How To Prevent Feathers From Coming Out Of Pillows

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If you have feather or down pillows you’ve probably experienced fluff or down clusters leaking out of your pillow covers. You might even feel quills from your feather pillow poking you at night! Leakage can be really annoying, and nobody wants down feathers stuck to their bedding. Luckily, we have some quick and easy fixes for this problem. Read on below to learn how to keep feathers from coming out of your pillows.

4 Easy Ways to Keep Feathers From Coming Out of a Pillow

If your pillow is leaking but you’re not ready to buy a new one, there are a few different fixes you can try. Take a look at the list below to see some of our favorite options.

Use a Pillow Protector

A pillow protector is like a special pillowcase with a tight weave. You use it under your pillowcase to keep your pillow clean. But a high quality pillow protector will also prevent feathers from coming out of your pillow or poking you at night.  Certain pillow protectors are even designed with extra dense thread-counts specifically to keep feathers from leaking. We recommend using a pillow protector with all your bed pillows, not just down and feather pillows, because they also protect you from dust mites, bed bugs, and other allergens.

Patch Ripped Seams

Take your pillow out of the case and protector and carefully examine its outer fabric, especially if you’ve had it for a few months. There may be small rips along the seams that are causing the down fill to leak out. Patch up these leaks by re-sewing the seam with a sewing needle and some thread. If the feather fill is leaking from a hole somewhere else on the pillow, use an old sheet to patch up the rip.

Pro tip: If your couch cushions are leaking feathers, it’s likely because of a ripped seam. Take your cushions out of the outer covers and hunt for the hole to down-proof your living room.

Fluff Your Pillow Regularly

This is the easiest DIY solution for leaking feathers ever! Fluffing your feather pillows once a day (and not only when they look flat), pushes the filling back in place and keeps it from building up in certain areas. Evenly distributed filling will prevent leakage. Plus, it makes your pillows more comfortable!

Be sure to fluff gently so you don’t create new holes. If your pillow is leaking, we also recommend avoiding using a drying cycle to fluff it. While a low heat dry cycle can re-fluff a pillow, it might also make leakage worse. Hand-fluff your leaky pillows instead.

Spot Clean Your Pillow

Washing your pillow frequently wears it out and can lead to leakage. Most down and feather pillows are machine-washable, but if you’re struggling with leakage avoid throwing it in the washing machine. Instead, spot clean the pillow and wash the pillowcase and cover frequently. This will help your pillow last longer and prevent it from developing new, or worse, leaks. Check out our How to Clean Your Pillow guide for some tips on spot cleaning.

Best Practices for Keeping Pillows from Leaking In The Future

If you’ve just patched up a leak, or you just bought new pillows and want to prevent leakage, use the tips below to prevent new shedding.

Use Caution

Use your pillow only for sleeping. Pillow fights, wedging it into the car for travel, or generally being rough with it will cause it to wear out faster. Feather pillows naturally leak as they wear out, so the gentler you are with your pillow the less likely it is to leak.

Don’t Vacuum Pack Your Pillows

If you only use feather pillows in the winter or are trying to save space during a move, compressing your pillows with a vacuum seal can seem like a great idea. But compressing your pillows this way can force feather quills to poke out through the outer cover. Sacrifice some space to store your pillows in their natural shape.

Check Your Pillow Seams Regularly

Most leakage starts at the seams, and it can get worse fast if you’re not paying attention. Quickly check your pillow seams each time you wash your pillowcases to make sure there aren’t any holes or wearing. If there are, patch them ASAP.

Reinforce Your Seams

You can reinforce the seams of your pillows by sewing a zigzag pattern over the line of the original seam of the pillow with a needle and thread. You can also sew a second seam right below or above the first seam. This can make the seams stronger for longer. You can also use seam reinforcing tape to reinforce your seams.

Goose vs. Duck Feather Pillows

If you can’t decide which type of feather pillow to choose, use the chart below to decide! If you’re shopping for new feather pillows, look for pillows made of cambric cotton that have knife-edge seams. These features are meant to stop feathers from coming out of your pillow, and can make your bedding last longer.




Goose feather and down pillows are known for feeling luxuriously soft and malleable. Goose feathers and down are slightly larger than duck down and feathers, so are stronger and stay fluffy for longer.

Like goose pillows, duck feather and down pillows feel soft, malleable, and luxurious. Duck pillows are more affordable than goose pillows, so budget shoppers may want to consider this option.


Goose feathers are softer than duck feathers, goose down is fluffier than duck down and maintains its loft longer.

Duck feather and down pillows are more affordable than goose feather and down pillows, they still feel luxurious and soft.


High-quality goose feather and down pillows can be very expensive

Duck feather and down pillows lose their loft more quickly than goose feather and down pillows, they also may contain more lingering odors than goose feather pillows.




Feather Shed

Goose feathers and down are slightly larger than duck feathers and down, so goose pillows may shed less frequently than duck pillows.

Duck feathers and down are slightly smaller, so duck pillows may shed more frequently than goose pillows.

Do I Need to Replace My Pillows If It’s Leaking Feathers?

It depends on how bad the leak is! If you notice your pillow is much flatter or you feel uncomfortable, it’s time for a replacement. If sleeping on your pillow is causing neck pain it’s also time to purchase a new one. Finally, you might also want to replace your pillow if you’re really annoyed by the amount of leakage you’re experiencing. If that’s the case, I recommend a synthetic pillow, which will not leak feathers. If you’re in the market for a new pillow, check out our best pillows of 2024 guide.

How Often Should You Buy New Pillows?

It is recommended that you buy a new pillow every one to two years to ensure you’re not sleeping on built-up allergens. This also ensures your pillow is supportive and comfortable. But in general, you’ll be able to tell when you need a new pillow. If you’re uncomfortable or sore after using your current pillow, or find your allergies acting up at night, it’s time for a new one. If you need a new down pillow, check out our best down pillows article. If you’re stuck choosing between down and feather fills, check out our down vs feather pillows comparison.

Madison Schaper

Madison is an ex-mattress tester and current law student. When she's not studying, she puts her accumulated mattress and bedding knowledge to good use writing articles for Mattress Clarity. A few of her favorite non-work activities include trying new restaurants, reading short stories, and watching too much reality TV.