Updated at: 15-01-2023 - By: Jane

Feather pillows are commonly known for their comfort, warmth and long life span compared to their counterparts. The best pillows are stuffed with geese and duck feathers or down. We all know that a dirty pillow is a habitat for all sorts of bacteria and germs, which may severely affect your skin and hair.

Washing feather pillows is not as hard as it might seem. This article will take you through the whole washing and drying simple process to help you learn how to wash feather pillows.

How to Wash Feather Pillows Using a Washing Machine.

Differences in Feather Bed Pillows

When buying feather and down pillows, you want to be sure which type of down pillow you want. You can read the label on the pillow to learn what that specific pillow is filled with. Down pillows are normally filled with feathers, down cluster or a mixture. Here are the three offerings usually used in pillow stuffing:

  • Duck down: A duck’s down is naturally smaller than that of a goose, except for eider duck’s down’ which is larger and of better quality.
  • Goose down: Studies show that the Hungarian goose produces the finest down compared to the other types of geese. It’s large clusters offer a wide range of insulating qualities and more loft.
  • Down-Feather Blend: Depending on the fact that down compacts after long usage, most of the pillows are stuffed with a blend of both feathers and down for an even fill up and size stabilization.

So, you can consider getting a blended pillow that will sustain you.

How to Wash Feather Pillows Using a Washing Machine 04/2024.

Feather pillows need extra care while washing compared to foam and synthetic pillows. Here’s how to wash feather pillows in a washing machine:


  • Washing machine (preferably a front loading machine for efficiency)
  • Two pillows (for a balanced load)
  • Mild detergent
  • Warm water


  • Remove the pillow case or protector from the pillows. Be it a padded or zippered pillow case.
  • Carefully look out for any tears and rips at the seam sides of the pillows. If any, fix them or your feathers will all pop out in the washing machine.
  • Place your two pillows vertically in the top loading machine (to prevent your pillows from tangling in the agitator) or horizontally in the front loading washing machine.
  • Add two spoonsful of mild liquid laundry detergent. Avoid using powder detergent to avoid residue. Use less detergent for easy rinsing out after.
  • Use warm or cold water as hot water is likely to damage the feathers.
  • Set the machine on delicate cycle.
  • Set the washing machine to two deep rinses and an extra spin cycle to get rid of excess soap residue.
  • Remove them from the washing machine and fluff them as they are still wet.
  • Do not wring with your hands or your feathers will clump up.
  • You can now choose a desired drying method for your pillows.

How to Wash Feather Pillows by Hand.

For people without washing machines, you can wash your feather pillow by hand and it will still come out as clean. Here’s how to wash feather pillows by hand:


  • A sink, tub, or spacious basin.
  • Warm water.
  • Mild liquid laundry detergent
  • A large terry towel.


  • Pull out the pillow from the cover or pillow case.
  • Carefully check the seams for any tears or damage and fix them.
  • In your tub or basin, pour enough warm water for the wash.
  • Add two spoonfuls of detergent and mix well.
  • Merge your pillows in water and let them fill up well.
  • Squeeze one pillow at a time to extract all the dirt. Do this by merging them back and forth into the water as you gently squeeze.
  • Take your pillows out and rinse them in freshly clean water. Rinse on until nothing but clean water comes out of them.
  • Finally, you can choose to dry your pillows either in a dryer or out in the sun.

How to Dry Feather Pillows in a Dryer.

There are basically two methods you can use to dry your pillows: In a dryer or out in the sun. Though, it’s advisable to use a dryer for a quicker drying process and to avoid clumping and the awful smell that comes with it. Here’s how to dry feather pillows in a dryer:


  • A dryer
  • Dryer balls or tennis balls
  • A pair of clean white socks


  • Gently fold one pillow at a go, in a large towel and press until all the water is out. Avoid wringing.
  • Place your pillows into the dryer, set the dryer to a delicate cycle.
  • You might want to use the air-only cycle as compared to the low heat cycle. Reason being, much as the air-only cycle takes longer, you are assured of a perfectly dry pillow with untampered-with feathers. Your pillows will dry faster with the low heat cycle but might shrink the feathers.
  • To avoid clumping, fluff the pillows after every cycle. Take them out and hold two corners with both hands as you gently beat them in the air.
  • Tie two tennis balls in a pair of clean socks or simply use dryer balls, to fluff up your pillows as they dry in the dryer.
  • Take out your pillows and check for any dumbness or clumping.
  • Make sure to give your pillows a final proper fluff. Do this by holding two corners and gently shaking it back and forth. Do this with both sides.
  • Slide your feather pillow in a freshly washable pillow case, cover or protector.

How to Dry Feather Pillows Without a Dryer.

Air or sun-drying is another alternative for drying your feather pillows. Here’s how to dry your feather pillows without a dryer:

  • Lay or peg your feather pillows onto a clothesline to eliminate moisture. Preferably, peg the pillows on their longest seam lines for quicker water drainage and less clumping.
  • Alternatively, lay your feather pillows on a flat surface on a sunny day and keep an eye on them in case of any lumps or spots.
  • Ensure to fluff and turn your feather pillows every after an hour or two to avoid clumping.

How to Dry Feather Pillows Without a Dryer.

How to Wash Yellow Stained Feather Pillows.

Yellow stained feather pillows can be washed back to their original color within no time. This will help you get rid of the unpleasant odor and mildew too. Here’s how to wash yellow stained feather pillows:


  • Hydrogen peroxide (to whiten with vinegar)
  • White vinegar (for the mildew)
  • Baking soda ( for the odor)
  • Water ( to ease the process)
  • Detergent


  • Mix 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide with ½ cup of vinegar in a jar and set aside.
  • Place your pillows in the washing machine. Remember to use a pair to balance the load.
  • Set the machine on a soak cycle.
  • Pour the vinegar and hydrogen mixture into the machine drum and start it.
  • Pour your mild laundry detergent as soon as the soak cycle is done.
  • Add ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of white vinegar on top of the detergent and let it wash for 10 minutes.
  • You can consider adding a drop or two of essential oil in your rinse cycle for a fresh scent. You can try vanilla, rosemary, or any soothing scent.
  • Follow the drying steps above to dry your now fresh and white feather pillow.
  • If your pillow is still smelly, peg it on the clothes line under the sun for a natural remedy.
  • Consider using pillow protectors on your feather pillows to avoid staining again.

How do I Get My Feather Pillows to Last Longer?

To keep your pillow in shape for a long time you need to put these three things in check:

  • Moisture: If you love to bathe before you go to bed, you have to make sure your hair does not have any water left to add moisture to your feather pillow, or if you can’t help it, consider using an extra pillow cover.
  • Compression: Endeavour to fluff your feather pillow every morning to avoid the effects of compression that you put onto it as you sleep.
  • Body Oils and Lotion: Use a pillowcase or protector in case you use oils and lotions before you go to bed.

How to Keep feathers From Coming Out of Your Feather Pillow.

Having a leaking feather pillow can be so disturbing. To avoid feathers spreading all over your bed or couch, follow these tips for a quick fix:

1) Sew up the Holes

Carefully search for tiny holes around the seams of your pillow to find where the feathers are leaking through. Re-stuff the fallen feathers into the pillow and sew it up. Make a thorough check on both sides of your pillow to make sure all is fixed.

2) Use a Pillow Case or Protector

A pillow case will not only stop the feathers from leaking but also protect your pillow from wearing out fast. The pillow case tight fabric will stop the quills from piercing through the pillow, hence stopping the leakage.

3) Fluff  Your Pillow Often

Whenever the quill of a feather gets stuck in the fabric of the pillow, it soon causes feather leakage. This usually happens when all the down piles up in one position, which on compression, the feathers start poking out through the tiny whole. You should learn how to fluff a feather pillow as often as possible throughout the week. Gently fluff your pillow for even feather distribution in the pillow.

4) Avoid Pillow Abuse

Feather pillows are delicate in a way that if carelessly handled, the feathers can easily poke out of the pillow fabric. Your feather pillow should not be used to fight or throw at one another, so as to avoid tampering with the feathers and down, to cause leakage.

5) Avoid Regular Washing

You don’t have to wash your feather pillows as often as you wash your pillow cases or protectors. Your feather pillow should only be washed the recommended times in a year lest you risk tearing and leakage. To keep your feather pillows from regular cleaning, use pillow protectors as stated in 2 above.

6) Proper storage

Store your pillows in their free state to give them enough room to breathe. Keeping your feather pillows in a compressed money will provoke the quills of the feathers to pierce through the fabric, hence causing leakage.

How Long Do Feather Pillows Last?

If properly taken care of, a feather and best down pillow should last for a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 10 years. Simply wash them twice in a year, use pillow protectors and mend the tiny holes in case of any leakage.

How Often Should You Wash Your Feather Pillows?

Twice in a year is the recommended time to wash your feather pillow. If washed often, it might lose its originality and won’t last. To avoid this, you need to use the right pillow protector or cover to keep your pillow from getting soiled as often. Follow up on the above tips on how to wash feather pillows when washing.

When Do I Replace My Feather Pillows?

However often you clean your pillows, they cannot serve you for eternity. Your pillow itself will tell you when to replace it. “If you fold the pillow in half, and it doesn’t spring back into shape, plan for a shopping trip.” Says Forte.


Much as feather pillows are luxurious and among the most comfortable pillows in the pillow world, they can be the worst if not taken good care of. You want to make sure you maintain your feather pillows by following the steps above and just like that, you will have your feather pillows for over 10 years. Remember to follow the instructions on the care tag of your feather pillows on how to wash feather pillows.

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