Cleaning a Featherbed?

Cleaning a Featherbed
It is important to clean a featherbed properly to avoid damaging it and to prevent odors. This page has advice about how to clean a featherbed.

Quick Answer

It is generally recommended that you take featherbeds to a dry cleaner for professional cleaning, however, many people do clean them themselves.
  • Make sure there are no holes in your featherbed for feathers to escape.
  • Wash your featherbed in cold water with gentle detergent in a large front loading washing machine or a top loading washing machine without an agitator. Use a gentle cycle.
  • If your home washing machine isn't large enough, your local laundromat should have one of sufficient size.
  • Put your featherbed along with several tennis balls (4 to 6) into a dryer.
  • Dry on low heat for about 1 1/2 hours or until the featherbed is completely dry.
  • Feathers beds that aren't dried completely may develop bad odors and could result mold growth.
Keep reading for more advice below and let us know what solution worked for you.

7 Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

March 27, 2005

I have a down comfortor and a feather bed. The direction says dry clean. I have washed down jackets and vests has anyone had any luck washing comfortors or feather beds.

Jo Anne from NY


March 27, 20052 found this helpful
Best Answer

I have been washing my down comforters for years. I have one that is 15 years old that I've washed 2 or 3 times a year. I use warm water and just a small amount of liquid detergent. The secret is the drying. You don't want to use too hot a setting on your dryer. My king size comforter usually takes at least 3 times in the dryer because I use a warm setting on the dryer. It's also important to keep taking the comforter out and putting it back in as it tends to bunch up. I take what was on the inside and make it on the outside. You may find some lumps of feathers. You can just rub them out and put it back in the dryer until the whole thing is dry. I've even line dryed mine halfway through and then fluffed it in the dryer later.


Good luck!!

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March 27, 20050 found this helpful
Best Answer

Hi, I always have washed my down blankets at the laundromat, as they have larger capacity washers. I use the regular cycle and don't use as much soap as you usually would. When drying it is good to add a few clean tennis balls or clean sneakers as it enables the down to be evenly dried and distrubuted.
Judy in NY

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March 28, 20050 found this helpful
Best Answer

We have a "laundry" not far from me and they wash all feather things...mattresses and down comforters. The charge is by the ounce/pound/whatever they use.


I have mine done at least once a year(late spring) so it is fresh when it goes back on the bed in the fall.

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By Andrea (Guest Post)
January 28, 20070 found this helpful
Best Answer

I live in a small town with no dry cleaner so I have to wash it myself. I use a gentle detergent that is made for down. I put a few tennis balls in the washer and dryer. It breaks up the clumps and helps the down to dry faster.

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April 15, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

You can wash all of them. Make sure there are no holes or you will be sorry. Wash in cold water with light detergent on a very gentle cycle. Dry on low heat for about 1.5 hours. It says to dryclean only because you bought a cheaper comforter with a water soluable sizing to keep the feathers from popping out.


I'm in management for a drycleaner. Trust me.

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May 12, 2004

How do you clean featherbeds? Can you wash them in the washing machine like you can a down comforter?



By Marianne (Guest Post)
May 12, 20040 found this helpful
Best Answer

If you take them to a laundromat and use the extra large extracting machine it will do the job. I find that clean tennis shoes (4) thrown in as well will fluff up the feathers and it dries in no time.

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By Terrie (Guest Post)
May 13, 20040 found this helpful
Best Answer

I had to wash my featherbed recently. While the tag said "dry clean only," I took a risk and "hand" washed it in my bathtub. (That was a sight, let me tell you. Think "Lucy in the grape vat making wine.") If it didn't work, I would've had to buy another anyway. It washed fine, but was very heavy when wet.


It was helpful having another person to move it initially. Took forEVER to dry, though. I used the low setting on 35 minutes and took it out and fluffed it between drying sessions (probably about 8 or 9) to evenly distribute the feathers. Worked, though. It's back on my bed, good as new.

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September 26, 2004

In an effort to remove urine stains from my featherbed I soaked it in my tub. I hung it outside to dry, then replaced it on the bed. It has a horrible smell. Is there something I can do to remove the smell?

Sharon from PA


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September 26, 20040 found this helpful
Best Answer

Get some enzyme pet stain remover like Nature's Miracle or PetZyme and soak it again. You can get it at any pet store. Let it sit in there for at least an hour. No need to rinse it out. Hang the feather bed on the line until it is dry. Hopefully, this should get rid of the smell. If you are unable to go through the whole process again, spray it down with the enzyme mixture. The enzymes eat the bacteria that cause the smell.


- Susan

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By Kelly (Guest Post)
September 27, 20040 found this helpful
Best Answer

You can also find enzyme stain remover at your local janitor supply store, sometimes cheaper than the pet store.

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September 15, 2018

Does anyone have a estimate price for getting a down feather topper (full) dry cleaned? I'm not confident in my ability to wash it myself and I've had it for almost 10 years. Just trying to get an estimate before trying to take it to the dry cleaner.

I'm a college student so I only work part time, but would love to get it dry cleaned before winter gets here.


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September 15, 20180 found this helpful

Every city is going to be different. Best option is to put call around to a few dry cleaners in your town and get estimates.

If yours isn't dry clean only, and says it can be washed. The least expensive way would be to take it to a laundromat and use one of their big machines and wash it on delicate.

Use two rinse cycles if you can to get all the suds out and if the directions permit it, dry it in the dryer with a few tennis balls on a the lowest heat setting it offers. Start with 30 minutes and then add in 15 minute increments if you can, until it is dry. Even after it is dry, don't put it on the bed the same day--drape it over a the couch or between chairs overnight (in a clean dry area away from pets).

Ideally, if you had a hot sunny day (Indian summer) hang it outside, but that isn't always possible. Also not good if you have allergies!

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September 15, 20180 found this helpful

I took my sons sleeping bag to the laundromat because my machine wasnt big enough. I dropped it off because I didnt want to spend the time there. I live in NY and was charged $12.

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September 15, 20180 found this helpful

First you will have to look at the tags on your topper to see if it dry clean only or if it is washable.
Dry clean only will probably be $30-$75 according to where you live. Call any local dry cleaners and ask about their prices for dry clean and laundry.

It is usually recommended to not dry clean a topper/comforter that says it is washable so check to make sure the dry cleaners can wash toppers and be sure to have them write this on your ticket should you decide to let them handle it.

  • If your topper is washable then you should be able to do this with a little planning.
  • If you do not currently use a public laundry mat then you should check some out and pick out one that is nice and clean and has oversized washers and dryers. I would also look at settings on both to see if you can use the speeds you want - such as a second rinse and a medium hot on the dryer. Ask attendant if you're not sure. Check how much change you will need to have with you.
  • Make a list and purchase supplies so you will have everything before you start your trip.
  • I would recommend using Woolite or a very gentle detergent so you will not have to deal with excess suds. If your topper is light colored you may want to use a little non-chlorine bleach to help bring back some of the original color.
  • Dryer sheets or fabric softener are generally not recommended as they can cling to the goose feathers and could cause problems.
  • Use new or very clean tennis balls to help fluff up the feathers. If you have less than clean tennis balls (not smelly ones) you can put one in a sock and tie the end with a cloth tie (not plastic). Some people use tennis shoes but I rarely see a tennis shoe that I would want in my dryer.
  • The instructions that Pghgirl listed are very good and should be easy to follow. You can also find those instructions on this link;
  • There are other sites for similar instructions but I would recommend that you print them out and take them with you just in case you forget a step or two.
  • You might want to ask Santa Clause to put a Duvet on his list (if it will work on your topper) since I'm sure you have been a good girl and deserve something to make your life easier.
  • Hope your cleaning is a big success.
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April 10, 20190 found this helpful

Unfortunately, I think many of these posts are confusing "topper", as in mattress topper/featherbed (you sleep on TOP of this), with duvet/comforter (you sleep UNDERNEATH this). These have VERY different fill, construction, weight, and care requirements.
Typically, featherbeds will be a much higher feather-to-down ratio (& therefore heavier, especially when wet). They don't commonly have baffles or channels stitched into them to evenly distribute the fill, so feathers tend to clump ALL together when wet, making it a challenge to run it through the dryer. Comforters can easily be washed & dried at home, but featherbeds are difficult to dry. DO NOT make the mistake that it will take just an hour or so in your dryer or that you can simply air-dry it in the sun - you'll end up with moldy feathers if it is not completely dry. I've seen some estimates say to plan to use your dryer for at LEAST 3 hours...not sure mine would last that long without igniting!

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January 1, 2007

Where can I take my down featherbed to be professionally cleaned? My child had the flu and vomited on the featherbed and also had a diarrhea accident on it.

Syl from Hayward, CA


By (Guest Post)
January 3, 20070 found this helpful
Best Answer

Most dry cleaners will clean a down comforter, I'm sure it the same for a featherbed. These can be washed too, in a large machine, prferable a front-load without a center agitator. Whenh you dry it, throw a few tennis balls into the dryer with it to fluff the down. I always wash my comforter.

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July 22, 2004

Is it possible to remove mildew from a featherbed or duvet?

- Karla


July 23, 20040 found this helpful
Best Answer

Hang them on the clothesline in bright sunlight for several hours and it will disappear.

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