How to Dry a Feather Pillow


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.

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