Imagine you pull your pillows out of the dryer and there it is. That horrible, musty smell. You fear the worst, that your down and feather pillow is ruined. Has this ever happened to you? After 5 years working at, I have learned many pillow tips and tricks but the most valuable lesson I have learned is how to properly wash down and feather pillows. Too many people have ruined expensive down and feather pillows while trying to launder them. Well, no more ruined pillows on my watch! 99% of the time the same mistake is being made which is not allowing enough drying time. That's the last, most crucial step. But before we get to the end, let's start at the beginning.

Step 1 - Wash in COLD water with a MILD detergent. Don’t use a scented laundry detergent or scented laundry beads. Perfumes have oils which latch onto the down and feathers and can cause a bad mildew smell later. My approved mild detergent s are as follows : ALL free and clear, ECOS Laundry Detergent, Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Detergent, and TIDE free and gentle. Stay away from laundry pods.  Add an extra spin cycle to your wash if you have that setting. You want to wring out as much water as possible. 

Step 2 - Dry on low heat with no scented dryer sheets. Add some clean tennis balls or dryer balls to help fluff the pillows while they are drying. Make sure to run the dryer for multiple drying cycles. It can take as many as 3-4 full drying cycles on low heat to have all the down and feathers fully dried. Be patient, this process takes a few hours but will ensure your pillows don’t get a bad odor. If you don’t fully dry the fill, it will create a bad odor from mold and mildew. Once a down and feather pillows has that bad odor, it can not be reversed. 

Step 3 - Place your freshly cleaned pillows in a pillow protector. This will help protect your pillow investment. If you are washing your pillowcases and pillow protectors often, you will only need to wash your down and feather pillows a few times a year. 

Check out our video on this step by step process - 

Here are some extra bedding expert tips!

  • Pillow protectors not only protect your pillows, they also add additional support. Using a tightly fitted pillow protector will help your down and feather pillows not fall as flat during the night. 
  • Anytime down and feather pillows are feeling flat, pop them in the dryer to bring them back to life. This can be more effective than fluffing by hand.


Dana Fry