By lostmymittens from Midwest
(sent via email)
This is a bad answer to cleaning feather pillows. I washed mine in a washing machine, the cases opened up and filled my machine with the feathers, had to get a new wash machine.
I wash my feather and down pillows in a top loading washer all the time. Just don't fill with so much water that it floats the pillows up and out of the washer. Use maybe half a tub full water, some liquid detergent and a bit of bleach. Push the pillows down gently as the tub fills with water, close the lid and as it agitates the pillows will start sinking and get water logged and clean. The spin cycle will leave them looking flat but just put them in the dryer with 2 clean tennis balls and they'll come out all fluffy. Don't overdry. When they're pretty dry hang them at the very edge of the short side with a couple of clothes pins or pants or skirt hangers with clips and let them air dry. They'll smell really fresh and look brand new.
I agree with Deeli. If there was anything particularly germy about laundromats, half the country would be riddled with disease! A lot of those warnings you read about germs in things, rat droppings on Coke cans and so on, sheer nonsense!
I always use my top loading washer to clean my down comforter and pillows. If you let the washer go through the entire cycle the pillows will flatten out and start to accept the water and detergent. Be sure and dry them with a package of tennis balls, this fluffs them back up while drying. Good luck. :)
Washing feather/down pillows should be undertaken carefully as they are delicate and the feathers can clump. I put mine in the bathtub with warm water and a little detergent, swill them about with my hands or walk up and down on them with clean bare feet. Don't leave them to soak. Then, if you have a garden, dry them flat on the grass in the fresh air or on a towel on the floor with all the windows open.
Using a carpet cleaning machine is not going to deep clean inside the pillow. I am not trying to be mean but you're limiting yourself by not using a laundromat because the hot water that is used in their machines are much hotter than the average persons home machine. How many germs can there truly be when soap and 180 degree water being used in a washer to clean clothes still harbor germs? Basically none to worry about unless the people who washed their clothes before you had an entire load of only dirty diapers or underpants! If you're that worried about bacteria from someone else's previous load why don't you just run a hot water bleach cycle (as much as I hate bleach for health and environmental reasons) first and then wash your down pillows?
Another alternative is to pay oodles of money to have them dry cleaned but unless it's an even more expensive 'Green' dry cleaners you're going to have lots of nasty chemicals to lay your head on at night and breathing in those chemicals :-(
Have you tried to weigh down your down pillows in your own top loader until the down is soaked enough to sink and then run the wash cycle after being completely saturated? That's what I do with my feather pillows.
Just wash and dry them. Not a problem. I've washed and dried my down comfortor and pillows many times. My friend manages a dry cleaners and that's what they do if something comes in with a wet spot (cat has peed or something.) It costs a fortune to dry clean when not needed. I was on vacation and my old cat didn't like that I was gone so peed on my down comforter, pillows everything. I got home and took it all to the laundromat with the bigger washers. All came out just fine. I started drying them there then brought them home to finish.
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