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Thread: Down pillows - wash at home or send out to be dry cleaned?

  1. #1
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    Down pillows - wash at home or send out to be dry cleaned?

    The tag says "professional dry clean only" - and because the pillows are probably old, that is the ONLY thing the tag says.

    They are DH's favorite pillows, but they are starting to smell a bit funky.
    Last edited by kathy; 07-08-2014 at 12:09 PM. Reason: DOWN - not own - pillows

  2. #2
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    I wash my FOAM chips pillows but they take a loooong time to dryer even after being in the dryer. If I remember correctly, in the old days feather pillows had the case removed and the feathers were rinsed and then laid out to dry and when dried and fluffed, put into new cases. I think nowadays dry clean would be your best option? I am not sure I would want to lay my head on a pillow dry cleaned though for the fumes. Maybe someone who has dry cleaned a feather pillow will say how it turned out.
    Forgot to add....do not get feathers wet!! They stink like a wet dog until they are completely dry again.
    Last edited by Tartan; 07-08-2014 at 11:35 AM.

  3. #3
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    I wash my down pillows all the time. Are the cases good or are the feathers coming through? If so, get pillow ticking and make a new case for them and put the pillow inside it. You don't have to take it apart unless you want to. Then wash using something like woolite or Orvus soap, just a little. Wash then throw in dryer. It might take quite a few rounds before it is dry. Check the pillows once in a while and if there are large clumps, you can "fluff" or pull the clumps apart gently. Do not use any softner. Mild heat ending with air.

  4. #4
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    Forgot: If the pillows are REALLY old, the feathers might have broke down and washing won't help. Mine are about 10 years old and still fluffy. They seem to dry faster on hot days, even though they are in a dryer. Not sure why.

  5. #5
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    Cases are very good - no stains or yellowing.
    I have no idea how old the pillows are - but they fluff up wonderfully.

  6. #6
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I have a really really old down pillow, and when I opened the pillow to change the ticking... what was on the inside was the equal feather dust. Over the decades of use the feathers had broken down into tiny particles ( maybe that's why I found it so comfortable) Then , I the remembered about how many dust mites can be found in pillows so I tossed the contents and bought a new one. It will take some time to break this one in .

  7. #7
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    I've washed feather/down pillows, in the past. Took forever to dry them (I used low heat and clean tennis balls) but they were wonderful, at the end of it all. As for washing, I threw them into the washer with regular detergent, then gave them several extra rinses. This was years ago, so I don't remember whether I used warm water or cold.
    Neesie


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  8. #8
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    Febreeze?

    I have heard that some people are allergic to it.

  9. #9
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    Febreeze?

    I have heard that some people are allergic to it.
    Fabreeze only (maybe) covers the odor. It doesn't clean them, in any way.
    Neesie


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  10. #10
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i've always washed my down pillows. we got them as a wedding gift over 40 years ago. now, though, i had to combine the feathers from both pillows into one.
    Nancy in western NY
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  11. #11
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    Bear- I have washed & dried pillows as well as down comforters, for years. Also down vests & jackets.
    I just wash on cool water, regular soap, could use woolite, if you have it on hand, Do an extra spin cycle. Put in dryer, w/ at least 2 tennis balls, or an old clean tennis shoe. The balls beat the living crap out of the feathers & helps them re fluff. I have hung items on the clothes line to dry than put in dryer just to fluff. If you don't fluff, all the feathers clump in a lump, and refuse to distribute.

    Good luck
    So. Idaho-between Nevada & Sun Valley, Ida

  12. #12
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    I had ours dry cleaned at a "natural" dry cleaner. No odor and wonderfully fluffy.

    I have a front loading washing machine and I don't know if I could even wash pillows in it. Long ago, I successfully washed foam pillows in a top-loader and was able to soak the pillows, agitate them a bit, then soak them again. I can't figure out a way to make sure they are fully soaked in a front-loader.
    "Accomplishment is a consequence of effort" -- Michael Crichton

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    Super Member oldtnquiltinglady's Avatar
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    I just change my feather pillow covers periodically. I have never washed mine. But when I do put the feathers into a new cover, I put the pillow in my dryer and fluff it thoroughly. I have noticed no bad smell, even though the pillow was really funky before I put the new cover on. I don't care for the pillow ticking that can be found nowadays at different fabric stores--I just use a good grade of whatever I can find in my stash--the closer woven it is the better. No foam or heavy sticky feather pillows for me. The older and softer, the better.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member petpainter's Avatar
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    I wash mine all the time, too. The extra rinse/spin cycle does help speed the drying.

  15. #15
    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    I wash my down pillows at home. Put in dryer with tennis balls to fluff up Works great.

  16. #16
    Super Member NikkiLu's Avatar
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    Don't know if they still do this or not. But, many years ago I was given some already old feather pillows by an old family member. An ad in our local paper was from an outfit that would clean your feather pillows and put on new pillow ticks. I brought in about 6 pillows and it was an old school bus parked next to a dry cleaner's building. It was a man and his wife - they traveled around the country doing this. They had a machine in the bus that took the feathers out of the pillow and cleaned them through a wire/fan thingy and then "blew" the feathers back into new ticks. No water was involved. Seems like they charged about $10 per pillow and I had the "deluxe" flowered covers put on - instead of the standard blue striped ticks. I picked them up a few days later at the cleaners, all put in the plastic cleaner's bags. I think that out of the 6 pillows that I brought in, I went home with 5 as some feathers had deteriated I have not seen any ad where they ever came back to our town. I think that they were retired people just traveling around the country. You might call your local cleaners and ask them if that service is available near you.
    Nikki in MO

  17. #17
    Super Member madamekelly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yngldy View Post
    I wash my down pillows all the time. Are the cases good or are the feathers coming through? If so, get pillow ticking and make a new case for them and put the pillow inside it. You don't have to take it apart unless you want to. Then wash using something like woolite or Orvus soap, just a little. Wash then throw in dryer. It might take quite a few rounds before it is dry. Check the pillows once in a while and if there are large clumps, you can "fluff" or pull the clumps apart gently. Do not use any softner. Mild heat ending with air.
    Grandma used to put two new tennis balls in the dryer with the pillows to fluff them as they dried. It makes some noise, but the pillows came out fluffy. While the pillows are wet, they really smell, but once they are dry, they are fine. Do not use a dryer sheet, it will gum up the feathers.
    If you always do, what you have always done, The results never change. Change is the wings you give yourself.

  18. #18
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    Thank you for the responses.

    In the meantime, I set them out in the sun for a few hours, and that seemed to help a bit.

    Funny - when I brought these home, DH really turned up his nose at them. Now, he grabs them.

  19. #19
    Senior Member AnnaF's Avatar
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    I always wash my down pillows. I have never had a problem with doing them at home..I wash with hot water and when they are done I pop them into the dryer with a couple tennis balls and they do the fluffing for me. It take several restarts to get them dry but lately I partially dry them using my dryer and when they are all plumped up I set them on my drying rack and they finish drying naturally,
    Anne Freeman
    Hermon ME

  20. #20
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    For those that wash your pillows at home - what do you use? Do ./ Will you recommend a particular brand of cleaner?

    I was looking on the internet and did see seversl brands of " down wash."

  21. #21
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    I've used regular liquid laundry detergent. We no longer have down pillows but I still wash down jackets and coats, the same way.
    Neesie


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  22. #22
    Senior Member Chester the bunny's Avatar
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    In between washings if you have concerns about dust mites, this is what I read online
    "Freezing and sunlight kills mites but does not remove their residue. In addition to freezing temperatures and washing items in temperatures greater than 130 degrees F, extended exposure to sunlight, and low levels of humidity also destroy the mites. "

  23. #23
    Super Member patski's Avatar
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    I wash my pillows at home, just add a coupe of tennis balls in they dryer with pillows and they will fluff up and be like new
    Patski
    always learning

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