How to Wash a Down Comforter at Home

Nobody wants to end up with a dingy smelling, withered comforter that provides more disgust than comfort. Maintenance is key if you want your down comforters to maintain their warmth and comfort for long. You might however consider following the right way of cleaning and washing your down comforters in order to prevent them from getting useless instead.

Can You Wash a Down Comforter?

The inability to wash your down comforter in the comfort of your own home, in your personal washing machine has often been cited as the only disadvantage of buying it. That however is far from the truth.

Washing your down comforter in your washing machine or a local laundromat is definitely possible, although the process is not as straightforward as when washing any other comforter. All you need is to carefully follow the given instructions on your comforter’s care label, in order to ensure that the comforter doesn’t lose its fluff and shape.

How to Wash Feather and Down Comforters in a Washing Machine?

Most down comforters tend to be easily washable. There are however certain goose down comforters that can either stretch or shrink upon washing. It is therefore imperative to check on the comforter’s care label whether your down comforter is machine friendly or dry-clean only.

Once you get your go ahead signal from the instructions provided by the care label, follow the process below:

  1. Load up your comforter into a triple-load, front-loading washing machine. If you don’t have one at home, you might need to head up to your local laundromat. Top-loading washing machines are not recommended since they come with an agitator that can quite literally rip through your down comforter.
  2. Similarly, since down comforters are pretty bulky and large in size, they therefore cannot fit within a regular sized washing machine. Your comforter would be needing ample space to move around once inside the machine, which is why a triple-load washing machine is ideal.
  3. Once loaded, gently press the comforter from the top to spread it out, without twisting or folding it unnecessarily. You can also throw some tennis balls in socks to keep the down fill from bunching. The tennis balls knotted in socks can also help get rid of dirt, sweat and body oils from your comforter.
  4. It is often recommended to add the laundry detergent and water before you load your comforter into the washing machine and let it run for a few minutes. Doing so allows for the soap and water to completely mix, so that when you finally load your comforter next, the soap water can evenly spread through the comforter.
  5. Make sure to use warm water for the wash, since both cold and very hot water can damage the fabric of your comforter’s cover as well as destroy the soft down clusters. Moreover, the laundry detergent that you use should be mild and poured sparingly; anything strong and in large amounts can damage the goose down clusters.
  6. Once the machine is loaded with mild detergent, water and comforter, set it to a delicate or gentle setting and let the washer run through the entire cycle. If possible, set the machine for an extended cycle, to completely rinse off the soap water from the comforter.

clean down comforter rolled after washing

How to Dry a Down Comforter?

  1. In order to dry your down comforter, put it in the dryer of your machine and gently press on it to spread it out evenly.
  2. Before starting the dryer, ensure that your machine is set at a low heat setting. The higher the temperature, the greater the chances of ruining your comforter’s filling as well as the fabric of the cover. Even during the cycle, you might want to maintain the temperature of your comforter, so as not to scorch it.
  3. Now add wool dryer balls or tennis balls wrapped in socks into the dryer. The motion of the balls inside the dryer would help keep the down from clumping during the drying cycle, while speeding up the drying process.
  4. After every 30 minutes, you will need to take the comforter out, and gently redistribute the down within the cover, before tossing it back in and restarting the drying cycle. Expect the process to take a few hours before you have a comforter that is completely dry and has no damp clumps anywhere.
  5. Once dry, you might notice a strange odor coming from your down comforter. Relax! It is normal for the comforter to stink a bit immediately after a wash. All you need to do is hang it outside on your clothesline and allow the sun’s rays to remove the unpleasant odor and freshen your comforter.

You can pretty much follow the same process in order to wash and dry down and feather pillows.

How Do I Make My Down Comforter Fluffy Again?

There are different cleaning hacks you can try to regain your comforter’s fluffiness after a wash.

First off, you need to make it a habit to fluff up your down comforter everyday when you wake up. It is a rather simple thing to do.

Spread the comforter completely on the bed, then raise one corner above your eye level and forcefully snap it downwards to create a wave. This redistributes the comforter filling, creating space for the down to evenly spread throughout the comforter while introducing air within the comforter and thus allowing the goose down clusters to revive their loft.

If even after doing so, you notice lumps within the down comforter, use the heel of your hands to smoothen those clumps. Simultaneously redistribute the filling using your hands to ensure even fill throughout the comforter.

Your comforter would also require monthly refluffing. This can be achieved by hanging it outside on your clothesline, especially on a windy day. Leave it there for several hours to achieve the desired loft.

For one, the sun will wipe out traces of moisture that caused clumping of the down clusters within your comforter in the first place. Moreover, the introduction of air into the comforter from the surroundings will help the filling revive it’s loft.

You can also air-dry your comforter in a commercial dryer, to re-fluff your comforter. You will find your comforter expanding as the air moves into it when you start the dry cycle. Therefore, having a commercial dryer with plenty of space to fit the comforter, is fundamental for getting the desired results.

Make sure to toss in a few tennis balls knotted in clean white socks before the dryer is switched on. The tennis balls will help de-clump the down clusters and thus will speed up the re-fluffling process.

Washing Down Comforter at Home vs. Commercial Dry Cleaning

Washing a down comforter at home is essentially not a bad idea; however, getting it commercially dry cleaned tends to be a smarter investment for a number of reasons.

Most importantly, your chances of possessing a commercial sized front loading washing machine at home are quite low. If by chance you do have one, your slightest mistake while washing your down comforter can quite literally cost you a fortune.

Simply put, a professionally dry cleaned comforter looks way better than the one washed at home. While regular washes can end up clumping your fluffy down comforters and loosen the comforter’s fabric, dry cleaning enables it to retain its fresh and new look for a long time. It is therefore safe to presume that commercial dry cleaning tends to extend your comforter’s life by several years.

Washing your comforter at home often tends to shrink it’s fabric, especially if you used slightly warmer water than recommended. Not using warm water, on the other hand, fails to thoroughly clean and sanitize your comforter of the stains and bacteria.

Similarly, drying your comforter after giving it a wash is a tiresome task. If you use a commercial dryer, you can’t use the high heat settings. This means you will need to run the dryer on a low heat setting for several hours before your comforter dries up completely, thereby using up a lot of your time and energy.

A commercial dry cleaner on the other hand neither shrinks your comforter, nor ends up taking up a large proportion of your time. Moreover, commercial dry cleaning tends to result in a comparatively cleaner comforter. All in all, a commercially dry cleaned comforter provides greater value for your money than a home-washed comforter ever can.

How Much Does it Cost to Dry Clean a Down Comforter?

The cost of dry cleaning of your comforter tends to vary with the place and area you live in, as well as the quality of the down comforter you have. The material of your down comforter and it’s size are equal contributors to the overall cost estimate for dry cleaning your comforter.

On average, the price range tends to fall in the $20-$50 range, however if there are certain seams or loose ends that need mending work, the cost can increase a little.

Frequently Asked Questions

How frequently can you wash a down comforter?

Most manufacturers tend to give an estimated frequency of wash on the care label of your down comforters. It is however a generally accepted fact that down comforters need to be washed seldom and not often. On average, your down comforters should be good enough for 3-5 years without a wash in order to ensure their longevity.

If, however you feel that your comforter stinks, is losing its fluff, or has got stains that need to be removed, try other methods such as airing it on a sunny day or sprinkling baking soda to remove odor and stains. It’s also recommended that you use a comforter cover to protect your comforter from any stains. If the duvet cover gets dirty, you can just clean the cover and not the whole comforter.

Why does my down comforter smell after washing?

If your down comforter gives off a bad smell after a wash, chances are, your down comforter was not properly dried after you washed it up. Down comforters tend to be bulky and heavy and take a long time to completely dry.

When not dried completely, the moisture allows for mildew inside the comforter filling, which results in the musty odor you are complaining about. After drying it on a low heat setting for several hours, hang your down comforter on the clothesline and let the sun wick away remaining moisture while the air removes the bad odor.

Is it better to wash or dry clean a down comforter?

Like down pillows, down comforters tend to clump and wither with regular wash. It is therefore ideal to have your down comforters dry cleaned instead, provided you are willing to spend a few extra bucks on dry cleaning.

Dry cleaning not only prevents your down comforter from shrinking, but also results in an overall cleaner result. Besides that, it ensures that your comforter will be back in time to provide you its characteristic warmth, without waiting for hours before your washed comforter will finally dry and be available for use.

How do you get the musty smell out of a down comforter?

The musty smell coming from your comforter is primarily due to the mildew spores present within the comforter. Since they develop due to moisture, thoroughly drying your comforter by placing it in the sun or air drying in a commercial dryer can usually seal the deal.

On the other hand, there are certain natural remedies that you can employ to get rid of the smell. The paste made from a mixture of lemon and table suit has been known to be effective in killing mildew within the down comforters. Moreover, diluted vinegar or baking soda when sprinkled over the comforter and placed in the sun, tends to work in a similar manner to get rid of the musty smell.

How can I freshen my comforter without washing it?

You can have it air dried within a commercial sized dryer, by tossing in a few tennis balls wrapped within white socks alongside. On the other hand, you can simply sprinkle baking soda over the comforter and vacuum it after it has sat in the sun for an hour or more. You can even make use of diluted vinegar along with fabric deodorizer to further remove mildew and underlying odor.

Can I wash a down comforter that says dry clean only?

You most definitely can wash any down comforter within your home, provided you have the right set of materials to aid in the deep cleaning process. However, most at-home comforter washing procedures end up shrinking the duvet covers, or clump up its filling. This is why we usually recommend individuals to follow the care label instructions religiously. If it says dry clean only, try your level best to get it dry cleaned instead of washing it at home. Regardlessly, DIY comforter washing genuinely fails to match the results offered by commercial dry cleaners.

What size washer do I need to wash a king size comforter?

A king sized comforter requires a front-loading washing machine that can hold upto 11 to 14 pounds of laundry easily, without the contents getting cramped inside. Generally, your washing machine’s tub should be able to hold 3.7 cubic feet or more, in order to safely clean a king size comforter.

Can you use oxiclean on a down comforter?

Oxiclean tends to act as a laundry booster, and so when used along with a sparring amount of laundry detergent, it can actually work wonders for colored comforters particularly. All you need to do is mix oxiclean with the detergent and add it to your washing machine along with the comforter. Leave your comforter to soak in the cleaning solution for an hour or more and then run the washing machine on a delicate cycle to clean your comforter.

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