Why my feather duvet smells after cleaning?

The feather and down duvets are nice and cosy. We all love them using feather duvets during chilly winter nights. Our duvet covers our body while sleeping and becomes dirty after using it because of sweat and body odour. We love to get it cleaned for a nice and fresh feeling again.

Generally washing with water and detergent is recommended by experts for feather duvets even if the care label says dry cleaning. The only fibre content that is not advised to be washed is sheep wool. So, the question is why my feather/down Duvet or pillow smell after cleaning?


Well, this happens when the duvet or pillow is not dried properly. They smell like “musty”. In commercial equipment, there are sensors that detect the level of humidity and then stop the drying when the sensor feels it is dry. In rare occasions, feathers in the middle can still have some moisture which can develop smell after a few days.

If the moisture is left in the duvet or pillow, it combines with proteins and natural oils present inside the feather which makes an ideal environment for fungus to grow. These fungal spores grow better with moisture and develop a stinky smell which eventually gets worse.

The solution for this is to re-wash the duvet and dry it properly. A fungicide with some detergent can also be added to kill the fungal spores and stop it growing further.

We Farthings Cambridge and Trumpington have found that we had to reclean few feather/down duvets and/or pillows over the year. We always try our best but on rare occasions, it can happen even to the best :)

At Farthings Cambridge and Trumpington, we recommend you remove the duvet from the plastic bag as soon as you collect it from us. If you need to store it for longer, do store it in a cotton bag so that it can breathe and doesn’t allow the fungus to grow.


In case you need any further advice, bring your duvet to us and we can explain it to you. You can also give us a call on 01223 755180 or 01223 625310 and we will be more than happy to give you help you.

Dry Cleaners Cambridge - Farthings

143 Milton Rd, Cambridge, CB4 1XE

01223 755180

Dry Cleaners Trumpington - Farthings

1 Anstey Way, Trumpington, CB2 9JE

01223 625310

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