffuse into the air.

5. Food And Drink Spills

If you are the kind of person who loves eating and drinking the stuff in bed, then you could have spilled something on your pillow someday. That’s very likely, especially if you love watching a movie or like to catch a show in bed while eating.

Not all foods or drinks will cause odor. However, things such as milk or soup will definitely produce a horrible smell. That’s especially true when you don’t clean things up immediately. At times the smell will come, even after cleaning the mess. However, that will most of the time happen if you didn’t do the cleaning properly.

To keep spills from your bed, stop eating and drinking things in the bed. That’s the most obvious remedy. It isn’t a bad thing to eat or enjoy your favorite beverage in bed, only avoid creating a mess. Just be very careful. Most of the spills that happen from drinks and food are a result of carelessness.

Where something accidentally drops in your bed, it’s best to blot it up immediately. You can consider using spare pillowcases and sheets and then throw the affected beddings into a washing machine.

How To Remove the Smell From Pillows?

Now that you know what could be causing your pillow to smell, that alone isn’t enough. You need to also learn how to get things back to normal. After all, unless you know the way out of something, knowing the problems alone doesn’t help.

So, how can you get your pillow smelling just as fresh as you’d want it? Well, basically, that will depend on what’s causing the smell. Nevertheless, in the section below, we will be suggesting some of the ideas on how you can get rid of the smell.

Let’s delve right into it;

1. Clean Your Pillow

We’ve said that sweat, saliva, and dirt will all make your pillow smell. If you suspect either to be the reason behind the bad smell, then cleaning is the only way out. If your pillow can work with a washer, then you are lucky. Where not, you have no option than go the traditional way.

You can consider using baking soda or vinegar to help absorb the bad smell. Avoid using too much soap as it will make things more difficult when rinsing. And when rinsing, use as much water as possible to avoid leaving the smell of the detergent you used.

2. Use Odor-Neutralizing Sprays

If you think that the issue with your pillow can get resolved without having to clean it, using an odor-neutralizing spray is another way to get things back to normalcy. These chemicals work by “swallowing” the horrible smell from your pillow, leaving it smelling fresh and clean.

This method will also help where the pillow’s smell comes from the materials or methods used by the manufacturer. In this case, it may not neutralize everything, but it will make things a little more bearable.

3. Get Your Pet Their Own Bed

You love your pet, and that’s what they deserve. But again, that doesn’t mean you should share your bed with your canine. Sleeping in the same bed with your pet may not always result in a smelly pillow, but it’s generally not a good idea to share a room with your furry friend, leave alone bed.

A study conducted showed that sleeping with pets in the same room affects the quality of sleep. Pets will more likely get disruptive in the middle of the night, and that’s the last thing you’ll want, especially after a busy day.

So yes, it’s possible to get rid of that odor coming from your pillow. But before you can do that, ensure that your canine isn’t accessing your bedroom. Fidos can really get smelly and could leave your pillow or bed smelling bad for days.

Why Does My Pillow Smell After Washing?

At times you may notice a foul smell after cleaning your pillow. Don’t worry, that’s a common problem. So, what could be keeping that horrible smell even after all the efforts you put into washing the pillow?

Well, if you noticed that your pillow smells bad after cleaning, chances are you didn’t allow the inside materials to dry up completely. Wet fillings will eventually release a foul odor because they aren’t getting enough amount of air. The smell may compare to that of poop or farmyard, especially if you have down pillows.

When you notice an unpleasant smell from your pillow even after washing, the only way is to get it back to the washer. The procedure remains much the same as the first, only remember to dry it completely this time.


A foul odor from your pillow can be all it takes to deny you the peaceful and quality sleep you need. And while it’s possible to get rid of the smell and restore things to normal, it’s best to avoid anything that could cause your pillow to smell at first.

Shower with cold water before bed and limit alcohol intake at night. That will somewhat keep you cool and prevent you from sweating at night. Again, where possible, avoid bringing foodstuffs to your bedroom. Lastly, keeping your pet off your bed may help just as well.