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.
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.
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.
How to Wash Feather Pillows
Pillows, when used for a long time, get dirty and should be washed or changed. The pillow might turn yellow after some time of use; this yellowish coloration could be deposits of sweats or drools when we sleep. Dirty pillows can also be a habitat for bed bugs and even disease-causing organisms. Thus, washing your pillow is a necessity, not optional. Of course, the measure you apply in washing your pillow depends on the type of pillow you are dealing with. When dealing with a feather or down pillow, care must be taken to make use of the right equipment and apply the necessary techniques. Feather pillows are soft and durable pillows, they are different from fiber filled pillows, memory foam pillows, latex pillows, buckwheat pillows and so forth. Their softness, durability and scrunch should be considered when washing the pillow. Here are a few guides on washing a feather pillow.
- Maintain Balance: When washing feather pillows with top load washer, you should ensure that the pillow is placed in such a way that will keep it balanced. Usually, two pillows are washed at the same time in a top load washer to ensure balance and if only one pillow is available, you can add a towel or anything that will keep it balanced. Too often than none, high efficiency or front load washers have issues with balancing. Top load washer issue of balance may be caused by the high speed of the top-loaders but an easy way to correct this would be to wash similar items together.
- Use Cold Water: The temperature required to wash materials varies with the material. Choosing the right temperature is very important because it will help to ensure effective washing. To wash a feather pillow with top loader washer, you will need to set the water temperature to cold. Cold water is most suitable for washing delicate fabrics and dark colors. This means setting the washer below 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 degree Celsius. The major advantage of using cold water is that it will reduce the chances for fading, color bleeding or shrinking.
- Use Gentle Cycle: Basically you have to determine three important things when washing anything, these include: the load size, the water temperature for the wash and rinse cycles and the cycle setting. With the right cycle, you will be able to clean your clothes properly and have them looking excellent. You have to read the label on each cloth or material you want to wash in order to know the cycle you will apply. The label will inform you about both the water temperature and the type of cycle to use.
- Use heavy-duty and low-sudsing detergents: The next thing you will need to consider is the type of detergent you use when washing feather pillows. The type of detergent you use will depend on the temperature of the water and the cloth materials used. Since low temperature water is preferred in washing feather pillows, heavy-duty detergents would be appropriate for the purpose. You can find a number of heavy-duty detergents out there but a good example is the Tide detergent. It is important to avoid detergents with suds when washing fabrics but if that is not possible, you can use detergents with very low sud content. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the washing process depends heavily on the type of detergent you use. Thus, it makes sense to invest on detergents that will give your pillows a refreshing look. Care should be taken to avoid low-cost and inferior detergents that do not have active ingredients to wash the pillow.
- Rinsing: Rinsing is an important part of the washing process used to get rid of detergents from the material. To get the best out of the washing cycle, it is recommended that you set your washer for an extra rinse cycle. This will ensure that any remaining detergent on the pillow’s body will be washed off. Of course, you can rinse the pillow a couple of times if you feel that it still requires additional rinsing cycle but the main purpose in this process is to ensure that it is completely rid of residue detergent.
- Drying the Pillow: Drying is also very vital and should be handled meticulously and thoroughly. After rinsing the pillow, it should be removed from the water and fluffed before being placed on the dryer. The dryer should be set at medium heat. The dryer cycle is equally important and should be taken note of. There are basically five cycles to consider and they include: air fluff or air dry cycle, in which no heat is applied; gentle or delicate cycle, used for delicate fabrics; wrinkle resistant or permanent press cycle, used for lightweight ramie, cotton, natural fiber cloths, and linens; Automatic/Time Dry - Regular cycle, uses sensor to determine the optimum drying condition; and Steam cycle, used for cloths that do not require washing but require removal of wrinkles and odor.
Gentle or delicate cycle can be used for feather pillows. During the washing process, the feathers clump up and should be broken up in the drying cycle. This can be done by placing clean tennis shoes or tennis balls on the pillow. Refluffing should be done manually during the drying process every 15 minutes. The time required for the drying process varies considerably and depends on the size of the feather pillow you are drying but the pillow would dry faster in conditions of low humidity and also in a sunny day.
Washing your feather pillow is easy, especially with top load washer. You have to carefully choose the load size, water temperature and cycle to wash the pillow properly. No matter how wonderfully washed the feather pillow is, if it is not dried properly and thoroughly it might not offer you the comfort you desire. Molds might form on the pillow and it may develop some offensive odor if it is not well-dried. A good way to checkmate poor drying is to hand fluff the pillow in each cycle.