Feather and down from geese or ducks are the premiere choice for bed pillows stuffed with feathers. The best quality feather filled bed pillows are said to last 15 years or more if cared for properly. Having purchased two queen size goose feather and down pillows at $80 each, I was determined to take good care of them.
Caring for Feather and Down Bed Pillows
Put a new bed pillow into a zippered case made from a fabric that resists moisture. Preventing humidity, perspiration or saliva from reaching the feathers and down of a bed pillow will help to reduce mildew and odors.
Any type of feather pillow will benefit from daily fluffing, from the best choice of goose or duck feathers to the lesser quality of chicken or turkey feathers. Fluff a feather bed pillow by placing your hands on the ends of pillow and then force your hands together. Grab hold of the sides and pull them back out, then force the ends in toward the center of the pillow a second time. This forces air into the pillow, giving the pillow height. Ten minutes in a low heat dryer will also help to fluff bed pillows stuffed with feathers and down.
Periodically examine the seams of feather pillows, like when removing the pillow case for laundering, to see if there are splits in the seams that need to be sewn.
Read the Care Label on Feather Pillows
Some bed pillows, like my feather pillows, carry a label that specifically says to use a “large capacity non-central agitator washer only,” like a front-loading washer. Dry cleaning is also an option. I do not have a front-loading washer at home nor do I care to go to a laundromat to use one, and dry cleaning is not appealing. So, successfully washed two goose feather pillows at the same time in my top-loading (i.e., center agitator) washing machine. Here’s how to do it.
First, see if the pillows will fit your washing machine. Wash two, and only two, together to balance the machine. Place the two pillows into the machine horizontally on opposite sides of the tub. Two important “musts”: The pillows must fit below the rim of the tub of the washing machine and you must monitor the machine throughout the entire wash, rinse and spin cycles.
Washing Feather Pillows in a Top-Loading Washer
With the feather pillows out of the washing machine, add half the amount of detergent that you would use for a full wash, and then fill the machine halfway with warm water. Agitate the water to thoroughly mix the detergent by either using your hand to swish the water.
Push the pillows into the washing machine and then let the machine finish filling with water. The water setting should be on the highest water level setting available. After the machine fills, check to see if the pillows have risen in the machine, which is possible from air captured between the feathers. Force the pillows beneath the water. Set the machine for a short wash time, or about five minutes. Use the GENTLE setting for BOTH the wash and spin cycles.
As previously mentioned, you need to constantly monitor the pillows, pushing them back under the water every one to two minutes (with the machine off, of course) during both the wash and rinse cycles. After the last gentle spin cycle, reset the machine to the normal/fast spin setting and rerun just the spin cycle to extract more water from the pillows
Drying Feather Bed Pillows
Place the feather bed pillows into the dryer. Set the dryer to a low heat setting unless the label on the pillow indicates that a higher setting is acceptable. The pillows will take a long time to dry, perhaps more than two hours. Every 15 to 20 minutes, remove the pillows from the dryer and fluff them by hand to help loosen and separate the feathers and down.