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    goose down pillow

    Can I Wash Goose Down Pillows?

    29 Dec 2022

    As a filling, goose down delivers the height of luxury for pillows and duvets. Bedding made with goose down comes with the longest lifespan over its synthetic and feather alternatives; with the right care, you can get up to a decade of usage out of your goose down pillows. And, as is the case with the rest of your bedding, this care will involve the periodic washing of your pillows.

    Yes, you can wash goose down pillows, and should do so every 3 to 6 months. Washing goose down pillows is as simple as throwing them in your washing machine; the natural down filling in these pillows is highly durable and will therefore withstand machine washing. Not only will machine washing keep your pillows clean, it will also revive the texture and shape of the filling. Following the correct washing and drying process will leave you with fresh, fluffy pillows that feel as good as new.

    Can I Wash Goose Down Pillows?

    Yes, you can wash goose down pillows at home with ease. Washing your goose down pillows is essential to keep them clean and free of unwanted substances that can impact their hygiene and comfort. 

    How Often Should I Wash Goose Down Pillows?

    You should wash goose down pillows every 3 to 6 months to keep them fresh and clean. Even if they don’t appear dirty, particles invisible to the naked eye will accumulate on your pillows over time. 

    Particles like oil, skin cells, dirt, and dander will collect on your bedding as you use it; this is inevitable as our bodies naturally shed and sweat while we sleep. Although pillowcases absorb the majority of these particles, they will permeate through to the pillow and build up in its filling. This is why it’s important to wash your pillows regularly; regular washing is essential not only for hygiene reasons, but also to keep the pillows fluffy and plump. 

    At a minimum, you should wash goose down pillows every 6 months. If you tend to sweat a lot, or you’re a regular user of skin or hair products, it’s better to wash your pillows every 3 months instead. Furthermore, those with allergies or acne-prone skin would benefit from washing their bedding even more often than this. 

    washing a pillow in washing machine

    Can I Wash Goose Down Pillows in the Washing Machine?

    Yes, the best way to wash goose down pillows is to put them in the washing machine. For synthetic pillows, machine washing can be risky, whereas this is the easiest and safest way to wash goose down pillows. 

    Pillows with synthetic fillings like polyester are more delicate, making it difficult to wash them without impacting their structure. Attempting to wash a synthetic pillow in the washing machine can leave it lumpy and misshapen; even if it survives the first wash, repeated washes in the washing machine will take its toll on the synthetic filling. This ultimately leaves synthetic pillows unusable after several machine washes.

    Goose down pillows, on the other hand, contain a natural filling that responds very well to machine washing. Running these pillows through a washing machine revitalises the goose down filling, leaving them as fluffy as they were when new. 

    How to Wash Goose Down Pillows in the Washing Machine

    1. Remove Pillowcases and Protectors

    Remove all pillowcases and coverings from your goose down pillows. You can wash these separately to your pillows later. 

    2. Look Over Pillows for Rips or Holes

    Look over the pillows for any rips or holes exposing the filling. Any holes may cause the filling to escape during washing; you should therefore use a needle and thread to repair them before putting them in the machine. 

    3. Wash Pillows Two at a Time

    When washing your goose down pillows, it’s best practice to run the pillows through the machine two at a time. Doing so will help to keep the drum balanced during the machine’s spin cycle. Front-loading washing machines that lack an agitator are ideal for washing pillows; with that said, any machine will work well providing that the pillows fit in the drum. 

    4. Use Gentle Detergent

    It’s best to use a gentle, low-sudsing detergent to wash your goose down pillows; you should also use less detergent than you normally would for a full load of washing. This is to prevent soap residue from forming on the pillows which may cause the down filling to clump. As a note, we recommend against using a fabric softener as this too can weigh down the pillows. 

    5. Set Water Temperature

    You can either use cold, warm, or hot water to wash your goose down pillows. Washing on a higher temperature will be most effective at killing bacteria and dust mites; however, hot water carries the most risk of damaging the filling or causing fabric shrinkage. If in doubt, opt for warm or cool water to wash your pillows.

    6. Add Extra Rinse and Spin Cycle

    Although it isn’t absolutely necessary, it’s a good idea to run your pillows through an extra rinse and spin cycle after washing. This will rid the pillows and their filling of any excess water or soap residue before the drying process. 

    How to Dry Goose Down Pillows After Washing

    1. Towel Dry Pillows

    Before you put them in the tumble dryer, you should remove as much excess water from the pillows as possible. Place the pillows between two towels and press down on them; this will force out the water from the pillows to be soaked up by the towels. For this step, avoid wringing or twisting the pillows, as this can cause damage to the down filling. 

    2. Place Dryer Balls in Tumble Dryer

    They aren’t vital, but if you have them to hand, we recommend throwing a few dryer balls in with your pillows. Dryer balls will help to keep the filling of the pillows fluffy and clump-free during the drying process. 

    3. Dry Pillows in Tumble Dryer

    Put your pillows into the tumble dryer. Dry the pillows using a low-heat or no-heat cycle. The best method is to use a no-heat cycle; even though it will take a few rounds, this will completely eliminate the risk of damaging the filling. A low-heat setting may get the job done more quickly but carries more risk of damaging the filling. 

    4. Check Pillows Between Cycles

    While they’re in the dryer, keep checking your pillows between cycles. Take the pillows out every so often to fluff up the filling by hand; this will prevent the down from clumping, in turn speeding up the drying process. 

    5. Shape Pillows When Dry

    Once the pillows are completely dry, give them a final fluff by hand to ensure the filling is evenly distributed. You can get rid of any remaining clumps by massaging the filling; you can also hold the pillows by their corners and give them a firm shake to restore their shape. 

    downland pillow

    How to Keep Goose Down Pillows Fresh Between Washes

    Going through the entire process of washing and drying your goose down pillows isn’t the only way to refresh them. You can maintain your pillows at peak freshness between washes by following these tips. 

    Air the Pillows Out

    Airing your pillows out is an easy way to freshen them up and rid them of any unpleasant smells. We particularly recommend airing out your goose down pillows if they’re new; when you first purchase them, goose down pillows can give off a particular aroma due to their natural down filling. 

    You can remove this scent, or any other unpleasant smells, by sprinkling some baking soda onto the pillows and leaving them outside to air. Doing this every so often is an effective way to keep your pillows fresh between washes. 

    Lay the Pillows in the Sun

    If the weather provides it, airing your pillows in the sunshine is an even more effective way to refresh them. Exposing the pillows to direct sunlight will further help to reduce any unpleasant odours; it will also kill off bacteria and dust mites that may be present on the pillows. 

    On sunny days, lay your pillows out in the sunlight for at least 30 minutes. The best time to do this would be around midday when the sun is at its highest point. 

    Fluff the Pillows

    Your goose down pillows may become flat and lose some of their softness between washes. Instead of going through the whole washing process, you can use a shortcut method to fluff up your pillows.

    Put your pillows in the tumble drier, along with a damp cloth, three dryer balls, and a fabric softener sheet. Tumble dry the pillows on a low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes before removing them from the dryer. Your pillows should come out fluffy and soft, reviving them before the next wash is due. 

    Use a Pillowcase and Pillow Protector

    This may be an obvious tip, but using pillowcases and pillow protectors is a simple way to keep your pillows fresh. Pillowcases and protectors act as barriers to catch sweat, oil, and saliva before they permeate into the pillows’ filling. 

    Purchase some high-quality pillowcases to cover your goose down pillows. If you want to add an extra layer of protection, use a pillow protector underneath the pillowcase. You should wash or change your pillowcases at least once per week; change your pillowcases more often if you have acne-prone skin or you use overnight hair or skin products.

    Dry Hair and Avoid Applying Products Before Bed

    Sleeping with wet hair will bog down your pillows, as will sleeping with hair or skin products on your body. Pillowcases and pillow protectors can only do so much in protecting your pillows from these substances.

    To maintain the freshness of your pillows between washes, avoid going to sleep with wet or damp hair. If possible, try to limit your use of hair and skin products like masques and moisturisers to the morning.

    When Should I Replace Goose Down Pillows?

    You should replace your goose down pillows when they lose their shape and fullness, i.e. when they no longer provide support. If you can fold the pillow in half and it doesn’t bounce back, this is a sign it’s time for replacement. 

    A well-kept goose down pillow can last up to 5 to 10 years before needing replacement. The natural goose down filling is highly durable and will therefore withstand regular washing for several years. 

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