How should I care for a feather pillow?

Key Takeaways
1. Washing by hand: Feather pillows can be washed by hand with a gentle detergent and a touch of white vinegar.
2. Drying: Tumble dry on a low heat, air dry, or sun dry. Always ensure the pillow is completely dry before use.
3. Avoid bleaching: Harsh chemicals can damage the feathers. Vinegar is a safer option.
4. Yearly washing: Washing feather pillows at least once a year helps maintain their freshness and comfort.

Hello, it’s Lewis here from Dream HQ, your go-to bloke for all things sleep and bedding. Today, I’m rolling up my sleeves to delve into the world of feather pillows and how to keep them shipshape.

Feathers in your cap? More like feathers in your pillow. So, let’s dive right in!

Feather Pillow TLC: A Quick Overview

  1. Washing – Handle with care, like a first date. But less frequently.
  2. Daily Care – Keep it fluffed, like a good meringue.
  3. Storage – Cool, dry, and out of the sun, like your favourite ale.

Sounds like a doddle, right? Let’s dive a bit deeper.

Did you know? During the Middle Ages in Europe, pillows were deemed a luxury item and were banned. Only pregnant women were exempt from this rule under King Henry VIII's reign.

1. Washing Your Feather Pillow

Emergency Only: Try to avoid washing them unless absolutely necessary, like when you’ve had a breakfast-in-bed mishap with your marmalade toast. For the general steps to wash a feather pillow, look below. If you’re not sure what’s safe for natural fibers, check out this article on pillow care.

1. Load ’em UpPop the pillow into a front-loading washing machine. Don’t use detergent, it’s a no-no for this operation.
2. Gentle CycleSet the washer to ‘gentle cycle’ or ‘delicate.’ Like a waltz, not a mosh pit.
3. Dry It OutAdd it to the dryer on low heat, along with a bath towel for company. Run the dry cycle, then run it again. Yes, twice. We don’t want any damp feathers, now do we?

: Check out this external guide for some more feather pillow washing wisdom.

A white pillow in on a white bed in a well lit room

2. Daily Feather Pillow Care

Feather pillows need fluffing. Daily. Like shaking out your slippers. You don’t want to sleep on a flat surface, do you? For those extra concerned about cleanliness, a pillow protector can be a great addition.

3. Feather Pillow Storage

Feather pillows aren’t vampires, but they do prefer cool, dry places away from direct sunlight. And please, don’t shove them in a plastic bag. You’ll end up with a sweaty, mouldy mess, and no one wants to sleep on that.

Keep in mind, it’s not just feather pillows that need special care. Whether it’s about dog-friendly pillows, electric blankets, or mattress preferences for side sleepers, we’ve got you covered at Dream HQ.

How to Wash a Feather Pillow by Hand

Can’t face the washing machine? No problem. Here’s the old-school way to get your feather pillows fresh and clean:

  1. Preparation: Fill a tub or basin with cold water, enough to submerge the pillow. Add a capful of gentle detergent and a quarter cup of white vinegar for a nice, fresh smell.

  2. Soaking: Let your pillow have a soak for 30 minutes to an hour. Like a relaxing bath, but for your pillow.

  3. Rinsing: After a good soak, drain the water and give the pillow a thorough rinse. Press gently to remove excess water, but be kind – don’t wring it out.

  4. Drying: Roll your pillow up in a clean towel like a Swiss roll to absorb any excess water, then let it air dry in a well-ventilated area or place it in the dryer on a low heat setting. Don’t forget to check that it’s completely dry before removing it from the dryer.

1. PreparationFill a basin with cold water. Add a capful of gentle detergent and a quarter cup of white vinegar.
2. SoakingSubmerge the pillow in the water. Let it soak for 30 minutes to an hour.
3. RinsingDrain the water and rinse the pillow with cold water. Gently press to remove excess water.
4. DryingSqueeze out any remaining water and lay the pillow flat on a clean towel. Hang it up to air dry or place it in the dryer on a low heat setting. Check that it’s completely dry before using.

How to Dry Your Feather Pillow – The Safe Way

Here’s the lowdown on getting your feather pillow dry and ready for action again.

  1. Post-Wash: Once you’ve washed your feather pillow, gently remove it from the washing machine. Don’t wring it out – you don’t want any injured feathers!

  2. Pillow Fluffing: Here comes the fun part – give your pillow a good fluff! This helps distribute the feathers evenly and opens up the fibres for quicker drying.

  3. Dryer Time: Tuck your pillow into the dryer, and set it on a low heat setting. This isn’t a roast dinner; we don’t want to cook it!

  4. Towel Company: Add a clean, dry bath towel into the dryer. It’s not just there for moral support; it will help absorb moisture and speed up the drying process.

  5. First Dry Cycle: Turn on the dryer and let the cycle run its course. Once it ends, resist the urge to take the pillow out. It’s not ready for bedtime yet!

  6. Second Dry Cycle: Yes, you heard it right – we’re doing this again. Run a second dry cycle immediately. This ensures your pillow is as dry as a bone (or as a feather in this case).

  7. The Final Check: After the second dry cycle, give your pillow a check. Make sure it’s completely dry before it leaves the dryer. No one likes a clammy pillow!

1. Post-WashRemove pillow from the washing machine. Handle it gently to avoid damaging the feathers.
2. Pillow FluffingGive your pillow a good fluff. It helps distribute feathers evenly and makes drying faster.
3. Dryer TimePut the pillow in the dryer on a low heat setting.
4. Towel CompanyAdd a clean, dry bath towel to the dryer to absorb moisture and speed up the process.
5. First Dry CycleRun a dry cycle and wait for it to finish.
6. Second Dry CycleStart a second dry cycle immediately after the first one ends.
7. The Final CheckEnsure the pillow is completely dry before removing it from the dryer.

Can You Tumble Dry Feather Pillows?

In a word, yes. Tumble drying isn’t just allowed, it’s recommended! It helps your feather pillows maintain that cloud-like fluffiness that we all love. But remember, feathers are as sensitive as a sunburnt Brit on holiday, so keep the heat low or even off.

Here’s the drill:

  1. Low Heat or No Heat: Set your tumble dryer to very low or no heat. We don’t want roast feathers.

  2. Fluffing Aids: Add a few tennis balls or wool dryer balls into the dryer. They’re not just for Wimbledon. They’ll help your pillows fluff up nicely.

  3. Dryness Check: Make sure your pillows are as dry as a perfect Martini before you remove them from the dryer. We don’t want any hidden damp patches!

1. Heat SettingSet the tumble dryer to very low or no heat. We’re drying, not cooking!
2. Fluffing AidsAdd a few tennis balls or wool dryer balls into the dryer. They’re not just for sports; they’ll help fluff your pillows.
3. Dryness CheckCheck your pillows are completely dry before removing them from the dryer. Dampness is a no-no.

How to Dry a Feather Pillow Without a Dryer

It’s a cinch! There are a few ways to dry your feather pillows without resorting to a tumble dryer.

  1. Air Drying: The old-fashioned way. Lay your damp pillow on a clothesline or a flat surface in a well-ventilated area. Let the fresh air do its thing! Just remember to flip your pillow every now and again for even drying.

  2. Sun Drying: A bit of natural heat can work wonders. The sun is not only good for topping up your tan, but it’s also a great natural disinfectant. However, be aware that too much sun can make your pillow cover fade. Rotate it periodically.

  3. Indoor Drying: If you’re short on outdoor space or the weather is as miserable as a wet weekend in Wigan, you can dry your pillow indoors. Use a fan or a dehumidifier to speed up the process.

1. Air DryingLay the pillow on a flat surface or hang it on a clothesline in a well-ventilated area. Flip it periodically for even drying.
2. Sun DryingPlace the pillow in direct sunlight. The sun acts as a natural disinfectant. Rotate the pillow to avoid fading the cover.
3. Indoor DryingDry the pillow indoors using a fan or a dehumidifier to speed up the process.

How Long Should You Tumble Dry a Feather Pillow?

Tumble drying isn’t a race. It’s all about giving your pillow enough time to dry thoroughly.

  1. Tumble Drying: On a low heat setting, 15-20 minutes should do the trick. But remember to check the pillows to make sure they’re completely dry before you let them escape from the dryer.

  2. Air Drying: If you’re air drying, you’ll need to account for the fickleness of British weather. It might take a few hours to dry completely, or if you’re in Manchester, possibly a few days!

  3. Sun Drying: If you’re lucky enough to have a sunny day, make the most of it. Sun drying can be quicker than air drying, but remember to keep an eye on your pillow to prevent any fading.

MethodEstimated Drying Time
1. Tumble Drying15-20 minutes on low heat. Always check that the pillows are completely dry before removing them from the dryer.
2. Air DryingDepending on the weather, it can take a few hours. Remember, patience is key!
3. Sun DryingQuicker than air drying, but don’t let your pillow get sunburnt! Rotate periodically to prevent fading.


Why does my feather pillow smell after washing?

That’s likely due to moisture. If the pillow isn’t completely dry, it can develop a musty smell. Always ensure your pillow is bone dry before use.

Can I bleach feather pillows?

No, avoid bleach! It’s harsh and can damage the feathers. Instead, opt for a gentle detergent and some white vinegar for a fresh and clean finish.

Can I wash feather pillows with vinegar?

Yes, absolutely! A quarter cup of white vinegar in the wash can help eliminate odours and brighten up your pillows. It’s a great, natural way to get your pillows squeaky clean.

Can I steam feather pillows?

It’s not recommended. The high heat from steaming can damage the feathers and create a breeding ground for mould. Stick to washing and thoroughly drying your pillows instead.

Is it worth washing feather pillows?

Yes, indeed! Washing your feather pillows at least once a year keeps them fresh, clean, and allergen-free. It helps extend their life and ensures they stay as comfortable as possible.

Wrapping Up

Well, we’ve been on quite the journey, haven’t we? From washing feather pillows by hand to tumble drying them, we’ve covered every angle of feather pillow care. It’s all about ensuring our pillows last longer and keep providing us with a great night’s sleep.

During our chat, we went over:

  • Washing feather pillows by hand with a gentle detergent and a splash of white vinegar
  • The tumble drying process, along with how long it takes
  • How to dry a feather pillow if you don’t have a dryer handy
  • What to do if your feather pillow gets a little whiffy after washing

To get a more in-depth look at feather pillows, be sure to visit Dream HQ. For those who like to bring their dogs into the cosy mix, we also have articles on whether dogs like pillows and if feather pillows are good for dogs. And for anyone seeking more pillow care guidelines, have a look at these guides by Peacock Alley and Homes and Gardens.

– Article by Lewis Hugh

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