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How to clean down feather pillows

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Inside: Tips for how to actually clean feather down pillows in the washing machine; how to disinfect them naturally; plus how to keep them looking and smelling good in your home.

The final post in this simple cleaning series is probably one of my favourite tips of all. It’s the reason I am not only unafraid, but keen to buy all my feather filled throw pillows at the thrift store. GASP! Yes. Today, we are talking about how to clean down feather pillows!

Here are some other cleaning posts in the series you might want to check out:

Most 19×19 feather down pillows retail for $25 if you’re lucky. At the fabric stores they can be as little as $15 – but at the thrift store – I’ve paid as little as $3. The savings is worth it for the luxury of having all feather throw pillows. Trust me. I ALWAYS hunt for them when I’m thrifting. (This post uses affiliate links).

First things first, I repair any tears and gather any loose feathers!

Sometimes the lining of the feather pillow is cheaper than the actual down insert part, so splits happen. To fix this, I use a combination of fabric glue and/or Gorilla glue (which holds up to heat) and then I’ll add in a few extra stitches by hand.

How to Properly Clean and care for down pillows

How to Properly Clean and care for down pillows

You’ll want to give it a really good squeeze and few punches to make sure your glue holds. Let it dry for a couple of hours before doing anything else.

Disinfecting your Feather Pillows

Microbes love to live in pillows and mattresses and it’s so gross! One way I combat that is to use baking soda when I do a good spring clean in the bedroom and I’ll also toss any throw pillows into a wash to remove any pet dander. I have a whole post about how to keep your house pet hair free and also a few tips on how a lint brush can also help you maintain the cleanliness of your pillows and upholstery.

How to Wash Down Pillows in the Machine

How to wash down pillows in the washing machine

To clean the pillow cover, you’ll want to toss it into the washing machine with a 1/4 of vinegar. This loosens debris on the cushion cover and helps you get it nice and crisp.

To clean the down insert itself, throw them into the washer (make sure to balance the machine by doing two or three at once.) Using hot water, run it through a gentle cycle with regular detergent and some oxy bleach powder. Oxygen bleach is a crazy good disinfectant and it will brighten your whites too!

Promptly remove them and throw them into the dryer immediately.

Use the highest heat setting to tumble them dry. When you remove them from the dryer – they might feel dry, but they aren’t.

Down Pillows washed in the washing machine

Down Pillows washed in the washing machine

How to dry down filled pillows

Here’s where you need to find a sunny spot (I use our garden room window) to leave your pillow to sit for 2-3 days. This last step will remove any remaining must and moisture. Every once in a while when you pass by, give it a fluff.

Then add your favourite cushion cover or sew a new one! Voila! Designer feeling pillows for a fraction of the cost 🙂

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Tracey Bowman

Monday 2nd of September 2019

Thanks for this great post, I find it very interesting and very well thought out and put together. I look forward to reading your work in the future.

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