How to Wash a Feather Bed

C. Giles

Despite how much time we spend on our mattresses, they seldom need to be cleaned. Feather beds are much the same. Don't be tempted to stick your feather bed in the washing machine -- most manufacturers recommend dry-cleaning only. Meanwhile, keep your feather bed fresh and clean with a regular maintenance protocol.

A young man sleeping in his bed.

Protecting your Feather Bed

Look after your feather bed properly to keep cleaning to a minimum. Cover your feather bed with a feather bed protector or a fitted sheet to limit risk of damage from spillages. If your feather bed does become wet or damp, let it air completely, as soon as possible, to reduce the risk of mildew.

Spot Cleaning

Spot cleaning is the best option if your feather bed becomes stained. "Good Housekeeping" magazine recommends using a pet stain and door remover to get rid of stains, whether you have a pet or not. Follow the manufacturer's directions for use, applying the product only to the stained area. Avoid oversaturating your feather bed.

Regular Care

Keep your feather bed on a regular schedule of airing, fluffing, flipping and rotating. Placing your feather bed on a flat surface and use your hands to gently separate clumps and push feathers around to eliminate unevenness. Give your feather bed a weekly shake to stop the feathers from bunching up. Keep it fresh by airing it outdoors whenever possible.

Washing Down-Alternative Feather Beds

If you have a down-alternative feather bed, you may be able to machine-wash it. Check the care label to make sure. You will likely need a large-capacity washer. Use a detergent made especially for down alternatives. As soon as the washing cycle is over, remove the bed from the machine and give it a good shake. Tumble dry on a low or delicate setting. Make sure it is completely dry before putting it back on your bed.