Feather pillows usually come with a natural odor that is not as pleasant. And unless you know how to get the smell out of feather pillows, you might get stuck with a pillow that gives you sleepless nights. After all, as proven by researchers and sleep-cycle experts, unpleasant smells at night are like tobacco smoke that deters a restful sleep.


While feather pillows tend to smell even when brand new, the bad odors may also develop overtime. In most cases, smelly pillows are caused by the effects of heat and moisture, such as when a person sweats excessively at night or sleeps with wet hair. Fortunately, it is possible to get rid of bad odors from feather pillows. How so? Read on this article to find out how you can do this!


How Do You Get the Smell Out of Feather Pillows?

When it comes to washing feather pillows, most people avoid cleaning it in the washing machine, for fear that the machine mat damage the pillows. Instead, they opt for spot cleaning, which does very little to remove stubborn odors and old smells. What evens worse, spot cleaning tends to cause permanent stains and patches on different parts of the pillow.

Contrary to popular opinion, you can wash your feather pillows either by hand or using the washing machine, without damaging the pillows whatsoever. Washing your feather pillows in the washing machine not only helps to get the bad smell out of them, but it also prevents damaging of the stuffing inside the pillows, if done properly. Also, you should avoid using spray fabric refreshers as the only way to clean your feather pillows, since these only mask the bad odors for a short period of time.

Consider how you can wash your feather pillows safely by hand and by using a washing machine to remove the odors:

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Method 1: Removing Pillow Smell Via Hand Washing

Some feather pillows can be washed by hand without damaging the stuffing. However, this does not mean that you assume your feather pillows are safe to hand-wash; instead, you should always check the care label of your feather pillows before washing, so as to be sure. Also, even if your pillows are safe to wash by hand, you should always use warm water and mild detergent when washing to prevent any possible damage to the material.



  • 1 or 2 tbsp. of laundry detergent
  • Pillowcase
  • A large basin
  • A dry towel



1. Pour warm water into a large basin (or a bathtub). Add one or two tablespoons of laundry detergent into the warm water.


2. Place the feather pillow into a pillowcase (or a mesh laundry bag) to keep it intact. Then, submerge the pillow into the water.


3. Swoosh the pillow under the water while squeezing it gently. This allows water and detergent into the pillow. Do this for a few minutes.


4. Drain all the water and add clean, warm water into the basin or tub. However, do not add any detergent.


5. Swoosh the pillow through the water and squeeze it gently to rinse it and remove all detergent. Then, drain the water so that the tub or basin is left dry.


6. Lay the feather pillow on the tub. Then, push a dry towel against it, so that it absorbs all the excess water. Flip the pillow to the other side and repeat the process of drying using the towel.


7. Hang the pillow out in the sun and allow it enough time to air dry. However, do not twist or wring it as this could damage the feathers. Also, once dry, fluff the pillow to even out the feathers and prevent any clumps.


Method 2: Removing Pillow Smell Via Machine Wash

Most feather pillows are washing machine-washable. However, it is recommended that you set your washing machine to the shortest and gentlest setting when washing these pillows, since washing them too roughly or for too long could damage the feathers. Also, for a more even clean, it is advisable that you put two pillows for each wash cycle.



  • Mild laundry detergent
  • Dryer balls



1. Before tossing the pillows into the washer, remove the pillowcases or pillow protectors. Check for any rips in the pillow and stitch them up, if there are any.


2. Place two feather pillows into the washing machine without an agitator, whether a front-loading machine or a top-load machine. However, if your washing appliance has an agitator, place both pillows in a vertical position to prevent any tangling or damaging.


3. Pour some laundry detergent into the washing machine. Since you will only be washing pillows, use less detergent than you normally do when doing your laundry. Then, set the machine into the delicate wash cycle and start washing.


4. After the first wash cycle is complete, set it again for the second rinse cycle. The second cycle helps to rinse off all detergent left in the pillows.


5. Dry the feather pillows. You can either hang them in the sun and allow them enough time to air dry, or dry them in the machine’s dryer under the no-heat-dry setting. The good thing about air drying the pillows in the sun is that the heat from the sun sanitizes the pillows killing all germs and bacteria. Also, the sun is a natural bleach that keeps your pillows looking all white and fresh.


Do Feather Pillows Go Bad?

Contrary to what most people think, the bad odors in feather pillows do not mean that these have gone bad. In fact, these types of pillows do not necessarily ‘go bad’ per say. However, they do not last forever either. With proper care and maintenance, feather pillows can last for as long as 5 to 10 years.

When they exceed their lifetime, the pillows become flat or hard, and form permanent lumps even if repeatedly fluffed. When this happens, it is time to get a new feather pillow!



Are you looking for a comfortable pillow that will last long? Well, you can never go wrong with a feather pillow. However, one thing to note is that these pillows tend to develop a particular unpleasant odor, even when brand new. The good news is, the methods discussed above on how to get the smell out of feather pillows will help you keep your pillows fresh-smelling, such that that they always give you true value for your money!


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