19. How to Wash Down and Feather Pillows1

Check out this guide to learn the distinctions between down and feather pillows and how to care for your feather pillow if you’re the proud owner of one.

Washing your pillow every six months is crucial because over time, dead skin cells, sweat, and oil that you produce while you sleep find their way inside. After all, you rest your head on it every single night.

What Are the Differences Between Down and Feather Pillows?

There is frequent confusion between the terms down and feather pillows. But they are distinct from one another, and understanding the distinctions will help you decide which pillow to use each night.

Goose and duck underbelly and chest feathers are used to make down pillows. These feathers are valued for their exceptional softness and lack of quills. As well as lasting longer than feather pillows, down pillows are less likely to compact.

A less expensive option to down pillows is feather pillows. Duck and goose feathers from the back and wings are used as fill and are frequently combined with some down to add additional softness. You might eventually find a feather poking through because these feathers have quills in them. Pulling it out is very satisfying, so do it now.

19. How to Wash Down and Feather Pillows2

How to Wash Down and Feather Pillows in the Washing Machine

Your down and feather pillows will be revitalized by a home wash, and you’ll avoid having to take them to the dry cleaners. To keep your pillows soft and fluffy, adhere to these instructions.

Step 1: Remove the cover

The majority of down and feather pillows have a covering for protection. This cover should be removed and set aside for later washing.

Step 2: Balance things out

To prevent your washing machine from spinning out of balance, always wash two pillows at once. Use a poly-fill pillow or throw a blanket in if you don’t have two down pillows.

Step 3: Choose the right water temperature and cycle

Use cold water to wash your down pillows. Some shrinkage might happen if you use warm or hot water. Set the machine to the gentle cycle, which has a shorter wash cycle and lower spin speeds to lessen the chance of needless and potentially damaging agitation reaching your pillows.

Step 4: Use a gentle detergent

When using a detergent, try to find one that is designed to wash down. If not, use a tiny bit of a mild, natural laundry detergent free of chemicals like bleach and synthetic fragrance as well as fabric softeners.

Step 5: Run an extra rinse cycle

To ensure that there is no remaining soap residue on your pillows, set your washer to run a second rinse cycle.

How to Wash Feather Pillows

Good news: You can wash these pillows in your washer. We advise employing a front- or top-loading machine devoid of an agitator, also known as a. the large spindle found in the middle of some machines, designed to help rotate water and clothes. Place the pillows vertically in the tub if you can only use a top loader with an agitator because this will reduce the likelihood that the agitator will wrap them around and damage them.

Another thing to check for before washing is whether the pillow cover has any tears or slits in it. Load two pillows at a time and use the minimum amount of detergent for balance. We recommend Good Housekeeping Seal holder Gain Liquid Detergent ($43 for a 2-pack, amazon.com). After giving the pillows a second rinse, switch the machine to the delicate cycle.

How to Dry

Put the machine with your pillows inside. “In the Good Housekeeping Institute, we toss in a few rubber dryerballs, like Nellie’s ($14 for a 2-pack, amazon.com), to help plump the filling and keep it from clumping as it dries,” says The Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab’s director, Carolyn Forte Additionally, it’s a good idea to periodically remove the pillows and fluff them manually, breaking up any clumps with your fingers. Pillows will require more time to dry than a typical load of laundry. Set them in the sun for a few hours if they smell musty.

When to Replace

No matter how meticulously you clean your pillows, you’ll eventually need to replace them. However, how do you determine when to throw? “If you fold the pillow in half, and it doesn’t spring back into shape, plan for a shopping trip,” says Forte. Use liners under your pillowcases and wash them once a month to keep pillows cleaner for longer.


How Often Should I Clean Pillows?

The majority of pillows can be machine washed, whether they are made of synthetic materials (often polyester) or natural fibers (like down). To get rid of bacteria, odors, and mold, they should be cleaned every three to six months. To make sure a pillow is not dry-clean only, check the tag’s instructions.

What Temperature to Wash Feather Pillows

Always use the delicate cycle when washing feather pillows. Hot water can effectively get rid of things like dust mites, but it can damage your pillow, so use warm or cool.

How to Wash Feather Pillows in Washing Machine

Choose a low-sudsing laundry detergent when washing down pillows to avoid soap residue and to avoid having the feathers clump together. Additionally, remember to use less detergent than usual and to wash the feather filling on the delicate cycle in your washing machine.

How to Clean Feather Pillows Without Washing Machine

Freshening down and feather pillows in between washings is a good idea. Simply put your down pillows in the dryer with a damp washcloth, three dryer balls, and your favorite fabric softener sheet. Tumble dry on low heat for 15-20 minutes for fluffy and refreshed pillows for your bedroom.