How Do You Clean A Feather Pillow?

Cleaning a feather pillow requires a gentle approach to maintain its integrity and fluffiness. In brief, to clean a feather pillow, you should firstly check the care label for any specific instructions, then remove the pillowcase and use a mild detergent to wash the pillow either by hand or in a washing machine on a gentle cycle. Afterwards, thoroughly rinse the pillow and dry it completely, ideally in a dryer on a low heat setting with dryer balls to help fluff the feathers.

Understanding Feather Pillow Composition

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s essential to understand what makes feather pillows unique. Feather pillows are filled with the outer feathers of ducks or geese, which are larger and slightly stiffer compared to down feathers—the fluffy undercoat beneath the bird’s outer feathers. Feather pillows are admired for their durability, support, and softness.

Checking Labels and Manufacturer’s Advice

Most feather pillows come with a care label providing specific instructions on how to wash and dry the product safely. This label is your first go-to resource for extending the life of your pillow and keeping it clean. Manufacturers often know best when it comes to the care of their products.

Reasons for Regular Cleaning

Over time, feather pillows absorb body oils, sweat, and dust, which can compromise their comfort and hygiene. Regular cleaning is therefore essential to ensure that you have a restful sleeping environment and to extend the pillow’s lifespan. It’s recommended to clean feather pillows two to three times a year.

Preparation for Cleaning

Remove the Pillowcase and Protector

Start by removing the pillowcase and any protector that may be on the pillow. These should be washed separately according to their care instructions.

Checking for Damage

Before washing, inspect your pillow for any rips or tears. Sewing up any small holes before washing can prevent feathers from escaping and ensure that the pillow maintains its structure and comfort.

Washing a Feather Pillow

Hand Washing Method

For hand washing, fill a large basin or bathtub with lukewarm water and add a small amount of a mild detergent. Submerge the pillow completely, gently squeeze the soapy water through the feathers, and allow it to soak for a short time. Rinse thoroughly by draining the soapy water and refilling the tub with clean water multiple times until all detergent is washed out.

Machine Washing Method

If the care label indicates machine washing is safe, use a front-loading machine since a top-loader with an agitator may damage the pillow. Wash the pillow with a small amount of mild detergent on a gentle cycle with cold or warm water. It’s a good practice to wash two pillows at once to keep the machine balanced.

Detergents and Softeners

Avoid using harsh detergents, bleach, or fabric softeners, as these can break down the feathers and cause clumping. A gentle, down-specific detergent or a mild, hypoallergenic detergent is ideal for washing feather pillows.

Rinsing and Drying

Rinsing Thoroughly

Ensure you rinse the pillow thoroughly after washing to remove all traces of detergent, as residue can cause the feathers to stick together. Extra rinse cycles may be necessary.

Drying Process

The drying process is critical for feather pillows. Moisture can lead to mildew, so the pillow must be completely dry. For machine drying, use a low heat setting and toss in a few dryer balls or clean tennis balls to help break up feather clumps. Periodically stopping the dryer to fluff the pillow by hand can also help.

Air Drying

If you prefer to air dry, place the pillow in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight, which can break down the feathers. Fluff the pillow occasionally to help the feathers dry evenly.

Maintenance Between Washings

Fluffing Daily

To keep your feather pillow in top condition, give it a good fluffing daily. This helps maintain its shape and ensures that the feathers are not crushed or clumped together.

Using Pillow Protectors

Invest in a quality pillow protector that can be washed frequently. This will shield the pillow from oils, sweat, and skin cells, while still allowing you to maintain the cleanliness of the feathers less frequently.

Spot Cleaning

If your feather pillow has a minor stain, spot clean it with a mild detergent and water. Be careful not to get the feather filling too wet, and dry the area thoroughly afterwards.

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Storage and Lifespan

Proper Storage

When storing feather pillows, ensure they are clean and completely dry. Store them in a breathable fabric bag in a cool, dry place to prevent yellowing and to maintain the integrity of the feathers.

Lifespan Expectations

With proper care and cleaning, feather pillows can last many years. It’s typical for a high-quality feather pillow to have a lifespan of 8 to 10 years or more.

Finishing Thoughts

Cleaning a feather pillow correctly is vital to preserve its loft, comfort, and durability. Remember to check care instructions, use gentle cleaning methods, and ensure thorough drying to prevent mildew. Regular maintenance like fluffing and using a pillow protector can help keep your pillow fresh between washings. With consistent care, your feather pillow can remain a cozy and supportive sleeping companion for years to come. Clean wisely, sleep soundly.


  • Ollie Lane

    My name is Ollie Lane, the zestful spirit and sleep enthusiast editor at GoodSleepHub. Blending my expertise in Sleep Technology with a dash of whimsy, I'm all about transforming your nights from blah to ta-da! I believe great sleep is a blend of science, art, and a bit of fairy dust. When I'm not knee-deep in the latest sleep gadgetry or jotting down notes for my next blog post, you can find me strumming on my ukulele or chasing after my mischievous beagle, Benny. My approach to sleep is like my music: playful, innovative, and always in tune with your needs.

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