Down pillows are durable enough to last up to 10 years with proper care and maintenance. They conform naturally to the shape of your head, neck and shoulders than synthetic pillows do, and they fluff up to their original shape far more readily than foam or other synthetic fills. Washing and drying feather pillows takes a bit of effort, but unless you have an allergy to water fowl, the comfort and support are worth the extra time.
Washing Your Feather Pillow
Before you can dry your feather pillow, you have to wash it. This is easily done in any washing machine. First, examine your pillows to make sure they have no small rips or tears. If so, repair the tears with a needle and thread. Wash two feather pillows at a time to keep your washing machine's drum balanced. If you have a top-loading washer with a center agitator, stand your pillows up vertically. This will help keep them from getting wrapped around the agitator. Use a gentle detergent and do not add bleach. Don't use fabric softener, either, as it can cause the feathers to clump.
The Spin Cycle
The first step in thoroughly drying your feather pillows is to get as much of the water out of them as possible while they are still in the washing machine. Once the first wash cycle is done, run the pillows through a second rinse cycle to make sure that all of the detergent has been removed. Next, run the pillows through at least one more spin cycle. If they still feel very wet, run them through a second spin cycle.
Into the Dryer
Take your feather pillows out of the washing machine and fluff them up. They might have a slight odor, but that's normal for wet feathers. Place them in your dryer, adding a dryer sheet if you like. You can also add a pair of clean tennis balls or dryer balls. These help fluff the pillows as they dry. Dry your pillows on low or medium heat to avoid scorching the feathers or shrinking the fabric covers.
Fluff Them Up
Stop the dryer two or three times during its cycle and take the pillows out. Use your hands to fluff them up, turning them over several times and fluffing them from all directions. This rearranges the feathers inside, helping to ensure that they all dry evenly. As the feathers dry, the slight odor will disappear. Drying feather pillows can take as long as two to three hours, so be patient and keep fluffing.
Care and Maintenance
Feather pillows should be washed at least every six months to remove dead skin cells, sweat, saliva and skin and hair oils. You can wash them every three months, but washing them more often that that could cause unnecessary wear and tear to the fabric covers.
Brynne Chandler built her first bookcase at eight years old, which is also right around the time she started writing. An avid crafter, decorator and do-it-yourselfer, Brynne has remodeled several homes including one cantilevered on a cliff and one that belonged to Olympic swimmer and actor Buster Crabbe. Best known for her EMMY-nominated TV animation writing, she has been writing non-fiction content for almost a decade and has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle online, among other places.