How to Stop Feathers from Coming Out of Pillows

By Geoff McKinnen Certified Sleep Coach

Last Updated On January 25th, 2024
How to Stop Feathers from Coming Out of Pillows

Key Takeaways

  • Invest in High-Quality Pillow Protectors: To prevent feathers from escaping, invest in a high-quality pillow protector with a tight weave. A good protector not only keeps feathers inside but also adds an extra layer of cleanliness to your pillows. Look for machine-washable options for easy maintenance.
  • Repair Leaky Pillows: If feathers are leaking from your pillows, don’t rush to replace them. Instead, identify and repair the tears or holes. Use a sewing needle and matching thread to mend the damaged area. For synthetic pillows, consider using fabric patches and seam reinforcing tape for repairs.
  • Maintain and Clean Regularly: Regular maintenance is crucial to preventing feather leakage. Rotate and fluff your pillows regularly to distribute feathers evenly. If feathers do poke out, spot-clean the affected area with mild detergent and reinforce the seam. For overall cleanliness, use pillow protectors, machine-washable covers, and follow proper washing and drying methods.

If you own duck feather or down pillows, you’ve likely experienced the frustration of feathers sticking out and poking you throughout the night. Not only can this be uncomfortable, but it can also be a hassle to constantly clean up feather debris.

In this article, we will explore how to prevent feathers from coming out of your bed pillows. We will discuss the use of pillow protectors and various types of bed pillows, including duck feather and down pillows. By following our tips, you can enjoy a good night’s rest without worrying about feathers poking you or making a mess.

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Understanding Feathers and Pillow Construction

Feathers escaping from your pillows can be frustrating, but before we explore solutions, let’s first understand how it happens. Pillow construction plays a key role in feather leakage, with factors such as knife edge seams and pillow fights contributing to the issue.

Knife edge seams are used to give pillows a square and defined shape but can lead to ticking tears, causing feather quills to poke through. Pillow fights also cause feathers to move and poke through seams, leading to increased leakage.

Down pillows, made with soft feathers from the underbelly of geese and ducks, are a popular choice for their luxurious feel. However, their softness and lightness can also contribute to leakage. Understanding the construction of pillows and the differences between materials like down pillows is key in finding the right solution for you.

Invest in High-Quality Pillow Protectors

Are feathers coming out of your pillows, causing discomfort and a mess in your home? One of the best ways to stop feathers from escaping is to invest in a high-quality pillow protector.

When choosing a pillow protector, consider the outer fabric and its impact on pillow seams. Look for a protector with a tight weave that will keep feathers inside.

A protective outer cover can also prevent feathers from escaping and keep your pillows clean. Look for pillow covers that are machine washable for easy cleaning.

Using a high-quality pillow protector, you can stop feathers from coming out of your pillows and ensure a comfortable night’s sleep.

Repairing Tears and Leaky Pillows

If you have a pillow that’s leaking feathers, don’t worry! You can repair it easily. The first step is to identify where the tear or hole is. Once you’ve located it, you’ll need a sewing needle and thread that matches the color of your pillow.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Step 1: Clean the damaged area with a damp cloth and let it dry completely.
  • Step 2: Thread your needle and knot the end of the thread.
  • Step 3: Start sewing from the inside of the pillow to keep the stitches hidden. Sew in a straight line along the tear or hole with small, tight stitches.
  • Step 4: Once you reach the end of the tear or hole, tie a knot on the inside of the pillow and trim any excess thread.

If you have a synthetic pillow, you can also use fabric patches and seam-reinforcing tape to repair tears or holes.

For feather quills or fill that are leaking, carefully remove the feathers from the damaged area, repair the hole, and then re-stuff the pillow with the original feathers.

Don’t let leaky pillows ruin your sleep! Take the time to repair them and keep them clean for a comfortable and restful night’s sleep.

Maintaining and Cleaning Pillows

Keeping your pillows clean can help prevent feather leakage and extend their lifespan. Here are some tips to maintain your pillows:

Keep Feathers from Coming Out

To keep feathers from clumping, fluff and rotate your pillows regularly. This will distribute the feathers evenly and prevent them from sticking to one side. Additionally, avoid using cheap pillows with low-density thread counts, as they are more likely to leak feathers.

Restore the Natural Shape

If your pillows have lost their shape, try fluffing the pillows gently or placing them in the dryer on a low heat cycle. You can also re-stuff pillows with original feathers or down feathers to restore shape and volume.

Dealing with Stuck or Poking Feathers

If feathers are stuck or poking out of your pillows, spot clean the affected area with a mild detergent. Use a fabric patch and hand sewing stitches to reinforce the seam around the hole and prevent feathers from escaping through new holes.

Remember, using a pillow protector and regular pillow covers can help keep feathers inside and protect against other allergens. For machine washable pillows, use a tight weave, down-proof cover and consider using seam reinforcing tape or a second seam for extra protection against leaks.

Choosing and Caring for Feather and Down Pillows

If you’re a feather and down pillow enthusiast, you know how important it is to take proper care of your beloved pillows. Here are some tips to keep your pillows in tip-top shape:

Choosing the Right Feather and Down Pillows

Not all feather and down pillows are created equal. Look for pillows with tightly woven covers made of down-proof cambric cotton to prevent feathers from escaping. Consider the fill power, or the amount of space an ounce of down takes up, to choose a density that suits your preference. Additionally, opt for extra dense thread counts to ensure durability.

Dealing with Ripped Seams

Don’t toss your pillows just because of a ripped seam. Use seam reinforcing tape or apply a fabric patch with hand sewing stitches to repair the rip. To avoid new holes, use a pillow protector over the entire pillow or reinforce the second seam.

Precautions Against Bed Bugs

Bed bugs can infest your feather and down pillows if you’re not careful. To prevent them, use a pillow protector over your pillow and wash your bed linens in hot water. If you suspect an infestation, consider getting professional pest control.

Using Fancy Sewing Supplies for Repairs

If you’re an experienced sewer, consider using fancy sewing supplies like a zigzag pattern or extra-strong thread to re-stuff pillows and reinforce seams.

Tip for Maintaining New Pillows

To keep feathers from poking out of your new pillow, fluff it gently and avoid pillow fights. Use a pillow protector to keep feathers inside and spot clean with mild detergent. You can wash feather and down pillows in a machine washable and low-heat dry cycle.

By taking these simple steps, you can keep your feather and down pillows in excellent condition, maximizing their lifespan and maintaining your comfort for years to come.

Cleaning a Pillow

To clean a pillow, start by checking the care label for any specific instructions. For pillows that are machine washable, use a mild detergent and wash them on a gentle cycle with warm water. Adding a cup of white vinegar to while you wash the pillow can help eliminate bacteria in the bed and odors.

Alternatively, if the pillow is not machine washable, consider using a fabric disinfectant spray to clean the pillow. Spritz the pillow generously, ensuring it is evenly covered, and after disinfecting the pillow allow it to air dry thoroughly before using it again.

Alternatives to Feather and Down Pillows

If you’ve had enough feathers coming out of your pillows, don’t worry; there are plenty of alternatives to choose from. One option is synthetic pillows – they’re hypoallergenic pillows and perfect for those who are allergic to feathers or other allergens. Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source

If you’re looking to give your existing pillows a new lease on life, you could consider washing them. Make sure to use low heat and a gentle cycle to prevent damage, and allow them to dry completely before using. Alternatively, vacuum packing can help compact your pillows and make them easier to store.

Another way to prevent feather leakage is to invest in pillow covers. These can be placed over your existing pillows to stop feathers from poking through and can be removed and washed easily.

If you’re in the market for new pillows, look for those that are designed to stop feathers from leaking, such as those with tight weaves or extra dense thread counts.

Finally, don’t forget to fluff your pillows gently to redistribute the feathers inside. This can help keep your pillows clean and comfortable for longer.

Upcycling Pillows with Escaping Feathers

If you find feathers escaping from your pillows, there’s no need to toss them in the garbage immediately. Instead, consider ways you might repurpose the feathers and fabric, upcycling your old pillows.

DIY Pet Bed Filling

Repurpose old pillows with escaping feathers by using them as filling for a DIY pet bed. Collect the feathers and create a cozy and comfortable sleeping area for your furry friend. Simply sew a durable cover, stuff it with the feathers, and secure it for an affordable and eco-friendly pet bed.

Gardening Mulch

Consider repurposing the escaping feathers from old pillows as natural mulch for your garden. Feathers can provide insulation, retain moisture, and deter weed growth. Spread the feathers around your plants to enhance soil health and contribute to sustainable gardening practices.

Arts and Crafts Projects

Get creative with your old pillows by using the feathers for arts and crafts projects. From making decorative ornaments to crafting unique pieces of jewelry, the lightweight and soft nature of feathers can add a whimsical touch to your creations. Involve the entire family in a fun and eco-friendly crafting session.

Donate to Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers

Many wildlife rehabilitation centers use natural materials, including feathers, to create comfortable nesting environments for injured or orphaned birds. Contact local wildlife centers to inquire if they could use your old feathers for the well-being of the wildlife they care for.

Winterizing Plants

Use the escaping feathers as insulation for potted plants during colder months. Gently tuck the feathers around the base of the plants to protect them from frost and provide an extra layer of warmth. This repurposing idea not only minimizes waste but also serves a practical purpose in maintaining the health of your plants.


Why are all the feathers coming out of my pillow?

Feathers coming out of your pillow can be attributed to several factors, primarily the quality and age of the pillow. Over time, as a feather pillow ages, the fabric encasing the feathers may wear down or develop small openings, allowing feathers to escape. Low-quality pillows or those with insufficient thread counts may experience this issue sooner.

Additionally, frequent fluffing, washing, or exposure to external elements can contribute to the breakdown of the pillow’s integrity, causing feathers to protrude.

What material keeps feathers from poking through a pillow?

The key lies in selecting a pillow with a high-quality cover or ticking. Ticking is the tightly woven fabric that encases the feathers. Opt for pillows with a high thread count and a durable, tightly woven cotton cover.

Pillow protectors made from densely woven materials, like cotton or polyester, can also serve as an additional barrier to keep feathers contained. Investing in pillows with double-layered or reinforced ticking enhances their longevity and minimizes the chances of feathers poking through.

When should you throw away feather pillows?

Knowing when to throw away feather pillows depends on their condition and how well they have been maintained. If a feather pillow shows signs of excessive flattening, lacks proper support, or has a persistent odor that doesn’t improve with washing, it may be time to replace it.

If feathers are consistently poking through, and attempts to repair or reinforce the pillow prove ineffective, it’s a clear indication that the pillow has reached the end of its useful life. Generally, replacing feather pillows every 1 to 2 years ensures continued comfort and support.

Are old feather pillows unhealthy?

While old feather pillows may not pose direct health risks, they can harbor allergens, dust mites, and bacteria in the bed over time. The accumulation of these irritants can contribute to respiratory issues and allergies, particularly for individuals sensitive to dust. Washing and maintaining feather pillows regularly can mitigate these concerns.

However, if the pillows lose their shape, support, or exhibit signs of wear, it’s advisable to replace them for both comfort and hygiene reasons.

Why not to use feather pillows?

Feather pillows may not be suitable for everyone due to several reasons. Firstly, individuals with allergies may find that feathers and down can trigger allergic reactions. Additionally, feathers can become compressed over time, leading to inadequate support for the head and neck.

Some people may also find feathers to be noisy or have concerns about feathers poking through the pillow. For those with allergies or specific comfort preferences, alternative pillow materials like memory foam or synthetic fills may be a more suitable choice.


Now that you have learned about various ways to prevent feathers from coming out of pillows, you can take action to keep your pillows clean and comfortable. If you are experiencing neck pain or feathers poking through, consider using a pillow protector or investing in a high-quality pillow with a tight weave and reinforced seams.

Also, avoid cheap pillows with low thread counts or fill that might leak feathers.

By following these tips, you can keep your pillows in top shape and enjoy a restful night’s sleep. Don’t forget to fluff your pillows gently and use a pillowcase to keep them clean and fresh!

About the author

Geoff McKinnen is a writer focusing mainly on the healthcare industry and has written articles on everything from foods to help you lose weight to the connection between Alzheimer’s and sleep. Geoff’s passionate about helping readers improve their well-being to lead happier lives. Outside of work, Geoff enjoys cycling and hiking and believes that by leading a healthy lifestyle, he can help others do the same.

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