How to Clean Down Pillows

Down pillows bring comfort and elegance to your bedroom, but a dirty pillow taints that elegance.

Why do down pillows get yellow?

One of the most common reasons why pillows can turn yellow is body sweat. You may not realize there’s any sweating going on during sleep or rest, but it still happens because your body sweats to maintain homeostasis in regard to temperature.

Even when you’re sleeping your body continues to sweat to keep your body at an optimal temperature.

Moisture, such as from lying down with wet hair, can also discolor the pillow, as can chemicals in some types of makeup or skin products. Depending on the type of fabric your pillowcase is made from, sweat and skin products can seep through the fabric. As the sweat dries, it can leave a yellow stain on the pillow.

How to remove odour from down pillows

Down pillows may smell a bit even when they’re brand new or kept in storage. The pillows hold in odors from sweat, pet hair and cigarette smoke. Remove these odours by exposing the pillows to some fresh air and if it still smells funny give it a wash in the washing machine.

Washing down pillows

Fortunately, cleaning a down pillow is not as difficult as you might believe.

You do not need special machines or a dry cleaner to wash these pillows for you. If you do it properly, you can use your washing machine to clean them with no problem. Use pillow zippered cases to minimize soiling of the pillows so they only require washing about twice per year.

Most down pillows withstand machine washing, even if the tag recommends dry cleaning.

Check the pillow for loose seams or any tears that could allow the down to escape during the wash. Don’t use an agitating washer because the pillow could get wrapped around the agitator and tear. Instead, use a front-loading, non-agitating washer.

Make sure the washing machine is clean inside and free of any sharp items that could tear the pillow casing.

Remove the zippered case to be washed separately. Use a mild detergent and add plenty of warm water so the pillow will be fully covered.

Set the washer for an extra rinse cycle.


Drying is the most time-consuming part of keeping feather pillows clean. The feathers must dry completely or they clump together, mildew or fall apart.

Feathers take many hours to dry because high heat can damage the down.

Use a large dryer and set the heat to medium or low. Fluff up the pillow a few times during the drying cycle, and spread out the feathers with your hands. Drying down feathers will take at least an hour per pillow.

Wash your pillows at least twice a year

Dry Cleaning

Before washing your down pillows please read the use and cleaning instructions on the label.

Some brands may recommend dry-cleaning down pillows instead.

Manufacturers may also recommend airing out your down pillows outdoors, but out of direct sunlight, a few times a year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *