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How To Clean Down And Feather Pillows: Wash, Dry, And Maintain

I once read an article that claimed there are some people out there who can go years and in some cases never actually wash their pillows! I am not talking the pillow cases, but the actual pillow itself.

There is nothing better than a feather pillow, but you may think that as it is so fine and has feathers in it, that cleaning it is a hassle, so the best thing to do is just let it get more and more yellow! Well, it is very easy to clean feather pillows and today I am going to show you just how you should be doing it.

Just want to add that no matter what kind of feather pillows you have, be it goose down, duck down or even a combination, this cleaning process will work!

The Washing Process

Your Washing Machine Is Safe

Down Pillow Cleaning

Before I start, let me tell you that you will be using your washing machine. You may be a little skeptical and think this will ruin your super comfortable feather pillows, but a washing machine is kinder to feather pillows than standard synthetic ones!

Never Just Wash One Pillow

You really do not want to put just one feather pillow into your washing machine. The idea is that you want to balance the load. You can do this if you have two feather pillows, put one in one side of the washer and the other on the other side.

If you have a large washing machine or one of those new fancy high-efficiency machines, you will want to throw a towel in there as well to make the wash is a little easier on the pillows.

Put It On The Right Settings

This is crucial as you do not want to damage your pillow. You want the water to be cold and the most gentle cycle that your washer offers is what you want to set it on.

Less Is More With Detergent

You want to use the most gentle and low bubble (suds) making detergent that you can. Even then, you only need two teaspoons of it to clean the pillows.

Make Sure All The Detergent Is Gone

The last thing you want is for the feathers to still have detergent in them! So give the pillows and extra rinse cycle. Doing this will get rid of every last bit of detergent.

The Drying Process

Before Your Pillows Meet The Dryer

Do not take your pillows straight from the washer and throw them straight into the dryer. You want to give the pillows a really good fluffing. Many people who look to clean feather pillows forget that you want them to stay in nice and comfortable shape too! That is what the fluffing is for.

Make Sure Your Pillows Take A Beating

How To Dry A Pillow

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As well as the pillows, you want to put in something else into the dryer. In an ideal world, you will use wool dryer balls, but clean tennis balls do the same job. The idea here is that they will bash around the pillows and stop the feathers from clumping up and being lumpy which is uncomfortable when you are trying to sleep.

Put The Dryer On The Right Settings

Medium heat at the most is what you want here, any more and you risk damaging the pillows. While you may think that putting the pillows outside on a sunny day is better for them than being in the dryer, this is not actually true as the feathers will all move to the bottom of the pillow and if it is rather humid, they can go kind of funny and weird so you are always best using your dryer.

Fluff The Pillows Regularly

The drying process is not the kind of thing you can set in motion and then just walk away from. While the tennis balls will do a good job in stopping the pillows from getting all lumpy, they still need a little help from you. 

Every 15 minutes, you need to be taking the pillows out and giving them a fluffing. The easiest way to do this is to set the dryer for no more than 15 minutes at a time, this way you will not leave them in there for an hour and forget.

Extra Tips For Clean Feather Pillows

Now that you know, cleaning feather pillows is actually pretty easy. Here I have a few extra tips for you to make sure that your pillows are clean and will give you many years of comfortable sleep.

Pick The Right Pillow Cover

If you have spent the extra money to get a high-quality comfortable pillow, do not cheap out and get a poor quality pillow cover. Make sure that you get one which can be machine washed so that you can keep this nice and fresh too. If your pillow cover is dirty, so is your pillow!

Keep Your Pillow Dry

Clean and Dry Pillows

While rolling into bed after a nice hot bath may sound like the most amazing thing ever, getting your feather pillow wet is not a good idea. Not only will it make it all damp, the feathers inside can clump together when they are wet.

Store Them Properly

If you have spare feather pillows, for the family when they come to visit for example. Do not just throw them in a bag in the attic and leave them there for a year. Make sure they are stored properly in a pillowcase to protect them from dust and dirt.

Wash Them Regularly

As long as you wash and dry your feather pillow in the way I have suggested, there is no reason as to why you cannot get many years of comfortable use out of them. The only thing I will say is that make sure you wash them regularly.

Some people will wash them once a week and if you have the time to do that then go for it. For me personally, I find once every couple of weeks is more than enough. Use your best judgment. For example in the summer when things are a little more “sweaty” you may want to give them a wash once a week.


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