How to Clean a Feather Mattress Topper?

by Max Stevens
a bed with 2 blue pillows
Photo by Malidate Van on Pexels. 

Got a dirty feather mattress topper? Your mattress topper is a vital asset to help set yourself up for a restful and peaceful sleep. But if it’s dirty, would you be willing to sleep on it?

Like any type of mattress topper, a feather mattress topper would never be invincible to dust mites, bed bugs, stains, and odours. On top of that, these contaminants can cause health problems such as allergies and asthma or even a rare one called Bird Fanciers’ Lung.

The good thing about it is that feather mattress toppers are a better alternative for asthma sufferers since fewer dust mites are present!

As to why it’s a better alternative, foam-based mattresses are rarely hypoallergenic and will likely cause more respiratory problems than down and feather-based toppers.

But certainly, it’s still not a good idea to sleep on a dirty feather mattress topper. And if ever you’re wondering about what type of birds do down and feather mattress toppers material come from, they come from geese, ducks, or both.

So give it a thought for a minute and say, “if these birds offered their down and feathers for me to have a good sleep, I should clean my mattress topper properly and diligently”.

All humour aside, continue reading down below. We’ll cover how to clean your feather mattress topper using all the best methods we know.

Materials You Need

Before we go to the actual cleaning steps, gather these materials first so you can seamlessly clean your feather mattress topper. These materials are readily available in your laundry area or on local market shelves:

  • Detergent (preferably liquid detergent)
  • Water
  • Washing Machine
  • Dryer
  • Clothes clippers
  • Clothesline

How to Clean a Feather Mattress Topper?

As with any mattress topper, you need to take precautionary measures before cleaning activities. Do these things:

  • Check for wear and tear, no matter how small or almost unnoticeable
  • Check for small holes
  • Check the care instructions

You’ll have to offer several hours of your time (about an hour and a half for the wash cycle and a few hours for drying). Do follow these steps:

Step 1: Fill your washing machine with water, and pour a good amount of liquid detergent into its compartment. Set the water temperature to the cold setting to preserve the topper’s structural integrity.

Step 2: Gently fold your feather mattress topper to fit inside the washing machine. Then, turn the wash cycle to the most gentle option (to preserve the topper’s structural integrity).

Step 3: After the wash cycle has finished, place your feather mattress topper in the dryer and set the temperature to the low-medium range. Place two tennis balls or laundry balls in the dryer to reduce fluffing.

Step 4: Remove the feather mattress topper from the dryer and finish it off by thoroughly drying it outdoors using a clothesline and clothes clippers for a few hours.

How to Quickly Clean and Deodorize a Feather Mattress Topper?

The steps we’ve mentioned above are the deep cleaning method, but if you’re short of time. If you want to quickly clean your feather mattress topper, you can simply vacuum it first and then hang your topper in the bright sunlight outside.

The sun’s heat will remove odours and disinfect your feather mattress topper within a few hours. No breaking a sweat, and you’ll have a fresh feather mattress topper afterwards.

Can a Feather Mattress Topper Be Dry Cleaned?

Yes, a feather mattress topper can be dry cleaned. But before you do that, you could check your topper’s care instruction tags or labels first. After all, the manufacturers have the final say if their product is suitable for one cleaning method to another.

If you decide to dry clean your feather mattress topper, carefully fold your topper to fit inside the dry cleaning machine, and you just have to wait it out.

How Do You Clean Pee Out of a Feather Mattress Topper?

You can spot clean your feather mattress topper using the vinegar-baking soda method we’ve covered here. But if the urine has covered more than 30% of your feather mattress topper’s surface area, you have to do the deep cleaning method we’ve covered above.

After that, rest assured that your feather mattress topper will look, smell, and feel like new afterwards.

How Does Cleaning a Feather Mattress Toppers Differ From Other Mattress Types?

Most mattress toppers with dense materials cannot be folded to fit inside a washing or dry cleaning machine. We’re talking about memory foam, polyfoam, latex foam, and gel foam mattress toppers.

Since you can’t use a washing machine, feather mattress toppers are often spot cleaned instead of machine-washed.

On the other hand, feather and down mattress toppers are soft and foldable. You may have crease-related problems when you smush them inside a washing or dry cleaning machine.

So the main difference is feather and down mattress toppers are easier to clean than most mattress topper types.

How to Deodorise a Feather Mattress Topper?

Deodorising a feather mattress topper can be done in the quick and deep cleaning ways, both of which we’ve covered above. But for the sake of a quick rundown, here’s how you deodorize a feather mattress topper:

Quick Way

  • Vacuum your feather mattress topper using an upholstery attachment for fabric
  • Using a clothesline and clothes clippers, hang your feather mattress topper in the bright sunlight and wait a few hours

Deep Cleaning

  • Check your feather mattress topper first for holes, wear, and tear.
  • Prepare your washing machine for a cold wash cycle, and put in the topper.
  • After the cycle, put it in the dryer and clock in the low-medium temperature.
  • Remove from the dryer and dry it thoroughly outdoors using a clothesline and clothes clippers.

Why Does Feather Mattress Toppers Smell?

Mattress toppers, in general, can smell because of sweat, accumulation of dead skin cells, urine, dust mites, blood, vomit, leftover food crumbs, and spilt drinks.

These all apply to feather mattress toppers.

But, you can easily make your topper smell fresh within a cycle in your washing machine.

You just pop it inside your washing machine, wait it out, dry it in your dryer and the outdoors, and you now have a fresh-smelling feather mattress topper, all while breaking no sweat.

How to Fluff a Feather Mattress Topper?

Fluffing is fixing the lumps and uneven areas in your feather mattress topper. Since down and feathers are not bonded together inside your topper, they get dislodged from time to time leading to lumps and uneven surfaces.

To fix these, you do fluffing. You can fluff a feather mattress topper in two easy ways:

Hand Method

The hand method uses your hand (obviously). You need to repeatedly pat down your feather mattress topper to redistribute the down and feathers in lumpy and uneven areas.

Shake Method

How do you execute the ‘shake method’? Holding two sides of your feather mattress topper, shake it from side to side repeatedly until the down and feathers are redistributed to their natural positions. And, how do you know when they’re redistributed successfully? You’ll be quick to notice an all-even surface.

How Long Do Feather Mattress Toppers Last?

Feather mattress toppers typically last for at least 2 years. But if you bought a high-quality feather mattress topper and the topper is well-maintained, you can prolong it for a few more years.

Wear and tear is the primary reason a feather mattress topper’s lifespan shortens. Avoid this by regularly spot cleaning and deep cleaning every month to ensure it lasts longer.  

Here are some tips to prolong your feather mattress topper:

Tips to Properly Care For a Feather Mattress Topper

To prolong and make the best out of the benefits of your feather mattress topper, follow these tips:

  • Use a mattress protector. These are usually waterproof, so you won’t worry about liquid stains.
  • Ensure your washing machine is large enough for your feather mattress topper. Go to your local laundry shop if your machine is small for your topper to fit in.
  • Dry it properly using a dryer and the sunlight. Letting it become damp can lead to the growth of moulds.
  • Use a mattress pad to reduce the pressure on your feather mattress topper. This leads to reduced instances of lumps and uneven surfaces.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning a feather mattress topper is an easy task. If you notice stains and odours, you can just pop it inside your washing machine and let the machine do the cleaning!

With this in mind, you certainly would be able to enjoy your feather mattress topper without the unsightly stains and unpleasant odour! You’ll sleep soundly and peacefully while enjoying your fresh-smelling bed!


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  • Cooper CJ, Teleb M, Elhanafi S, Ajmal S, Hernandez GT. Bird fanciers’ lung induced by exposure to duck and goose feathers. Am J Case Rep. 2014;15:155-158. Published 2014 Apr 16. doi:10.12659/AJCR.890184
  • Moisés A. Calderón, Allan Linneberg, Jörg Kleine-Tebbe, Frédéric De Blay, Dolores Hernandez Fernandez de Rojas, Johann Christian Virchow, Pascal Demoly, Respiratory allergy caused by house dust mites: What do we really know?, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology,
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Max Stevens

Chief Editor here at The Sleep Checklist. Suffered from a seemingly infinite knot in my thoracic area (between the spine and shoulder blade) due to my lifelong side sleeping habits. With my girlfriend, we look to provide the most relevant and best mattress advice.