How To Wash Feather Pillows? All You Need To Know Update 06/2024

If you prefer feather and down bed pillows instead of polyester or foam pillows, they may be washed at home to keep them smelling fresh and clean. It’s possible to wash down and feather pillows by hand, but it’s far easier and faster to clean them in a washing machine. Be aware to avoid excessive wringing and twisting of your pillow throughout the cleaning process, as it might smash the stuffing and produce clumping.

Take a moment to inspect the pillowcase before throwing it in the wash. In order to prevent the contents from shifting about during washing, the cover cloth should be firmly woven. Additionally, any holes or tears in the cover should be patched right away. If you don’t fix the rips in the system, your washing machine will be full with feathers.

When is it OK to wash your feather pillow?

In case of emergency only! If you can’t see any good reason to do anything, don’t.

As a designer and manufacturer of high-end down bedding, I find it fascinating that there are so many tutorials online explaining “how to wash a feather pillow.” This topic has been covered by the likes of the indomitable Martha Stewart in her own how-to manual. She wouldn’t advise washing your pillow if she knew what we know about feathers and what happens within a pillow shell after repeated uses. As a matter of fact, she thinks that feather pillows should be thrown away after a certain number of years of use rather than being washed.

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With that in mind, imagine you’ve just invested in a brand new feather cushion. Now, after what seems like an interminable period of time spent looking, you’ve found what you believe will be the perfect cushion for you. This is a magical thing. The nooks and crannies of your shoulder and neck will finally feel comfortable again.

Maybe you bought your husband a feather pillow after finding that your own feather pillow helped alleviate many of your neck aches and pains in the hopes that it would also help him stop snoring. Indeed, this is a common occurrence.

Then, though, something truly horrific occurs.

It’s the cat’s fault that the pillow got wet. There’s been less than a month since you got it. The question is, “What can you do?” This, by the way, is an urgent matter.

Throw the pillow in the washer immediately if your cat urinates on it.

How Often to Clean Feather Bed Pillows

It’s acceptable to wash your feather pillows as often as you like, although once a month is recommended, especially in the summer and spring. Although, if you wash them regularly (at least once a year), your pricey pillows can survive for years.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • The washing machine.
  • Dryer.
  • Clean canvas shoes, tennis balls, or dryer balls can be used in the dryer.
  • Add a pillow or some white towels to the load to help the washer maintain a proper balance (optional).


  • Detergent with a high efficacy and a low sudsing potential


How to Wash Feather Bed Pillows
Detergent High-efficiency (HE), low-suds detergent
Water Temperature Cold
Cycle Type Gentle
Drying Cycle Type Medium
Special Treatments Dry with dryer balls
Iron Settings Do not iron
  1. To properly load a washing machine
    A normal top load washer requires that two pillows be loaded, one on each side of the agitator, to prevent the pillows from shifting around during the washing cycle. Add a foam pillow or several more towels if you don’t have two feather ones.
    Add a couple of white towels to your load whether you’re using a top-loading high-efficiency washer or a front-loading washer.
  2. Determine Which Laundry Soap Is Best for You
    You can reduce noise and wear on your clothes by washing them in cold water on the delicate cycle. A high-efficiency, low-suds detergent should be added in increments of 1–2 teaspoons. Foaming detergents can damage feathers if not thoroughly washed.
    To avoid having the down in your pillow become coated with fabric softener and therefore less fluffy, you should not use fabric softener on feather or down pillows.
  3. Include a Second Washing Phase
    To remove any remaining detergent from the feathers, do an additional rinse cycle in the washing machine.
  4. You should fluff your pillows.
    Pillows should be fluffed when still damp after being removed from the washing machine. Dry them on a medium setting in the dryer.
  5. Including Dryer Balls in the Drying Process
    To prevent feathers from bunching together in the dryer, use wool dryer balls, clean tennis balls, or even a clean pair of canvas tennis shoes.
  6. Pillows should be fluffed repeatedly until they are completely dry.
    Pillows should be removed from the dryer every 15 minutes and fluffed by hand. As the size of the pillows varies, so does the drying time. Before returning them to the bed, please ensure they are completely dry.

What’s the issue with detergent?

The ability to fly on feathers is remarkable. Nature designed the feather to serve multiple purposes, including protecting the down clusters from moisture so the bird doesn’t perish from hypothermia during the winter. So, nature infused feathers with a trace of oil to aid in water evaporation and keep birds dry.

However, this microscopic oil is removed with repeated washings of your feather pillow with detergent just a few times a year. If the feathers’ natural oils are removed, they become brittle and more likely to break during the night. When brittle feathers break, they sometimes leave behind numerous sharp shards that can be painful to walk on.

With that in mind, I beg you not to use detergent on your feather pillow. A pillow should be washed only in an emergency. It should be washed solely with water and not with any detergent if that is necessary.

My Green Fills are an exception to this guideline because they are made to maintain pillows without adding harmful chemicals or compromising their structural integrity. FINALLY!
How To Fluff Pillows? | Memory Foam Talk

What Are the Differences in Feather Bed Pillows?

Goose down and feather pillows are quite pricey. To find out if the pillow is filled with down clusters, feathers, or a combination of the two, check the label. The Federal Trade Commission controls the sale of down-filled clothing and home items in the United States. Down feathers are the only kind allowed in a product with the “100 percent down” label. The term “down” can refer to a variety of materials, including feathers and synthetic fibers.

Down cluster pillows are the most expensive yet last the longest. Down clusters are more robust to compacting and are simpler to clean than feather-down combinations. Higher fill numbers indicate higher quality down. There is no higher fill power for down than a 900.

Down comes in a wide variety of styles and qualities. There are typically three main options.

Goose Down

Geese have the largest down clusters, with the Hungarian geese providing what is most often considered the best down. Larger goose down clusters provide greater loft and insulating properties.

Duck Down

Ducks’ down is less dense and coarser than goose down due to the animals’ relative size. However, the eider duck, whose down is referred to as being of superior quality, is larger.

Feather and Down Combinations

Pillows and other high-use products often have a blend of down and feathers to prevent the stuffing from compacting over time. Down is stabilized and given more body by the inclusion of feathers.

Storing Feather Bed Pillows

Bed pillows filled with feathers should be allowed to air out occasionally. Store them in pillowcases instead of plastic boxes or bags to keep out dust and debris. Store them in a linen closet or other dry, cold area.

Treating Stains on Feather Bed Pillows

Covering a down pillow with a removable, washable pillowcase and zip closure is the best way to prevent stains. However, accumulation of oil, sweat, and dust can cause pillows to turn yellow.

Combine 1 cup of powdered laundry detergent, 1/2 cup of borax, and 4 cups of boiling water to remove the yellow stains. For best results, fill your washing machine with hot water and the solution, then soak the pillow for 30 minutes. After the first half of the washing process, turn the pillow over and continue with the wash and dry as indicated.

Tips for Washing Feather Bed Pillows

  • In order to speed up the drying process, washing feather pillows should be done on a day with low humidity and lots of sunshine. Pillows filled with feathers should not be left to dry in the sun on a humid day.
  • Always use a removable and washable pillow case to protect your feather cushion from dust and dirt. Pillows should have new cases and coverings washed at least once a week.
  • You should try to keep your feather pillows as dry as possible. Keep your hair dry and off of a feather cushion at all costs.
  • If you want to revitalize your feather pillows, simply toss them in the dryer for 10 minutes on the air setting or low heat.


How often should I replace my pillow?

Inevitably, even the most meticulously cared-for bed linens will need to be replaced, and when that time comes, it will be time to get a new, high-quality pillow. If after 7-10 years your feather or down pillow isn’t giving you the support you need, it’s time to get a new one.

What can I do to extend the life of my feather pillow?

There are further measures you may take to prolong the life of your pillow. To prevent your pillows from becoming yellow from perspiration, drool, and natural body oils, use a pillowcase or cover. If you take nighttime showers, drying your hair before bed will help prevent stains.

Great, so what do you recommend?

Use a pillow protector at all times (protectors have zippers)

A pillowcase is a must at all times.

If you’re going to take a bath at night, make sure your hair is dry before you go to sleep, and maybe put off moisturizing until the morning.

Your best defense against the oils in your hair and skin is the previously recommended pillow protectors and pillow cases.

You should fluff your feather pillow every once in a while. Not in a dryer, but as part of your nightly routine, by hand. Most feather pillows, once squashed, never recover their original fluffy form. However, fluffing your pillow before going to bed can help’reorganize’ the feathers within, making it more supportive.

How often should I replace my feather pillow?

In technical terms, when it stops providing support. The time has come to get a new feather pillow if you find that your current one is too flat, too soft, or too lumpy to provide the necessary support for a good night’s sleep without waking up with neck ache.

How long should my feather pillow last?

If you don’t wash it too often, it should last 7-10 years, however your experience may differ. If you are prone to scrunching or folding your pillow, you should know that its lifespan will be shortened. When you fold and scrunch your pillow, you break the feathers’ quill shafts into smaller and smaller ‘pieces,’ making them sharper and more likely to poke you.

How to Wash Pillows: A Chore You Should Do Multiple Times a Year

What else can I do to extend the life of my luxury feather pillow?

Two of the three things that can ruin a pillow are under your control, so long as you avoid cat pee.

1) Compression is the first method. Compression cycles are the equivalent of hitting the hay. Seeing as you bought the pillow for sleeping on, it’s understandably a challenge to solve this problem. However, the next two can be prevented with just a pillow protector and pillowcase.

2) It’s important to tailor your Body Oil routine to your own needs, as everyone is unique and has their own unique body chemistry. There are those of us who have naturally oily hair and those of us who have naturally dry hair but an oily scalp. Over time, if not adequately handled, these oils can permeate the cushion shell.

3) Moisture. If you take evening showers and don’t dry your hair well, the moisture from your hair will seep into the pillow and stain the feathers.


Customers can add a touch of class to their bedroom with the high-quality comfort and modern aesthetic of a feather and down cushion. Quality bedding is an investment, so it’s important to take care of it properly so that it lasts for years. Even if there are instructions for washing and drying these products, you can easily take care of them in your own house. With a few extra measures, you can enjoy the luxurious sleep life for years to come.

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