How to Clean Ostrich Feathers

feather image by Dwight Davis from

Ostrich feathers are used in a variety of applications, such as ornamentation in hats, in feather dusters and as decorations. However, over a period of time, these beautiful feathers can become dirty and dingy looking, especially if they are white.

Feather dusters can also become filled with dirt and need to be washed in order to regain their effectiveness for dusting around the house. It's important to know how to properly clean these feathers to keep them looking beautiful without having them fall apart.

Hold the feather at the bottom of the spine, with the feather fanning downward.

Use a soft, dry paintbrush to gently brush away dust. Move from the spine of the feather outward, following the direction of the small feathers.

Check to see if your feathers are clean after their brushing. If they're not, grab a large container and prepare to wash them.

Heat some water or run hot water from your tap into a large basin, bowl or bucket. If your ostrich feathers are dyed, be prepared for the possibility of the dye staining whichever vessel you've chosen to wash the feathers in.

Make sure you have enough water so that you can fully submerse the feathers.

Dissolve white soap into the water. It may help to cut the soap into smaller pieces first. You can also use a mild dish detergent.

Stir the water and soap until you achieve a frothy consistency.

Swish each feather through the water. Repeat until the feathers look clean. Be careful not to break any of the feather's spines or smaller individual feathers.

Replace the soapy water with fresh, clean water. Swish the feathers through again to rinse away any remaining soap.

Squeeze excess water from the feathers if you are washing a feather duster. If you're washing decorative or individual feather, do not squeeze them.

Dry the feathers by hanging them upside down and letting them drip, or by partially drying with a hairdryer. Make sure the hairdryer is set to the lowest setting. You can also dry them flat, but this may cause the feathers to lose some of their fluffiness.

Fluff the feathers using a hairdryer, or hold them over a steaming pot or kettle until they have plumped back up. When using the hairdryer, be careful to keep the dryer moving to prevent scorching the feathers.