How to Wash a Down Pillow

A down pillow is incredibly comfortable and malleable – two characteristics that increase the popularity of the material. This the ideal sleeping people for so many people who are looking for an alternative to synthetics. Because it features natural filling, however, a down pillow should be cleaned and washed in a specific way.

If you’re about to wash a down pillow for the very first time, you’ll need to acquaint yourself with the steps and stick to the procedure described below. It’s essential for preventing the shrinking of the down and the potential clumping of the filling.

wash down

Tools and Supplies

Make sure that you’ve gathered all of the essentials before getting started with down pillow washing. Some of the materials and supplies you’ll need to thoroughly clean a pillow include the following:

  • A mild or natural laundry detergent
  • A washing machine that has a gentle cycle
  • Tennis balls
  • Drying machine or an air-drying option
  • Hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar (optional, for the treatment of yellow stains)
  • Baking soda (optional to deodorize the pillow)

Wash the Pillow

A down pillow can be cleaned in the washing machine but you have to use lukewarm water and a gentle cycle. The natural material can break down easily, if you rely on an aggressive cleaning process.

Take the pillow out of its pillowcase and load it in the washing machine. A standard washing machine can be used to clean two down pillows at the same time. Make sure there’s enough empty space in the washing machine. Otherwise, you’ll end up with detergent residue on the fabric and inside the pillow.

It’s a good idea to use a small amount of detergent. Liquid detergent is also a better pick because there will be lower risk of residue remaining between the folds.

The gentle (delicate) cycle is the one you should use to wash down pillows. An extra rinse cycle should be used to remove all of the detergent from the pillow. Take it out of the washing machine before the start of the spin cycle. It can cause the formation of clumps and it will also damage the delicate filling of the pillow.

Drying a Down Pillow

Now that the pillow is out of the washing machine, it’s time to think about drying it.

You may want to squish some of the water out of it. Use a fluffy towel for the purpose. Since the pillow hasn’t gone through the spin cycle, there’s probably a lot of water left inside of it. Repeat the step a few times and if necessary, use a couple of different towels. By squishing the water out, you’re also breaking clumps that could have formed inside the pillow.

--------- #1 Rated Goose Down Comforter ---------

Get an Exclusive Discount on the BEST Goose Down Comforter!

If you insist on using the dryer, use the low heat setting to prevent shrinking. Put a couple of sock-covered tennis balls inside the dryer to break up the feather clumps that could have formed inside the pillow. You may also want to take the pillow out a few times and fluff it before putting it back in the dryer.

Treating Stains and Odor

Older down pillows could get a bit stinky with the passage of time. The placement of some baking soda inside the washer (alternatively, it can be added to the detergent) can help for the quick and easy absorption of any smell that you’re unhappy with. To give the pillow a nice odor, you may want to use an essential oil like lavender. Apart from having a delicate and nice scent, lavender is also relaxing and it will make falling asleep easier.

Yellow stains on a down pillow should be treated with one cup of hydrogen peroxide and half a cup of white vinegar. Pour the liquid inside the washing machine. The white vinegar has cleaning and anti-bacterial qualities. In addition, together with the hydrogen peroxide, it will lighten dark spots stemming from the long-term use of the pillow.

A pillow comes in contact with your head, mouth and eyes. Don’t use harsh cleaning substances or synthetics. A very mild detergent is enough to freshen up the pillow and there are natural products that you can rely on for stain treatment. Also, remember to dry the pillow thoroughly before storing or using it. Otherwise, you risk having mildew form inside, which will ruin the pillow completely.


I’m a semi-retired part-time personal assistant. More importantly I’m a luxury bedding hedonist and bargain shopper extraordinaire. Always searching for bargains on the highest quality luxury comforters, pillows, and bedding accessories. In my spare time I write this blog and do research online.