How To Wash Feather Pillows [5 Steps]

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Feather pillows are soft pillows that are stuffed with the back and wing feathers of a goose. They are known for lasting longer than regular pillows and don’t retain as much body heat, keeping them cooler when you sleep at night. But because they are made with feathers, can you wash them and how should you wash them? Keep reading to find out.

Feather pillows can be washed in the washing machine. To wash a feather pillow, follow these steps.

  1. Remove the pillow from the pillowcase.
  2. Check for rips or holes in the pillow.
  3. Put pillows in the washing machine.
  4. Use a low-suds laundry detergent.
  5. Wash on the delicate cycle.

The process of washing a feather pillow is simple. Still, it is important to take the proper steps and use the right detergent to not interfere with the natural qualities of feather pillows and keep your pillows fresh and long-lasting. For in-depth steps and a guide to the right detergents to use, continue reading.

White pillows on white bed, how to wash feather pillows

How to Properly Wash a Feather Pillow

How To Wash Feather Pillows

Remove the pillowcase

Before washing the pillow, take it out of the pillowcase if it is inside one. Some feather pillows come inside a zippered pillow protector. If yours does, remove it from the pillow protector as well. You can wash these separately or in the same load as the pillows.

Check for, and repair rips.

Check the pillow for rips, tears, and holes, especially along the seams. Sew up or repair any damaged areas you find so that the feathers don’t come out in the washing machine, ruining your pillow.

Put two pillows in the washing machine.

Even if you only need to wash one pillow, put another pillow in the washing machine with it to help keep the washing machine balanced. Feather pillows are heavy, and washing only one can unbalance the washing machine, which will cause your pillows to take longer to wash.

It is recommended that you use a front-loading washing machine to wash pillows because the agitator in top-loading washing machines can damage the pillows. But if you don’t have a front-loading washing machine, put the pillows in the drum vertically around the agitator. If they don’t fit, squeeze the air out of them before putting them in the washer.

Use the right laundry detergent.

Bulky items, especially pillows, don’t rinse well, so it is important to use a laundry detergent that doesn’t create many suds. Using a laundry detergent that produces many suds causes the pillows to have to be rinsed more, or else they will retain some of the soap and water, which can cause mildew.

You should also use less detergent than normal, and make sure to use liquid detergent instead of powder so that there isn’t a buildup of detergent or any soap or powder residue left behind.

Many detergents work well for washing feather pillows, but any liquid detergent used should be a gentle formula that produces low to no suds, such as Woolite or Dreft. There is also a detergent called Down Wash made specifically for washing down– and feather-filled items such as pillows.

Using natural detergents without harsh chemicals also produces low suds, making them gentle enough to wash feather pillows. 

Try this down wash kit from Amazon.

Use the delicate cycle.

Wash the pillows on the delicate cycle. The normal or heavy duty cycles may be too rough for feather pillows, causing the feathers to come out. Use the warm water setting to wash them because while hot water will kill dust mites, it could damage the feathers. You may also want to rerun the rinse and spin cycle after the first wash to get any soap out that may still be there.

Why do my feather pillows smell after washing?

If your feather pillows smell after washing, the most likely reason is that the feathers aren’t completely dry. A pillow that isn’t completely dry could trigger mold. It can take multiple drying cycles to get your pillows completely dry, but fluffing your pillow by hand in between drying cycles helps rearrange the feathers and help the pillow dry faster.

How do you dry a feather pillow?

As mentioned before, if feather pillows aren’t dry completely, they can form mold, mildew, and odors. It’s better to dry pillows too much rather than not enough. Thankfully, drying feather pillows can be done in four easy steps, but throughout the drying process, it is important not to wring water out of the pillows, so they don’t become misshapen. Follow these steps to dry your feather pillows.

Squeeze water out of the pillows

This step will need to be done individually with each pillow. Place the pillow between two towels. Gently press down on the pillow to squeeze the water out of the pillow. The towel will help to soak up the excess water. Repeat with the other pillow.

Put pillows into the dryer

After squeezing excess water out of the pillows, put them in the dryer and turn the dryer settings to the delicate cycle and either low- or no-heat. If you use low-heat, it will speed up the drying process, but it could be too hot for the feathers. If you use no-heat, it won’t damage the feathers, but it will take more than one drying cycle to get the feathers completely dry.

Use your own judgement; you know how well your dryer works. Remember to fluff your pillow between drying cycles if it requires more than one. Using the air-dry setting toward the end of a low-heat drying cycle is better for pillows and will prevent the feathers from getting too hot.

You can also add dryer balls or tennis balls inside a clean sock to the drying cycle to help fluff the pillows. Adding a damp towel to the dryer will soak up any extra water and help your pillows dry better as well.

Fluff the pillows after they are dry

When you think the pillow is completely dry, take it out of the dryer and fluff it to remove any clumps of feathers. Gently shake the pillow for a few minutes until any noticeable clumps are gone, then turn it over and do the same for the other side. If the pillow still feels wet or smells funny, put it back in the dryer for another cycle.

Replace the pillow protector or pillowcase

Hopefully you washed the pillowcases when you washed the pillows. Once the pillowcases and pillow are clean and dry, put the pillow protector or pillowcase back on the pillow. Air fluff the pillows in the dryer between washings to help keep them fresh. 

Do feather pillows go bad?

Feather pillows don’t necessarily “go bad” but they won’t last forever. Due to the durability of feather pillows, with proper care and regular washing, they can last anywhere from 5-10 years before they need to be replaced. It’s time to replace the pillow if it becomes hard or flat, even after repeated fluffing either by hand or in the dryer.

How often should you wash feather pillows?

In between washings, feather pillows can collect dust, bacteria, and mites as well as human dirt, sweat, and oil. Gross right? It is recommended that you wash feather pillows 1-2 times a year, so about every 6 months or so. Doing so more than that can cause the feathers to become damaged and your pillows won’t last as long.

Get the most out of your feather pillows

Now you know how to properly wash and dry your feather pillows to keep them fluffy and fresh. Keep your pillows protected by using a pillowcase or cover, and wash and dry them completely using the delicate cycle so that they will last for years to come.

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