Ultimate Guide on How to Wash and Dry Feather Pillows

Feather pillows are quite demanding when it comes to care and maintenance. Feathers cannot be classified as durable material. If you do decide to wash your feather pillow at home, check the label first. There they usually write the recommended cleaning options, modes and washing temperature.

If feather pillows are not washed correctly, they will lose all their properties. That is why you need to know how to care for them. And here is your ultimate guide on how to wash and dry feather pillows.

How often should you wash feather pillows? Feather pillows should be washed twice a year. However, if you notice an unpleasant smell, you should wash feather pillows every three months. Feather pillow gets heavier and harder over time due to the absorption of dust, mould, bacteria and dead skin particles that we leave on the pillow when your face touches it. That is why it is crucial to keep feather pillows clean.

Washing Feather Pillows in the Washing Machine

Can you machine wash feather pillows? You can machine wash feather pillows. It is necessary to wash the pillow at 30 degrees by selecting the “Delicate wash” mode. You can put several tennis balls in the drum of the washing machine. You can dry the feathers of the pillow on the balcony or outdoors. If the feathers are clumped after washing, separate them.

Washing of feather pillows is not only possible but essential. You can easily wash your feather pillows in the washing machine at home if you follow these rules:

  • If the feather pillow fits entirely into the drum, then it can be washed without removing the filler. It is optimal to wash two feather pillows at once, but at the same time, there should be at least 1/3 of the empty space in the drum. Otherwise, you will have to open the pillow, take out the filler and place it in separate fabric bags.
  • It is recommended to knock out the pillow before washing.
  • Sew several fabric covers in advance, in which you will place the contents of the pillow (down and feather). The width of the cover should be the same as the width of the pillow, and the length should be 2 times longer. Feathers and down should fit loosely in this pouch so they stretch better and will be easier to dry.
  • You can use any fabric as the cover for feathers and down. You can choose from cotton, chintz or flannel. However, do not choose too dense material as the feather will take a very long time to dry.
  • Use detergents for washing delicate fabrics without conditioner and rinse aid. Choose the right detergent that will not spoil the texture of the feathers and will completely remove it from their surface during washing.
    It is better to use liquid detergent. It will penetrate into the fabric and thoroughly remove dirt from down and feathers. And it will not leave marks and stains, which is often the case with ordinary powders.
    Use liquid detergents for wool and chlorine-free bleach.
  • What temperature do you wash feather pillows? The water temperature during the washing of feather pillows and rinsing should not exceed 40 degrees. It is advisable to wash the pillow at 30 degrees by selecting the “Delicate wash” mode.
  • If your machine has a duvet mode, turn it on.
  • It is not recommended to wash pillows larger than 50 x 70 cm by yourself, as it will be difficult to dry them at home.
  • Can you use bleach on feather pillows? You can use bleach on feather pillows as long as this is a chlorine-free bleach. If you want to make your feather pillow smell good, you can make a bleach solution.
    Take 0.5 l of water, 2 tablespoons of chlorine-free bleach and add 15 drops of lavender or orange essential oil. Pour this solution in the washing machine and your pillow will smell amazing. 
  • After the washing, leave feather pillows in the washing machine for 30-40 minutes to get rid of excess moisture.
  • Put 2-3 tennis balls (or rubber of a similar size) in the drum, then during washing, they will break the collected feathers and release the stuck dirt and dust lumps.
  • Thoroughly dry the feather pillow filler, otherwise, the presence of excess moisture will negatively affect its further operation.
    How do you dry feather pillows after washing? You can dry the contents of the pillow on the balcony, outdoors or indoors. If the feathers are clumped after washing, separate them. Many washing machines have a drying function. However, you cannot completely dry a feather pillow with it. A little moisture will remain in any case.
  • Wash your feather pillows periodically to keep them clean for good health and sleep.

You need to be prepared to wash your feather pillow. It is advisable to do this on weekends as washing and drying can take several hours. Follow the instructions above and the washing process will not seem complicated and time-consuming to you.

Hand Washing Feather Pillows

  • Take the feathers out of a pillow and put them in separate cotton bags.
  • Tightly tie up the bags, otherwise, light fluff will scatter throughout the room. After all the fluff is immersed in the liquid, stir it slightly with your hands and leave to soak for 4–6 hours.
  • Then remove the filler from the cleaning solution and rinse with clean water. It is better to do this with a shower.
  • If you want to give your feathers a scent, you can treat them with fabric softener before the final rinse.
  • To dry the feather filler, spread it out on a flat surface in a well-ventilated area and cover with a cloth. The feather will take a long time to dry, usually several days.
  • Sew the dried, clean fluff into a new pillowcase. Remember that you need to wait until the feather is completely dry, and only then lay it out on the napkins. Otherwise, excess moisture will spoil the filler, and it will be impossible to fix the situation.

As you can see, the principles remain the same for hand washing. Wash the pillow in warm water with a dash of detergent and a dash of bleach. Leave the pillow in this mixture, then squeeze and rinse several times to remove the soap solution.

Place the wrung-out pillow on a horizontal surface for a while to allow excess water to drain off before placing it in the dryer. Beat well after all procedures.

Feather Pillows Washing Video Guide

Why Do Feather Pillows Smell After Washing? How Do You Deodorize a Feather Pillow?

If you noticed that your feather pillow smells after washing, do the following:

  • Pour soda ash into the washing machine instead of your regular laundry powder. Wash, rinse.
  • The baking soda will make the feather sticky. Therefore, after rinsing, soak the feathers for an hour in a solution of 10 litres of water with one tablespoon of ammonia.
  • Return the feather pouches to the washer for another high rinse.
  • Dry again for a few days.

Dry the pillow in the sun under a gentle breeze. If you do this in the morning, then by the evening it will be disinfected, the smell will disappear, provided that it was not very strong.

You can take the product to dry cleaning — professionals will solve the problem for sure. But keep in mind that the cost of services may approach the price of a new pillow. Therefore, it is worth considering – which is better: to clean the old or buy new pillows.

Do not try to remove the smell from the pillow with a steamer. It will damp it even more, and the disgusting smell will become stronger.

How To Clean Your Pillow — It’s Easy!

How Do You Dry Feather Pillows After Washing?

After excess moisture from the feather pillow dries out, you need to get it out and place it on a flat surface, periodically turning it over to the other side for even drying. Or you can pick it up on a clothesline with clothespins and wait a day until it dries, periodically turning it over and whipping it so that the feathers are fluffy.

Washing in a washing machine on an automatic mode is better because after it the feathers dry out faster than with a manual method.

Drying feather pillows outside: You should only do this on warm summer days. Use your hands to crush the lumps and place them in the fabric bags. Hang in the shade so that the wind blows from all sides. Drying feathers in the sun can cause the feathers to lose their firmness and structure. Shake and knead feathers in pouches periodically as it improves ventilation.

Drying feather pillows on a radiator: The pillow gets a fresh smell in the cold. But frost can only kill germs, not dry out the fluff. Therefore, it is better to dry pillows on radiators at home in winter.

Drying feather pillows indoors: It is recommended to thoroughly ventilate the area before drying. On a vertical surface, spread the moisture-absorbing fabric folded in several layers. Spread feathers in a thin layer and plump up the pillow occasionally with your hands.

How to Dry Feathers from a Pillow

If the feathers were washed separately in fabric bags, the procedure is similar to that applied to drying the pillow, but it will take much less time: 12-14 hours, after which the dry filler can be sewn into a new pillowcase.

Can feather pillows be taken out in the cold? Yes, it is recommended to take them out in the cold to prevent the appearance of dust mites. Six to eight hours in winter in the cold is enough to freeze most of the microorganisms and insects inside. Also, during this time, the pillow should be beaten regularly so that cold air penetrates into the very centre of the filler, where parasites can collect.

But drying a wet feather pillow in the cold is not recommended. It is best to schedule your wash for the warm season and dry your pillow in the sun.

Can Feather Pillows Be Dry Cleaned?

Feather pillows can be dry cleaned and you need to do this if:

  • the feather pillow does not hold the desired shape;
  • inside, the fluff gets lost in rough lumps and begins to cause discomfort when lying on it;
  • the pillowcase is significantly worn out and there are traces of dirt on it;
  • the feather pillow began to smell unpleasant.

If you are an owner of a feather pillow,  remember that it requires proper care. Regular wet washing with soap and water can only harm the feather pillow, so, it is better to use the services of a cleaning specialist and dry clean it. Moreover, it is possible to get rid of the unfavourable flora in the filler only by professional methods.

How Long Do Feather Pillows Last?

Feather pillows are pretty durable and they last up to five years. It is very important to look after your feather pillow properly to extend its lifespan. You need to do the following:

  • Do not store feather pillows in a damp room.
  • Plump up feather pillows every morning and before going to sleep. It contributes to oxygen saturation and feather elasticity.
  • Ventilate feather pillows on fresh air every 2-3 months. Do not place feather pillows in direct sunlight. In the winter season, ventilate them for several hours outdoors.
  • Periodically vacuum the feather pillows (once a month).
  • Wash feather pillows not only at home but also to give them to professional dry cleaning and bactericidal treatment.
  • Remove dust from the pillow periodically by beating with a flat plastic clapper on both sides.
  • Do not store feather pillows in plastic bags. It is recommended to use a cover made of natural fabric for this purpose.
  • To avoid contamination of the pillowcase, it is recommended to use an additional cotton pillowcase.
  • Do not lie on a pillow with wet hair as moisture quickly destroys the structure of the fluff.
  • Dirty feathers contain harmful bacteria. If the pillow has been stored in the attic or closet for a long time, do not rush to use it. It is recommended to open the pillowcase and make sure that the filler and the pillowcase are not infected with fungus.
    Improper care of feathers results in the accumulation of microscopic mites that are dangerous to health.


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