How to Clean an Old Feather Pillow

Feather pillows provide a soft, fluffy place to rest your weary head each night. Down pillows are often more expensive than those containing other fillers, so extending their life is vital to your wallet. Old feather pillows may develop a musty smell or just become soiled with regular use. Proper cleaning returns the pillows to their former condition, but this must be done correctly so the feathers do not mat and the pillows do not lose their loft.

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Down feathers provide the soft fluffiness prized in feather pillows.

Step 1

Inspect the seams of the pillow casing for broken or loose threads before laundering. Hand or machine sew weak seams so the casing does not break open and release the feathers during washing.

Step 2

Fill the washing machine with warm water and a mild detergent. Place up to two pillows in the washer tub once it is filled.

Step 3

Close the washing machine and run it on the gentle cycle for four to eight minutes. Do not wash for a full cycle, as this can break the quills or permanently mat the feathers.

Step 4

Adjust the washing machine to the rinse cycle. Run the rinse cycle three times to ensure all the detergent is removed from the feathers. Detergent residue weighs down the feathers and causes them to lose their loft.

Step 5

Place the pillows in the dryer and set the dryer on the gentle or low-heat setting. Place two tennis balls in the dryer with the pillows, as these help fluff the feathers as the pillows dry.

Step 6

Run the dryer for two to three cycles, or until the pillows are completely dry. Remove the pillows from the dryer after each cycle and fluff them by hand to keep the feathers evenly distributed within the casing.