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Washing Down Comforters


Woman holding a white comforter and blue pillows against a gray background.

A down comforter is a comforting, relaxing investment in your bedroom and your ability to get a good night’s sleep. As with anything, you want it to last as long as possible, and stay in the best condition it can. So here are some tips for washing down duvets and comforters to keep them in the best condition possible.

How Often Should You Wash a Down Comforter?

Down is a very durable filling, and doesn’t require washing as frequently as stuffings like cotton or synthetic fibers. Just once or twice a year should be good, as long as you’re washing the sheets frequently. More frequent laundering risks crushing or compacting the down inside.

Washing down comforters at home only twice a year means that when it is time to do it, there’s time to do it carefully. Start by inspecting it carefully for any tears or holes. Stitch up any you find, because a trip through the washing machine can pull worryingly large amounts of down stuffing out through an unnoticed hole.

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Washing Down Comforters in a Front Loader Washing Machine

The chief concern is space. The smaller or more cramped the washing machine is, the more the down filling will be compacted and crushed. There is even a possibility of damaging the machine itself, if you try to stuff too large a comforter into it. You should be washing down comforters in a washing machine that is either front-loading or has no central agitator post. Of those the higher-capacity the machine is, the better.

Set the machine to a delicate cycle, lukewarm temperature, and use a gentle detergent. While detergents meant specifically for down do exist, and if you’re lucky enough to have some you should go ahead and use it, they aren’t a necessity. There’s lots of different detergent types so select the one best suited for the task and use a minimal amount. A detergent without harsh chemicals will do fine.

Do not use fabric softener, and if you must use bleach, use a bleach that does not contain chlorine.

In order to help keep the comforter from bunching, try including one or two old socks you have lying around in your drawers, with tennis balls inside, tied at the top. This will keep the laundry load balanced during washing and rinsing, and will make the comforter or duvet less likely to bunch.

Drying a Down Comforter

As with the washing machine, it’s important not to dry a down comforter in a dryer that doesn’t have enough space. You want the comforter spread out as much as possible while drying. Use a dryer ball or two if that helps. Use a low heat setting.

Be absolutely certain that the comforter is fully and completely dry before you put it back on the bed. You do not want mildew to get a start inside the comforter! If you have a place to do so, hanging the comforter from a clothesline for a few hours, just to be sure, isn’t a bad idea.

Consider a Laundromat or Professional Cleaner

While it’s important not to dry clean a down-filled item, not all of us have a high capacity front loading washer at home. This is where a laundromat or professional laundry is worth considering. It may be, in your case, that what you save on effort and time by not washing a down duvet at home is worth the expense.

That’s what we can tell you about washing down comforters. And don’t forget the Ask Team Clean community has more tips, like how to wash and care for other special kinds of items such as suit trousers so consider joining today!

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