How to Clean Feathers Found Outside

How to Clean Feathers Found Outside?

Feathers found outside can be a beautiful and unique addition to your collection.

However, before displaying them or using them in crafts, it’s important to clean them properly.

In this section, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of DIY feather cleaning to ensure their beauty and longevity.

Feathers are made of keratin and can be susceptible to damage from pests, mold, and sun exposure.

By following our simple cleaning methods, you can effectively eliminate any pests, sanitize the feathers, cleanse and dry them, restore their appearance, and properly store them for future use.

Whether you have found feathers in your backyard or during a nature walk, our guide will help you transform them into pristine treasures.

Let’s dive in and discover the art of feather cleaning!

Eliminating Mites and Parasites

Before cleaning feathers found outside, it’s important to eliminate any mites and parasites that may be present.

These unwanted guests can cause damage to the feathers and pose a health risk.

Here are some effective methods to ensure your feathers are free from pests:

1. Brushing: Use a soft toothbrush to gently brush off insects and dust from the feathers.

Take care to be thorough but gentle, as feathers can be fragile.

2. Mothballs: Place the feathers in an airtight container with mothballs containing paradichlorobenzene.

Let them sit undisturbed for 24 hours.

The fumes from the mothballs will help eliminate any remaining pests.

3. Freezing: Another effective method is to place the feathers in a ziplock bag and freeze them for 48 hours.

The freezing temperatures will kill any mites or parasites present.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your feathers are free from pests before proceeding with the cleaning process.

This will help maintain the integrity and quality of the feathers for future use.

Now that you have successfully eliminated mites and parasites from your feathers, you can proceed with the next step in the cleaning process.

In the next section, we will discuss how to sanitize the feathers to kill bacteria and viruses, ensuring they are safe and hygienic to handle.

Sanitizing the Feathers

Once any mites and parasites have been removed from the feathers, the next step is to sanitize them to eliminate bacteria and viruses.

Proper sanitization is crucial to ensure the feathers are safe to handle and use in various projects.

One effective method for sanitizing feathers is to create a mixture using equal parts rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.

Soak the feathers in this solution for at least 30 minutes, ensuring that they are fully submerged.

The alcohol and hydrogen peroxide combination is a powerful disinfectant that can kill a wide range of microorganisms.

If rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide is not readily available, another option is to use a solution of dish or hand soap diluted in water.

Gently swish the feathers in the soapy water, ensuring that all surfaces are covered.

This method can help remove dirt and bacteria from the feathers.

After swishing, rinse the feathers thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue.

In some cases, boiling water can be used to sanitize feathers.

Carefully dip the feathers into a pot of boiling water for a few seconds, ensuring that all parts of the feathers come into contact with the water.

Then, remove the feathers and gently wipe them with a soft cloth to remove any remaining impurities.

This method should only be used with caution, as exposure to high heat may damage delicate feathers.


· Sanitizing the feathers is an important step to eliminate bacteria and viruses.

· A mixture of equal parts rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide can be used to soak the feathers for at least 30 minutes.

· An alternative method is to use a solution of dish or hand soap diluted in water to gently swish the feathers.

· Boiling water can also be used to sanitize the feathers, followed by gentle wiping with a soft cloth.

Cleansing and Drying

Once the feathers have been properly sanitized, the next step is to cleanse and dry them.

This ensures that any remaining residue and moisture are removed, leaving the feathers clean and ready for preservation.

Here are the steps to cleanse and dry feathers:

1. Wash with Hand Soap

Dilute a small amount of hand soap in water to create a gentle cleaning solution.

Gently swish the feathers in the soapy water, ensuring that each feather is thoroughly cleansed.

This will help remove any remaining dirt or debris from the feathers.

1. Rinse Thoroughly

After washing the feathers, rinse them thoroughly with clean water.

Ensure that all traces of soap are removed to prevent any residue from damaging the feathers or affecting their appearance.

Rinse until the water runs clear and there are no soap suds remaining.

1. Drying with a Hair Dryer

To expedite the drying process, lay the feathers flat on paper towels or a clean cloth.

Use a hair dryer on the lowest heat setting to gently dry the feathers.

Hold the hair dryer at a safe distance to prevent any heat damage.

Move the hair dryer in a back-and-forth motion to ensure even drying.

Alternatively, you can let the feathers air dry naturally, but this may take longer.

By following these steps, you can effectively cleanse and dry the feathers found outside.

This process helps remove any lingering dirt, residue, or moisture, ensuring that the feathers are clean, dry, and ready for preservation.

Restoring the Feathers’ Looks

To bring the feathers back to their original splendor, it’s important to restore their shape and overall appearance.

Steam is a highly effective method for achieving this, allowing you to easily preen and fluff the feathers.

There are a couple of options for steaming feathers, depending on the quantity you have available.

If you only have a small number of feathers, you can use the steam from an electric kettle.

Hold the feathers over the steam, allowing the moisture and heat to work their magic.

As the feathers absorb the steam, use your fingers to gently preen and reshape them, ensuring they regain their pristine form.

For larger quantities of feathers, a garment steamer is a more practical choice.

The steady flow of steam will cover a wider area, allowing you to efficiently fluff and reshape multiple feathers at once.

Remember to be gentle throughout the process to avoid damaging the delicate structures of the feathers.

Preserving and Storing the Feathers

Once you have gone through the process of cleaning and restoring feathers found outside, it’s important to properly preserve and store them to maintain their beauty and durability.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your feathers remain in excellent condition for years to come.

Preserving Options

There are a few methods you can use to preserve feathers and protect them from potential damage.

One option is to apply a small amount of rubbing cedar or citronella oil onto the feathers.

These oils not only help preserve the feathers but also act as natural insect repellents.

Another option is to lightly cover the feathers with a thin layer of boric acid, which can prevent insect infestation.

Storing in Sealed Containers

When it comes to storing feathers, it’s crucial to keep them in airtight and sealed containers.

This prevents moisture, dust, and pests from coming into contact with the feathers.

Choose a container that is large enough to accommodate the feathers without bending or crushing them.

A plastic storage container with a tight-fitting lid is an excellent choice for this purpose.

1. Place the cleaned and preserved feathers inside the container.

2. Ensure that the container is completely sealed and airtight.

3. Store the container in a cool, dry, and dark place to minimize exposure to light and humidity.

Following these steps will help maintain the integrity and beauty of your feathers, ensuring that you can enjoy them for many years to come.


Ensuring the cleanliness of feathers found outside is of utmost importance for maintaining their beauty and quality.

By following the comprehensive step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can effectively eliminate pests, sanitize the feathers, cleanse and dry them, restore their appearance, and properly preserve and store them.

Cleaning found feathers not only allows you to enjoy their natural allure but also guarantees your safety and prolongs the lifespan of the feathers.

Remember to always adhere to the laws and regulations regarding feather collection, gathering feathers only from domesticated birds and avoiding protected or migratory species.

The process of cleaning and caring for found feathers enables you to appreciate their splendor while ensuring responsible practices.

Cleaning feathers found outside is a rewarding endeavor that not only enhances their visual appeal but also safeguards their integrity.

By taking the necessary steps to clean and maintain feathers, you can preserve their exquisite beauty for years to come.


How often should I clean feathers found outside?

Feathers found outside should be cleaned as soon as possible to prevent damage from pests, mold, and sun exposure.

Can I use water to clean feathers?

Yes, you can use mild dish soap diluted in water to wash feathers.

Rinse them thoroughly to remove any soap residue.

How do I eliminate mites and parasites from feathers?

You can brush off insects and dust with a toothbrush or use airtight containers with mothballs containing paradichlorobenzene.

Freezing the feathers for 48 hours is also effective.

How do I sanitize feathers?

You can soak feathers in a mixture of rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide or use a solution of dish or hand soap diluted in water to sanitize them.

Can I use boiling water to sanitize feathers?

Yes, boiling water can be used to sanitize feathers.

After boiling, gently wipe the feathers with a soft cloth.

How should I dry feathers after cleaning?

Lay the feathers flat on paper towels and use a hair dryer on the lowest setting.

Do not hold the hair dryer too close to avoid damaging the feathers.

How can I restore the shape of the feathers?

You can use steam from an electric kettle or a garment steamer to preen and reshape the feathers.

How do I preserve and store cleaned feathers?

Rubbing cedar or citronella oil onto the feathers can help preserve them.

Store in a tightly sealed container in a dry and dark place.