If you love the luxurious feel of feather pillows, you know how frustrating it can be when the feathers start escaping through the fabric. Waking up to a pillow leaking feathers everywhere is annoying at best and can make a huge mess at worst.
Luckily, with the right care and precautions, you can keep your feather pillows plump and prevent feather loss.
Use a Pillow Protector
One of the easiest ways to lock feathers in your pillow is to use a pillow protector. A pillow protector is a fitted cover that goes over your pillow, providing an extra barrier to keep the feathers contained inside. Here’s what you need to know about pillow protectors.
What is a Pillow Protector?
A pillow protector is a protective cover designed specifically to go over pillows. It fits snugly around the pillow like a fitted sheet. Pillow protectors are typically made from dense, finely woven fabrics. The tight weave helps prevent filler and feathers from poking through the fabric. In addition to keeping pillows intact, protectors also help protect pillows against dust mites, stains, and other damage.
Benefits of Using a Pillow Protector
Here are some of the benefits of using a pillow protector for your feather pillow:
- Creates an impenetrable barrier to keep feathers contained inside the pillow.
- The dense fabric prevents quills and feathers from poking through.
- Adds a protective layer to keep your pillow cleaner for longer.
- Helps extend the life of your pillow by preventing wear and tear.
- Allows you to wash the protector instead of the pillow itself.
- Good option if you have allergies as it blocks dust mites, dander, etc.
Tips for Choosing a Pillow Protector
Look for these features when selecting a pillow protector:
- Tightly woven fabric with a high thread count (200+ is optimal).
- Fitted style that wraps snugly around your pillow.
- Durable fabric like cotton, microfiber or polyester.
- Consider a vinyl or waterproof protector if you have allergies.
- Make sure the protector is machine washable for easy cleaning.
Wash Pillows Less Frequently
It may seem counterintuitive, but washing feather pillows too often can actually cause more feathers to escape. Here’s how overwashing impacts feather loss and tips for less frequent washing.
Overwashing Damages Pillows
While you want to keep your pillows hygienic, washing them too frequently can do more harm than good. The agitation and turbulence of frequent washing cause feathers and down to break down at a faster rate. Detergents are harsh on the fabrics as well. The constant stress on the materials weakens them, making it easier for feathers to poke through and escape over time.
Recommended Washing Frequency
Manufacturers and experts typically recommend only washing feather pillows once or twice a year. However, you may need to spot clean pillows in between washes if spills or stains occur. As long as you use a pillow protector and wash your pillowcases regularly, a biannual washing schedule is sufficient to keep pillows fresh and clean.
Letting Pillows Air Out
To help pillows stay fresh between washes, let them air out regularly. On dry sunny days, place pillows outside and allow the sunlight to naturally disinfect and deodorize them. You can also air dry pillows indoors near an open window. Fluff and rotate the pillows frequently so the inner feathers get circulation too.
Inspect Seams and Repair Holes
Over time, small holes and damage to the seams of your pillow can allow feathers to escape. Regular inspection and repairs can solve this issue.
Why Seam Damage Causes Feather Leaks
Feather pillows are constructed by stitching together pieces of fabric to create a shell that encloses the filling. Seams are vulnerable to wear and tear that allows feathers to poke out. Look for gaps in stitching, loose threads, or small holes along the seams. Laundering can degrade the seam stitches over time. Daily use like squishing and squeezing adds stress as well. Any damage is an opportunity for feathers to make a break for it.
How to Repair Seam Damage
If you discover seam damage, you can often repair it quite easily:
- Sew closed small gaps or holes using matching thread and a needle.
- Repair loose threads along seams by stitching over them to tighten.
- Use iron-on adhesive patches to fix larger holes or thin spots.
Make Regular Seam Inspections
Don’t wait until feathers are escaping to check your seams. Schedule time each month to thoroughly inspect the pillow case seams and stitching. Flip the pillows inside out and examine the inner linings as well. Catching minor damage early makes repairs easier and prevents bigger problems down the road.
Avoid Pillow Fights and Rough Play
As fun as pillow fights may be, all that whacking and tossing wreaks havoc on your pillows and causes feathers to release. Here’s how rough play damages pillows.
Pillow Fights Are Fun but Cause Damage
There’s a reason the phrase “beaten pillow” exists–it’s what happens during raucous pillow fights! All the batting, slamming, and jumping packs down feathers. It strains the seams to the breaking point. Feathers escape through new holes and tears in the fabric. After a pillow fight, you’ll notice flat spots, lumps, and loose escaping feathers. Kids’ enthusiastic pillow fights take an especially hard toll on pillows.
Set Rules for Pillow Care
To protect your feather pillows:
- Ban jumping on beds and pillows.
- No using pillows as weapons during play.
- Limit roughhousing and enforce gentle pillow use.
- Provide alternative soft balls or toys for hitting games.
Keeping rowdy games in check will help your pillows retain their fluff and keep feathers where they belong.
Choose High Thread Count Fabric
The thread count of your pillowcase fabric impacts how well it contains feathers. Here’s how to select the right textile.
Thread Count and Feather Containment
Thread count refers to the number of threads woven together per square inch of fabric. The higher the thread count, the denser and more tightly interwoven the fabric is. High thread counts between 200-500 create a tighter weave that leaves little space between the threads for feathers to poke through. Lower thread counts under 180 have a looser construction that allows feathers to escape more easily.
Look for pillowcases and pillow covers made from these optimal feather-blocking fabrics:
- Cotton with a 200+ thread count
- Microfiber or synthetic blends
- Polyester with a high thread count
You’ll want to avoid cheaper muslin, lightweight linen, or low thread count fabrics which can’t stand up to feathers over time.
Replace Old Pillows
If your pillows are getting on in years, at some point patching holes and solutions like pillow protectors can only do so much. Older pillows that are worn out are more prone to shedding feathers no matter what you try. If you’ve had the same pillows for 5+ years, it may be time to replace them with new pillows entirely.
Losing feathers from your favorite down or feather pillows is frustrating, but there are many effective solutions. Using preventive measures like pillow protectors, washing less often, repairing damage right away, and avoiding rough play reduces feather loss considerably. If you notice your pillows are leaking feathers or looking deflated, put these handy tricks into action to revive their fluff and keep feathers locked inside where they belong.