How to Clean Feather Pillows

I never thought I would say this, but I actually think the more you clean, the more you actually want to clean. It is addicting to look at the immediate results of your hard work. You see the sparkling surfaces, smell the freshly scented air, and your whole life starts to look a little crisper and clearer. So I want to keep that feeling going by adding more cleanliness and purity to my life.

So when I went to sleep the other day and took a deep contented breath, I was more than a little grossed out my a not-so-fresh hitting my nose. You’re welcome for that overshare.

Feeling empowered and invigorating by all the new cleaning products and tips I have been trying this spring, I took that momentum and used it to tackle my pillows. So on an oddly snowy Sunday this past weekend, my feather pillows got a bath in the washer.

How to Clean Feather Pillows |

How to Clean Feather Pillows

1. Grab your feather pillows – whether sleeping or inserts. We are just talking feather pillows now because cotton and other fills are different to clean.

How to Clean Feather Pillows |

2. Wash two pillows at a time to balance the washer. Make sure to use the hand wash or delicate setting. I also recommend using my no-grate laundry detergent to give a nice fresh scent.

How to Clean Feather Pillows |

How to Clean Feather Pillows |

3. After the wash cycle toss them into the dryer on your hottest setting with a tennis ball, clean tennis shoes, or dryer hedge hogs (affiliate link) like me! In the beginning I liked to fluff them every 15 minutes and just make sure they were doing okay.

How to Clean Feather Pillows |

How to Clean Feather Pillows |

Tip: These will take a long time to dry. For a more eco-friendly approach give them a short cycle in the dryer to allow them to fluff (it is essential to break up the clumps of wet feathers). Then, put them outside in a porch or covered area on a really hot day to lessen dryer time. These take a long time to dry – start them at the beginning of the day!

I was really curious on how these pillows would turn out. For some reason I was dubious if this would work. I am thrilled with how clean, fresh, and fluffy these came out of the dryer. So fluffy. I actually have a Despicable Me unicorn moment (“It’s so FLUFFY!!”)

How to Clean Feather Pillows |

Now I can breath deep before I go to bed and not be kind of grossed out by my interesting smelling pillows. Don’t worry guests, your pillows are freshly laundered as well. 🙂

PS – Don’t forget to set those DVRs local Lynchburg and Roanoke residents! I’m on WSLS Channel 10 at noon today on Daytime Blue Ridge. Spoiler: we’re talking more cleaning!

  • Aren’t fresh and clean pillows wonderful? Mine aren’t feather or down but they wash beautifully using the technique you described. I like putting them in a hot dryer to kill any creepy crawlings that might still be there post washing.

    I hope your tv segment went well!ReplyCancel

    • Thanks so much Paula! Good to know that other types of pillows wash well this way. They are so nice and fresh now! And the tv segment was really good!ReplyCancel

  • Katie

    Great tips…everyone cleans their sheets but I can only imagine how wonderfully I’ll sleep on fresh clean pillows! I’m going to try this this weekend! Where did you find your cute dryer hedge hogs?!ReplyCancel

  • durandconnie

    I’m going to try this! We tried 3X now and always end up with a ‘sour’ smell at the end. This is my husband’s favorite pillow so he wants to try again to get it right! Thank you for your post; I will be showing it to him 😀ReplyCancel

    • Oh no! A sour smell would be terrible! I didn’t end up with anything but a fresh smell! But it did take A LOT of dry time too! I hope you can get it not to smell sour!ReplyCancel

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  • Dan Kidder

    Great tip. I am going to do this tonight. Thanks.
    P.S. I am a Liberty grad living in Utah and do so miss Lynchburg.ReplyCancel

    • So glad to hear that Dan!! And how fun to find another Lynchburgian via the blog. Hope Utah is treating you well!ReplyCancel

  • Could anyone pleaaaaase help me??… what if i dont have the tennis balls or the hedgedogs… how do i do to make them fluffy? 🙁

    I only have 1 feather pillow; you think that will ruin my washing machine… seriously?ReplyCancel

    • I’ve seen people do it with old (clean) tennis shoes. The hedgehogs and tennis balls are just to stop the feathers from clumping while drying. You can buy cheap tennis balls at the dollar store if that helps!

      I’m not exactly sure about the washing machine question. I’ve only cleaned two at a time. Perhaps you can put something else in there to balance it out. A sweatshirt? Coat? Something heavier that you won’t mind getting a few feathers on?

      Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Lori

    I tried this with 2 feather pillows, they floated in washer, too bouyant to get washed. I tried holding them under water to try & get air out but they still just floated. Anyone else have this problem? I just gave up & put them outside after spinning them.They’re still out there waiting to be tossed I guess.ReplyCancel

    • I’m so sorry to hear this Lori. Were they throw pillows? Perhaps smaller pillows aren’t dense enough to absorb water and wash in the washer. Did you try running them through anyways? Maybe the rinse and spin cycles would still have gotten them clean.ReplyCancel

    • Corrine

      Maybe take them to the laundry mat??ReplyCancel

  • Carrie Morris

    I have also washed a Queen sized feather doona and sleeping bags, used the local laundromat’s large sized machines to wash and dry and my Eucalyptus wool wash. I have also washed my latex pillows …………..I’m thinking, I’m admitting to a cleaning
    addiction…….but I do wash most things.ReplyCancel

  • Love this site,thanks for including me.ReplyCancel

  • Corrine

    HAHA!!!! My husband says I’m not happy unless the washer is running….If it stands still long enough, I will wash it….
    I just got my Queen size featherbed back from dry cleaners, I’m debating on taking it to laundry mat next time 🙂
    Thanks for the info, as I do have feather pillows, too. I also have a front loader washing machine, so I don’t think they will “float.”ReplyCancel

    • Haha! That’s so funny!! I would definitely try the laundry mat to wash your featherbed next time. Save some money!ReplyCancel

  • Melinda

    This is how we wash and dry our feather pillows too. I love when the pillow is soooo fluffy and has a good smell again. Greetings from Denmark/Hungary 😉ReplyCancel

    • I totally agree! There is nothing better then fluffy, good smelling pillows!! Thanks for commenting from way over there! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • deb

    Well, last time I tried throwing a feather pillow in dryer I got a nasty burning smell so folks be leary of putting your pillows in on high.ReplyCancel

  • Linda

    my feather pillows are old, but new ones are expensive and too overstuffed. My poor old pillows fit me so perfectly! Anyway, any suggestions to actually keep the feathers in the pillows? The dryer ends up full of feathers?ReplyCancel

    • Hmm, I’m actually not too sure about that one. I didn’t lose too many feathers when I washed mine. Are you using the delicate cycles on them?ReplyCancel

      • Sharon Pikul

        Simply go to your local fabric store. You can get pillow ticking or zipper pillow covers. Stick the pillows into the zipper pillow or stitch the pillow ticking around your pillows. Sound like they are ready for a new covering.

        I even stuck two old pillows together into a new pillow ticking and made a really nice one.ReplyCancel

        • Sharon Pikul

          Also, try using a front loader and not a top loader washer. It really washes them much better and you don’t have to worry about them floating.ReplyCancel

          • Definitely! I don’t have a front loader so that would have been a trip to the laundry mat for me.

        • Thanks for the great idea!ReplyCancel

  • Kaden Joy

    I didn’t even know you could actually wash feather pillows. ThanksReplyCancel

  • Kathy

    This is definitely something to do in the late spring/summer. While I wash my pillows on gentle I spin them out on the regular or white cycle. The key is to extract as much water as possible. I will even take the pillows out of the washer, fluff up and respin again to get out even more water. I dry on medium because high will burn/ melt the feathers/down and I use the dryer buddies. I also fluff the pillows every 15-20 minutes. Down/feathers take hours to dry and never do completely in the dryer. I clip mine to a hanger and hand in direct sunlight in the summer, too much pollen in the spring. I fluff throughout the day to move the down/feathers around. It may take a few days to dry completely, but you want to make sure it’s completely dry so it won’t mildew. I then throw it back in the dryer on the air fluff cycle to suck out any pollen we might have picked up because I have bad allergies. I then put in a pillow protecter before I put it in the pillowcase. The protector can be washed often and your pillow spayed with febreeze and air fluffed in the dryer or on the line. I refresh the pillow each time I wash the protector by throwing it in the dryer or hanging it outside.This insures a really fresh pillow without the allergens or yellowed cover. You’ll only need to wash your pillow about once a year or so if you follow the above hints.ReplyCancel

    • Awesome! Thank you so much for all of your great tips and information!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie Morris

    I also place my pillows in the freezer for 24 hours to kill any dust mites, also grandsons fluffy toys as he suffers with asthma.
    I usually give then a good shake or cool/warm tumble dry, then out on the line on a good sunny autumn or winter day. Lucky we live in Queensland Australia most days are sunny even in winter.ReplyCancel

    • Cool! I have never heard of placing the pillows in the freezer! Great tip!ReplyCancel