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    A Guide to Washing Feather Pillows

    20 Dec 2023

    Maintaining the quality and comfort of feather pillows requires proper care and cleaning. Feather pillows, favoured for their luxurious softness and excellent support, can last for many years if treated correctly. Washing these pillows can seem intimidating, but with the right approach, it can be a straightforward task that preserves their loftiness and fresh feel. Regular cleaning not only extends the lifespan of your feather pillows but also ensures a hygienic and allergen-free sleep environment.

    Before embarking on the washing process, it's essential to inspect your pillows and adhere to any specific care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Successful cleaning of feather pillows involves gentle handling to protect the delicate feathers while effectively removing dust, dirt, and potential allergens. By combining gentle washing techniques and thorough drying methods, you can refresh your feather pillows without compromising their integrity.

    Key Takeaways

    • Proper care prolongs the life and comfort of feather pillows.
    • Checking care labels and pillow condition is crucial before washing.
    • Gentle washing and thorough drying are key to maintaining pillow quality.

    Understanding Feather Pillows

    Feather pillows are a popular choice for sleep comfort, valued for their natural softness and support. Consisting of feathers from birds like geese or ducks, these pillows offer a unique combination of plushness and elasticity.

    Composition: Your feather pillow typically contains two types of feathers:

    • Softer, smaller feathers: Located closer to the bird's body, these provide gentle cushioning.
    • Larger, quill-feathers: Found on the outer layers of birds, adding structure and support to the pillow.

    It is essential to know that feather pillows may also include a proportion of down for additional softness, as down is the layer found beneath the feathers of birds and does not have quills.


    • Durability: Feather pillows tend to last longer than synthetic alternatives if properly cared for.
    • Breathability: The natural materials allow for better air circulation, reducing the buildup of moisture and heat.
    • Adjustability: The contents can be shifted to suit your preferred sleeping position.


    • Allergies: Some individuals might be allergic to feathers. Hypoallergenic options are available.
    • Maintenance: Feather pillows require regular fluffing to maintain their loft and even distribution of feathers.
    • Cleaning: It’s crucial to follow proper cleaning methods to preserve the integrity of the feathers.

    Remember, the longevity of your feather pillow depends on understanding its material composition and diligently adhering to care instructions.

    Pre-Wash Preparations

    Before proceeding with washing your feather pillows, it’s essential to prepare them in order to prevent damage and ensure thorough cleaning. Adhering to specific pre-wash steps will help maintain the integrity and comfort of your pillows.

    Pillow Inspection

    First, carefully examine your pillow for any rips or tears in the fabric. If you find any damage, it's crucial to mend these areas to avoid feathers escaping during the washing process. Also, confirm that the care label indicates the pillow is machine washable. If your pillow has foam or other materials, hand-washing might be necessary as these can deteriorate in a machine.

    Spot Cleaning Methods

    For any visible spots or stains, spot cleaning is advised before the full wash. Use a mild detergent and gently work on the stains with a soft cloth. Pat the area rather than scrubbing to prevent feather damage.

    • Light Stains: Dilute a small amount of detergent in water and blot gently.
    • Heavy Stains: Apply a mixture of equal parts water and detergent directly to the stain before gently patting.

    Allow the pillow to air dry completely before placing it in the washing machine.

    Detergent Selection

    Choosing the right detergent can enhance the life of your feather pillows. Opt for a mild, liquid detergent that's suitable for delicate fabrics. Avoid using bleach or fabric softener as these can break down the feathers and strip them of their natural oils.

    • Recommended: Gentle, liquid, non-bleach detergent.
    • Avoid: Bleach, fabric softeners, and harsh chemicals.

    Washing Process

    Before you begin the washing process, ensure that you check the care tag for any specific instructions and inspect the pillow for tears or slits.

    Machine Washing Steps

    • Preparation: Check the pillow's care label. If machine washable, proceed with the following steps.
    • Machine Settings: Use a gentle cycle with warm water to protect the feathers.
    • Detergent: Add a small amount of a mild detergent. Too much can strip the feathers of their natural oils.
    • Balance: Wash two pillows together to keep the machine balanced during the spin cycle.
    • Rinse: Ensure to rinse thoroughly, possibly with an extra rinse cycle, to remove all soap residue.
    • Drying: Tumble dry on a low heat setting with dryer balls or tennis balls to help break up feather clumps.

    Hand Washing Techniques

    • Basin Cleaning: Fill a large basin or bathtub with lukewarm water and a small amount of gentle detergent.
    • Submerge & Soak: Gently press down on the pillows to fully submerge them and let them soak for a short period.
    • Rinse: Carefully rinse out all the detergent with fresh water until the water runs clear.
    • Press Out Water: Do not wring the pillows; instead, press out the excess water gently.
    • Drying: Air dry the pillows flat, away from direct sunlight or heat, turning and fluffing periodically.

    Drying and Fluffing

    After washing your feather pillows, thorough drying and fluffing are essential to maintain their loft and comfort.

    Drying Feather Pillows

    Place your cleaned feather pillows in the dryer. Use a low heat setting to prevent damage to the delicate feathers. To aid in the drying process, add a few clean tennis balls or dryer balls; these will help fluff the feathers and ensure even drying. Regularly check the pillow throughout the drying cycle to confirm that no damp spots remain.

    Fluffing Techniques

    Once dry, remove your pillows from the dryer. Vigorously fluff them by hand to redistribute the feathers evenly. This restores their original volume and maximises comfort. For best results, do this by grabbing the pillow on either side and pushing the ends toward each other in a folding motion, then releasing. Repeat this several times from different angles.

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