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How to Whiten a Yellowed Down Comforter

Having a yellowed down comforter sprawled upon your bed is a sure way to give your room a run-down and unkempt look. The degradation of your comforter’s color is bound to happen with frequent use;  however there are different ways you can use to get rid of yellow sweat stains and make your comforter white again.

The time it takes for your down comforter to turn yellow primarily depends on the frequency of use as well as the state you keep it in. With frequent washes you can ensure that the comforter retains its white color, however down comforters do tend to lose their fluff the more you wash them.

Moreover, to restore your yellowed down comforter’s color, a simple wash in the washing machine simply won’t do the trick; let us tell you what is sure to work instead.

Things You Will Need

Here is a list of items you will need for the cleaning process:

  • ½ cup Baking Soda
  • Lemon/Vinegar (or both). ½ cup of Borax can also be used as a substitute for both.
  • 1 Cup of a mild laundry detergent
  • 1 Cup of Dish Soap
  • A  decent-sized washing machine and dryer that can accommodate your down comforter. You might need to head up to a laundromat in case you don’t have a commercial sized washing machine.

Directions to Whiten a Yellowed Down Comforter

Once you have the items listed above, you can now start washing your down comforter. There are a couple of options you can try depending on how much time you have on your hands.

  1. Take a bucket large enough to fit the comforter and fill it half-way with luke warm water. Avoid using too hot or cold water as it can damage the filling.
  2. Add baking soda to the water along with lemon, vinegar or Borax, depending on whatever you have available. Make sure the contents dissolve completely into the water before heading on to step 3.
  3. Provided you are not so short of time and really need that down comforter shining like new, you can now add your comforter to the bucket and leave it soaked in there for around 3-5 hours before you go on to move to step 3. Alternatively, you can also leave it soaked in the laundry sink or bathtub.
  4. In case you don’t have enough time, simply empty the contents of your bucket into the washing machine. Make sure to check if your washing machine is large enough to comfortably fit the entire comforter, for a little air space can allow the detergent and mild soap to reach every part of your comforter.
  5. Now add mild laundry detergent along with dish soap and comforter inside the washing machine. Fill the empty space with more water.
  6. Set your washing machine to two delicate setting cycles. This helps take out the soap and detergent thoroughly out of your comforter, without leaving behind residues. The residual soap can otherwise damage your down comforter and destroy its fluff.
  7. Try manually adjusting your comforter within the washing machine in between the cycles to further ensure that your comforter is washed equally from all sides.
  8. After the wash, you need to completely dry your down comforter using a dryer. Tumble drying not only helps with refluffing but helps kill dust mites as well. It is best to use a low heat setting to prevent the comforter from getting damaged due to excessive heat. It is also recommended that you toss in a few tennis balls or dryer balls. These dryer balls will help to make your comforter fluffy.
  9. Moreover, tossing your down comforter in between the wash cycle multiple times can help ensure that your comforter dries evenly throughout. This is particularly important to get rid of any lingering moisture within your down comforter which may otherwise lead to mildew and bad odor. If you notice any smell, you should let it air dry for a couple hours.

Once dried, your bright white comforter is ready to adorn your bed once again.

yellowed down comforter

Why Did My Down Comforter Turn Yellow?

There can be a number of reasons that could result in a yellowed down comforter; let’s take a look:

Did you use a duvet cover? Not using one is considered one of the most common causes of the yellowing of your down comforter. Down is a natural material that is known for its superior absorbing powers. Unfortunately that means the sweat and natural oils from your skin are going to find their way into the comforter and go on to degrade it. This also means that your comforter is virtually exposed to any kind of stains that a regular usage might cause.

A duvet cover, on the other hand, prevents the sweat and oils from your body from getting absorbed into the comforter. It also covers the comforter, preventing it from getting strains. Since a duvet cover is easier to wash and clean than a down comforter, it is therefore by far the best choice to avoid frequent washing of your comforters and keep them neat and clean.

Any lingering moisture within your down comforter can cause the down within to clump and decrease its air flow and breathability. This often causes bad odor and yellowing of your comforters.

Now, the lingering moisture could have been a result of an improper drying job of your comforter following a wash. It can even be caused if you fail to fluff your down comforter every now and then, where the moisture from your body and sweat stays trapped inside. You can prevent that by fluffing your down comforter regularly or by hanging it out on the clothesline in the sun to get rid of any moisture.

You might have used harsh chemicals to wash off your comforter. It is extremely important to keep your down comforter away from harsh chemicals such as detergents and bleaches. They can damage the comforter and cause it to get yellow. To remove tough stains, try using baking soda and vinegar and blot the stained area with a damp white cloth instead.

Also try to wash off any makeup or lotions before you go to bed at night. These products too contain harmful chemicals that can end up yellowing your down comforter.

When washing a down comforter, improper washing techniques like use of fabric softener, in appropriate laundry detergent can also sometimes result in a yellowed comforter. Dry cleaning should be avoided at all costs since it can damage the down clusters.

If your comforter is worn out and it’s time to replace, check out these super fluffy hotel quality down comforters.

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