Why Does My Down Pillow Smell Like Poop? How to Get Rid of the Smell

Why Does My Down Pillow Smell Like Poop?

The most likely reason for your pillow smelling like poop is that some of the feathers haven’t completely dried. When down pillows get wet, the feathers have a tendency to stick together. As a result, the feathers in the middle of the clumps don’t always dry properly. This can give your pillow a barnyard or poop smell. 

To get rid of the smell, try airing the pillow outside in the sun. This will help to remove moisture from the pillow and will help any bad odours to dissipate. If this doesn’t work, wash your pillow with vinegar and baking soda and then dry it thoroughly. 

The following tips and tricks will help you to get rid of the smell poop whilst retaining the fluffy texture of your pillow. 

How to Get Rid of the Poop Smell / Barnyard Smell From Down Pillows

How to Get Rid of the Poop Smell From Down Pillows
  1. Place the pillow outside to air for 3 hours. If you have an outdoor washing line, hang up the pillow to air. Alternatively, place the pillow on a clean, dry surface and turn it over after a couple of hours. The sun has natural deodorising properties and the outdoor breeze will help to evaporate any moisture from inside the pillow.
  • If this doesn’t remove the poop smell, continue with the rest of the steps. 
  1. Wash the pillow with ½ cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup of baking soda. Vinegar and baking soda both have natural deodorizing properties. Set your washing machine to the gentle or delicate cycle, place your pillows in the machine, and then add the vinegar and baking soda. 
  2. Air-dry your pillow or dry it in the washing machine. Removing all moisture from your pillow is the key to removing unpleasant odours. This can be achieved by using a dryer or by harnessing the power of the sun. 

How to Air-Dry a Down Pillow

How to Air-Dry a Down Pillow without a dryer
  1. Place your feather pillow on the clothesline on a warm, breezy day.  It normally takes 2-3 hours for the pillow to completely dry. However, it can take slightly longer in cool weather.
  • If you don’t have a clothesline, place the pillow on a flat outdoor surface and turn it over after 2 hours. 
  1. Fluff the pillow to restore its volume. When feathers dry, they will often clump together. This can make the pillow feel flat and hard. Hold the corners of pillow and beat it against a clean surface until the pillow looks fluffy and even. 

How to Dry a Down Pillow in the Dryer

How to Dry a Down Pillow in the Dryer
  1. Press down on the pillow with a dry towel. This helps to remove any excess water and speeds up the drying process. Place your down pillow between two clean towels. Then, gently press down. Avoid squeezing the water out of the pillow, as this can damage the feathers and make your pillow feel flat. 
  2. Dry the pillow on a no-heat setting. Setting your dryer to the delicate or no-heat setting. Avoid using heat, as this can cause your pillow to become stiff and, worse case scenario, catch fire.  

Read our guide on how to dry your down pillow in the dryer safely

  1. Fluff your pillow in between cycles. Depending on the length of your dryer cycle, it can take 3-4 cycles for your pillow to completely dry. At the end of each cycle, remove the pillow from the dryer and beat the pillow against a clean surface. This will help to break up the clumps of feathers and makes the pillow dry faster. 
  • If your dryer has long cycles, take the pillow out every 20-minutes to fluff it.


  • Add clean tennis balls or dryer balls into the dryer to help make your pillow extra fluffy. The balls will bounce around the dryer and help to break up the clumps of feathers. 
  • If there are any hard spots in your pillow, gently massage the lumps and pull the feathers apart. These feathers will likely be a little damp, so leave the pillow to air-dry outside for a few hours before using it. 

Read our full guide on how to dry feather pillows without causing damage.


It can be quite alarming when your clean pillow smells like poop! Thankfully the cause is almost never actual poop. The most likely reason for the smell is due to the pillow having trapped moisture. When the feathers are damp, they can release an unpleasant barnyard smell. Air your pillow in the sun or pop it in the dryer to remove any odour-causing moisture from the pillow. 

If your pillow still smells, wash it in the washing machine with vinegar and baking soda. Then, dry it thoroughly in the sun or in the dryer (read more about how to dry feather pillows without damaging them). 

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