Thursday, September 12, 2013

Down Pillows - Purchasing and Cleaning

A good down pillow can last you a lifetime if you know what to get and how to take care of it.

When shopping, look for 100% down.  Let me repeat, you want 100% down. Not 95% down with 5% feathers.  And, the higher the white down to grey down ratio the better. Ours are 75% white to 25% grey. Also pay attention to the amount of fill. Our standard size pillows are a medium loft and have about 26-28 oz. of fill. Most pillow stores will carry a "gentle, medium or firm" option. A pillow like ours should cost you at least $100. While you are purchasing your pillow you should also be getting the best pillow protector you can find. Go ahead and pay the money. You will have it almost as long as the pillow (we started replacing ours after about 10-12 years.)

Before you do anything, wash and iron the pillow protector and put it on the pillow. Next, throw the whole thing in the dryer on hot for 15 minutes. It is ready for the pillowcase and your bed!  

Now, every time you change your sheets, throw the down pillows in the dryer while the sheets are washing. They should fluff back up to their original size. When they don't, the pillows have absorbed enough of your body oil to need washing.

Don't be afraid. We wash our pillows once a year and have been using them for 16 years now. Just make sure you leave the pillow protector  ON while washing. Here is a pile I did the other day.

Check for stains first. You can spot clean the pillow protector or, if it is really dirty, take it off, wash & dry and put it back on the pillow before washing.

 I use my regular detergent along with a little Oxiclean and run them on a warm wash/cold rinse. When you open the dryer you will be amazed. It is kind of like washing a fluffy cat - there's not much there when they are all wet.

Washing is the easy part.   Drying them takes several hours.   Toss them in the dryer with a tennis ball or those fancy rubber dryer balls and set it on warm/hot for 60 minutes. (Note: I can put two standard in the dryer together but I need to do the king size pillows one at a time.) Check them and fluff some more.  After they have puffed up again, I take mine out to sit in the air for awhile and then give them a good squeeze to see if they are still moist.  If so, back in they go for a little longer.  Since the pillow protector was on, it is usually clean and wrinkle free. You can take yours off and iron it at this point if needed.

A note about pillow allergies: It has been our experience that many, if not most, people who are allergic to feathers, have no problem with our down pillows. And, we have found that a lot of people who think they have "down" allergies do not react to our pillows. It may be their experience was either with pillows that had that 5% feather content mentioned above or they had slept on pillows not cleaned regularly.


  1. I just found your web site while looking for linen napkin sewing instructions. I want down pillows but when I searched I couldn't find ones like you say without paying over $250. Where do you find them?

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