How to Clean Down Pillows

Wooden bed frame with white bedding and a side table
  • 1-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Mild detergent
Washing machine
Electric dryer

Take good care of your down pillows and keep them clean to help them last for many years. They need special care as they contain a delicate filling (usually goose feathers or something similar) that can be damaged if not handled appropriately.

If feather pillows are taken care of, they can last you a lifetime. The best way is to care for them is to clean them at least twice a year by following these instructions, you can care for your down pillows and they will last forever.

Step 1 - Read the Instruction Label

Always read the instruction labels on your down pillows. These provide essential information that enable you to avoid doing any damage to your pillows. The labels contain information on what not to do to your pillows and also instructions on water temperatures, type of detergent to use as well as drying instructions.

Step 2 - Machine Wash vs. Hand Wash

When washing down pillows, always use a front loading washing machine as these machines are most suitable for delicate items. Down pillows should NOT be hand washed.

Before you load the pillows in the washing machine, check your pillows for any tears or scratches in the pillow fabric. If there are any torn bits, it is time to change your pillow. If you wash a torn pillow even on the gentlest cycle, you are likely to destroy the pillow and make a mess in the washing machine.

If there is no wear and tear on your pillow, load your pillows in the washing machine and add a small quantity of a very mild detergent. If you feel that your pillow is even slightly greasy, use a detergent that contains degreaser, but is still very gentle.

Set the cycle to the gentle option using cold water only, and start the cycle.

Step 3 - Dry

man looking into a dryer

When you take your pillows out of the washing machine they will be damp. Squeeze the pillows gently to remove any excess water & moisture. You will notice there may be a pungent sort of smell in the pillow as it comes out of the washing machine. Do not be alarmed. This will go away as the pillow begins to dry.

It is not recommended to dry your down pillow on a clothesline or any similar method. Always dry your pillows in electric dryers and as with washing, dry them on their own. Do not add any other garment to dry in the dryer when drying pillows.

Once you have squeezed the excess moisture out of the pillow, place them in the dryer. Add a couple of tennis balls, wool dryer balls or a pair of clean sneakers in the dryer to keep the fluffiness.

The down pillows take a long time to dry so be prepared for a two to three hours drying cycle. Set the dryer to medium heat and commence drying.

During the drying cycle regularly remove the pillows from the dryer and hand fluff them to keep them in shape.