How To Wash Feather Down Pillows?

Feather-down pillows are known for their luxurious comfort and support. Still, they can accumulate dirt, sweat, and odours over time, making it essential to understand how to clean and maintain them properly. Many people wonder if it's even possible to wash feather pillows. The good news is, yes, you can! In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps for machine washing and hand washing feather-down pillows, as well as provide tips for drying, maintaining fluffiness, dealing with stains and odours, and using pillow protectors and covers.

Can You Wash Feather Pillows?

Before we dive into the washing process, you might wonder whether washing feather pillows is safe. The answer is yes but with some precautions. Feather pillows can be cleaned but require delicate handling to prevent damage to the feathers and pillow structure.

How Do You Wash A Feather Pillow In A Washing Machine?

1. Steps for Machine Washing

  • Preparation: Check the pillow's care label for specific instructions. Most feather pillows can be machine washed, but always follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Load the Machine: Place two feather pillows in the washing machine to balance the load and ensure thorough cleaning.
  • Use a Gentle Cycle: Select a delicate or gentle cycle with cold water to minimise stress on the feathers.
  • Detergent Choice: Choose a mild, liquid detergent, preferably one designed for delicate fabrics.

2. Choosing the Right Detergent

  • Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals, as they can damage the feathers.
  • Fabric softeners can leave a residue on the feathers, so it's best to skip them.
  • Use a minimal amount of detergent to prevent excessive sudsing.

How Do You Hand Wash A Feather Pillow?

1. Steps for Hand Washing

  • Fill a Bathtub or Sink: Fill a clean bathtub or sink with cold water and add a small amount of mild detergent.
  • Submerge the Pillow: Gently submerge the feather pillow in the soapy water.
  • Agitate Gently: Agitate the pillow by pressing it down and moving it around in the water.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: Drain the soapy water and refill the tub or sink with clean water. Rinse the pillow until all detergent is removed.
  • Squeeze Out Excess Water: Gently press the pillow to remove excess water. Avoid wringing, as it can damage the feathers.

2. Tips for Effective Hand Washing

  • Be gentle to prevent damaging the feathers or the fabric.
  • Ensure thorough rinsing to remove all detergent residue.

How To Dry A Feather Pillow?

After washing, it's crucial to dry feather pillows properly to prevent mould and mildew growth.

A. Air Drying

  1. Steps for Air Drying:
  • Place the pillow in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors on a sunny day.
  • Fluff the pillow periodically to redistribute the feathers.
  • Ensure the pillow is completely dry before using it again.
  1. Benefits of Air Drying:
  • Sunlight helps kill bacteria and removes odours.
  • Air drying is gentle on the feathers and maintains their loft.

B. Tumble Drying:

  1. Steps for Tumble Drying:
  • Use a large-capacity dryer to allow the pillow to move freely.
  • Add clean tennis balls or dryer balls to help fluff the feathers.
  • Use the lowest heat setting and periodically check the pillow's progress.
  • Ensure the pillow is completely dry before returning it to your bed.
  1. Precautions for Tumble Drying:
  • Avoid high heat, as it can damage the feathers.
  • Check the pillow for any tears or damage before and after drying.

How Often Should I Wash Feather Bed Pillows?

Feather pillows should be washed every 6 to 12 months, depending on use and personal preference. Regularly using pillow protectors and covers can help prolong the time between washes.

When Is It OK To Wash Your Feather Pillow?

It's time to wash your feather pillow when you notice a loss of fluffiness, a persistent odour, or visible stains. Regular maintenance and cleanliness will help extend the life of your feather pillows.

Maintaining Pillow Fluffiness

To keep your feather pillows fluffy and supportive, follow these tips:

A. Fluffing Techniques

  • Give your pillows a good shake and fluff daily to redistribute the feathers.
  • Massage and knead the pillow gently to maintain its shape.

B. Replacing Feathers If Necessary

  • If your pillow has lost too much loft or support, consider adding or replacing additional feathers.

Dealing with Stains and Odors

Accidents happen, and pillows can become stained or develop odours over time. Here's how to address these issues:

A. Removing Stains

Types of Stains and How to Tackle Them:

  • For food stains, use a mild detergent and gently blot the stain.
  • Bloodstains can be treated with a mixture of salt and cold water.
  • Ink stains may require rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
  • Always blot, don't rub, to avoid spreading the stain.

B. Eliminating Odors

  • Sprinkle baking soda over the pillow and let it sit for a few hours before shaking it.
  • Use a fabric freshener or a mixture of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle to refresh the pillow.

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Pillow Protectors and Covers

A. Importance of Pillow Protectors

  • Pillow protectors act as a barrier against stains, odours, and allergens, extending the life of your pillow.
  • They are usually machine washable and easy to maintain.

B. Types of Pillow Protectors

  • Waterproof protectors: Ideal for preventing liquid stains.
  • Allergen-proof protectors: Designed to keep allergens out.

C. Choosing the Right Pillow Cover

  • Select a pillow cover that suits your comfort preferences (e.g., cotton, silk, or satin).

Frequently Asked Questions

What detergent is best for washing feather-down pillows?

A mild, liquid detergent designed for delicate fabrics is best for washing feather-down pillows. Avoid bleach or harsh chemicals.

Can I dry feather-down pillows in the sun?

Yes, drying feather-down pillows in the sun can help kill bacteria and naturally remove odours. Just ensure they are scorched before using them.

How can I prevent allergies caused by feather-down pillows?

Using allergen-proof pillow protectors and covers can help minimise allergen exposure. Regular washing and thorough drying of pillows also help reduce allergen buildup.


Whether you use a washing machine or hand wash, it is possible to wash feather-down pillows. Just remember to follow the care instructions, use a gentle detergent, and dry them thoroughly to maintain their comfort and extend their lifespan. Regular maintenance, pillow protectors, and covers will help keep your feather pillows clean, fresh, and allergy-free for years.