Washing a feather pillow that's in sound condition -- with secure ticking and no tears -- may be quite straightforward, but drying it is a bit more involved.
Not only does the drying process take quite a bit longer than a standard load of laundry, but you'll have to implement a couple of fluffing techniques, and possibly finish it in nature's dryer.
Washing Your Pillow
Before you dry your pillow, it goes through a relatively basic washing process:
- Remove a zippered cover -- wash it separately, so that its jagged edges don't damage the pillow.
- Set the washer to a delicate, cold-water cycle.
- Add a small amount of detergent or down soap.
- Include a second pillow for balance in a top-loading machine.
- Rinse twice to thoroughly rid the thick item or items of allergens, grime and soap.
- Wash two or three pairs of tennis shoes to ready them for the pillow-drying process.
Preferably, wash the down pillow in a front-loading machine; a top-loading washer's agitator can damage down items. If you only have a top-loader, your options include taking the pillow to a laundromat, or washing it by hand, kneading it well to express the stale air, release body oils and evict trapped allergens, which can cause a musty odor.
Drying Your Pillow
Drying your thick feather pillow will likely take more than twice as long as drying a standard load of clothes, so set aside at least an hour for this partly hands-on project:
- Feel for clumped down, and break up the wet masses, using your hands almost as if you are fluffing the pillow in the morning to plump it up.
- Place the pillow in the dryer with the clean tennis shoes; they aid in fluffing the feathers during the machine's tumbling action. If you prefer, use clean tennis balls instead.
- Set the dryer for a 15-minute cycle on low or medium heat, referring to the pillow's care tag temperature recommendations; opt for the low temperature setting if the care tag is too faded to read or is missing.
- Use your hands to fluff the pillow, again breaking up remaining clumps or compacted areas.
- Set the dryer for another three or four 15-minute cycles, repeating the fluffing process between each, until the pillow is completely dry.
- Place the pillow outdoors on a clean towel in a sunny area, if it smells musty. Flip and fluff the pillow after an hour or so. The sun's heat should destroy any remaining bacteria and help to evaporate lingering dampness.
To reduce allergens and keep your feather pillow fluffy, tumble it in the dryer for about 10 minutes each month, using an air-dry or cool-temperature setting.