The Best Detergent For Goose Down Products

Last Updated on March 30, 2023

A common question that people have is – what is the best detergent for goose down products?

The average person uses whatever detergent they have at home, like Tide, Gain, Arm & Hammer, etc. And while common detergents like these will clean your goose down pillows and comforters, they actually do more harm than good.

The problem is that they clean a little too much.

Household detergents are designed to remove stains and odors, which include oils of any kind. Which is normally a good thing. But down feathers have natural oils that keep the feather fluffy and silky. This natural oil also prevents individual barbs or hairs from sticking to one another.

And your typical store detergent will actually remove these oils from the feathers.


a goose down pillow with cross section showing the down filling

Over time, the goose down feathers become dry and stiff. And, they clump and lose their insulative abilities. So, a goose down pillow that used to be fluffy, will slowly become dense and flat. And a goose down comforter that used to keep you warm and toasty will appear to be thinner, and not as effective.

So what is the best detergent for goose down bedding? And how should you wash goose down products if you want to maintain them and keep them like new?


The Best Detergent For Goose Down

The solution to the problem is to use a cleaner specially formulated for goose down and feather products. A detergent that will clean your pillow or comforter, but also not damage the goose down.

We usually replace goose down comforters and pillows because the down fill inside degrades, and no longer offers support or comfort. In other words, using a better detergent = longer life.

So, if you want the best detergent for goose down items, we recommend Nikwax Down Wash Direct.

Nikwax Down Wash Direct, which is a detergent for goose down products


Nikwax Down Wash Direct cleans odors, dirt, and body oils – but leaves the goose down intact. So, you can wash your pillows and comforters as often as you’d like, without worrying about wear and tear!

You can use Nikwax to wash goose down pillows, comforters, blankets, jackets, sleeping bags, etc.

Just follow the simple instructions below…


How To Wash Goose Down Pillows And Comforters

Washing your goose down pillows and comforters with Nikwax Down Wash Direct is simple. Just make sure to read the tags, and follow the instructions as far as water temperature.

  1. Place the items in the washing machine
  2. Add a capful of Down Wash Direct Cleaner
  3. Run your machine on the delicate cycle

A capful of Nikwax being poured into the washing machine



How To Dry Goose Down Pillows And Comforters

When your washing machine is done, you’ll also want to properly dry your pillows and comforters as well.

If you’re willing to go through the extra step of using a specialty cleaner, then you might also consider drying properly as well. So, for this step, we highly recommend skipping fabric softener and/or dryer sheets.

The softeners in these products coat the hairs of down feathers and stick to them.

Over time, the down feathers become heavy and stick to each other, and clump. Are you constantly having to fluff your pillows? Are there empty spots in your comforter?

This is probably from using fabric softener or dryer sheets. So, for proper drying, we recommend switching to a set of wool dryer balls.


a set of wool dryer balls which are placed in the drying machine


Wool dryer balls are literally just balls made of wool.

They bounce around in the dryer and do the same job as dryer sheets. They are unscented, but you can also add a few drops of essential oil to them if you prefer a “fresh laundry” scent.

Wool dryer balls don’t contain any toxic chemicals like dryer sheets or fabric softener, and they generally last for up to a thousand loads. So they’re safe and cheap!


Instructions here are also very easy!

  1. Place your items into the drying machine
  2. Add the wool dryer balls
  3. Run the dryer on the lowest heat setting

When the drying cycle is done, check your pillows or comforters. If they’re not completely dry, place them back in the dryer, and run another drying cycle.

Wet goose down feathers can get moldy, so you’ll want them to be completely dry.


Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions other than what is listed below, please feel free to contact us.


Can I use Nikwax in a top-loading washing machine?

Yes, you can, but don’t overload the machine so the agitator has some wiggle room. A comforter by itself, or 2 to 3 pillows at a time is ideal.


Pouring Nikwax into a top-loading washing machine



Can I use Nikwax for other types of down fill?

Yes, you can use this product for goose down as well as duck down products.


Should I use Nikwax for down alternative bedding as well?

You certainly can, but you don’t need to. Any non-bleach detergent will work fine for down alternative products.


How often should I wash pillows and comforters?

Depending on how you maintain your pillows (more about this later), we recommend washing your pillows every 3 to 4 months. Comforters can be washed less frequently – twice per year (or more as needed).


Can I wash them less frequently?

As far as comforters, no, you should wash them about twice a year. But, you can wash pillows less frequently if you use a pillow protector.


a pillow inside of a zippered pillow protector


Using a zippered and waterproof pillow protector will protect your pillow from liquids, and bed bugs. It will also keep it clean, and free of odors and stains.

As you sleep, you sweat, and that ends up on and in your pillow. That is what causes odors, and yellowing on your pillow’s surface. So, if you have a pillow protector, your sweat, body oil, etc. won’t make it through to the pillow, and it will stay clean and fresh.

And so, you don’t have to wash it as often. If you consistently keep the pillow inside of a protector, you can just wash the protector with the rest of your sheets, and wash your pillow about once per year.

Pro tip – If you want a firmer pillow, get a pillow protector one size smaller than your pillow. If you have a King-sized pillow, for example, use a Queen-sized pillow protector.

This will provide more loft and density for your pillow.

Is Nikwax environmentally friendly?

Yes, it is. Nikwax is water-based, biodegradable, and free of solvents, phosphates, and phthalates. Here is a full list of ingredients.



Is this detergent scented?

No, it is unscented. If you prefer a “fresh scent” with your laundry, add a scented product to the dryer.


Cost Of Maintenance

We covered the best detergent for goose down bedding, as well as proper maintenance.

The only downside to using a specialty cleaner like Nikwax is the cost. A bottle of Nickwax costs about 3 times as much as a container of Tide detergent, for example.

But, if it preserves your goose down bedding, then it’s worth it. Especially since you don’t wash comforters and pillows too often.

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