How to Clean a Feather Pillow

So you have decided it’s time to clean you much beloved feather pillow. Since every material used to stuff a pillow is different with different characteristics, the cleaning needs may differ as a direct result.

Proper care of feather pillows can ensure that the pillow lasts as long as needed while ridding the pillow free of allergens and dead skin cells that often plague bedding. Special care is also required for each step, making the process different than just washing a load of laundry.

Step 1: Inspection


Remember to remove the pillow from the case. If the pillow is inside an additional zippered case for protection, remove the pillow from that too.

Before washing, carefully look for a slit or tear in the pillow as this can lead to a large mess if not caught in time. Also, keep a watchful eye out for any weak stitching as the tossing and turning of a washing machine can cause this to weaken further, leading to a tear.

Step 2: Washing

How to Clean a Feather PillowWhen washing your pillows, only put two pillows in the machine at a time. Even though the machine may seem full, only a small amount of detergent is needed for a single load of pillows.

If you’re experiencing trouble fitting the pillows into the drum of the washing machine, try squeezing the pillow while trying to fit it into the machine. This may help to maneuver the pillow into the machine.

When adjusting the settings to wash the pillows, choose the delicate setting. This will stop your pillows from receiving an assault from the washing machine.

The water setting chosen is a personal preference. If you’re worried mostly about killing dust mites, choose to wash your pillows in hot water. Keep in mind that hot water may damage feathers. If you’re concerned with the quality of the feathers post wash, use cold water.

Make sure all of the soap suds is rinsed from your pillows. If your machine has the option, it may be preferable to choose an extra rinse cycle.

Step 3: Drying

Unlike a typical load switch when washing clothes, an extra step should be taken. This is to make sure the pillow dries properly.

Between transferring the pillows from washer to dryer, the feather pillow should be squeezed using a towel. Without this step, your pillow may not fully dry while in the wash.

After placing the pillows into the dryer, several hard items should be put into the dryer to help the pillows regain fluff. Suggested items include several dryer balls, clean tennis shoes or sneakers, or tennis balls put into socks.

Optionally, the pillows can be removed periodically through the drying cycle to be fluffed. This can help to break up any clumps of feathers within the pillow.

Step 4: Post Dryer

Once the feather pillows have completed drying, they can be fluffed manually further regain their original shape and fluff. This can be done by kneading and shaking the feather pillows by holding the two short sides and shaking the pillow up and down.

Only when the pillow is completely dry should it be placed in a clean pillow case and used. If the pillow is still damp while being used again, mildew can grow inside of the feather pillow.

Tips for Treating Odors, Yellow Stains, or Mildew

If the feather pillow has an unsightly yellow stain, or has an odor from continual use of mildew soak the pillow before washing. Soak the pillows in one cup of hydrogen peroxide and half of a cup of white vinegar before washing the feather pillows with detergent.

If your pillow doesn’t have unsightly yellow stains, but has an odor from use or mildew, another option is to treat the pillow with baking soda. To do so, add 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of baking soda into the washing washing with the detergent before starting the cycle.

Does the feather pillow smell musty after being washed? H.C. Carleston from Good House Keeping suggests laying the pillows out in the sun for a few hours.

Another option to rid your pillows of mildew and possibly mold is to add 1/2 to one cup of white vinegar to the load of laundry. This is also useful for getting rid of an odors.

Essential oils such as lavender, rosemary, or vanilla can be added to the cycle. Any of these essential oils can add a subtle, relaxing smell to the feather pillows.