How to Wash a Down Comforter

Do you need to wash your down comforter and need some guidance? For the best technique to wash a down comforter at home read on!

Dry Cleaning Vs. Washing at Home

Although almost all down comforters say “dry clean only” the reality is most manufacturers websites do not suggest actually taking a down comforter to a dry cleaner. The reason being is that there are a lot of negatives that come from dry cleaning down feathers.

Firstly, the most commonly used chemical in dry cleaning called perchloroethylene  is thought to cause cancer in humans. ( If you are interested in learning more about this check out this article on the American Cancer Society’s website  Perchloroethyle is a nasty and harsh chemical and aside from the fact that you probably don’t want it transferring to your skin while you’re sleeping- it can work to destroy the down feathers. The chemical will coat the delicate down and cause them to clump up and could potentially ruin the fluffiness factor. If you want to take extra care with your comforter you can seek out a professional service that specializes in laundering them. However with a little research you should be able to save the $50 bill and take matters into your own hands.

How Often Should You Wash a Down Comforter?

If you are keeping your down comforter protected with a duvet cover- which you should be- then you should only have to launder your comforter every 3-5 years. If you choose to live on the wild side and don’t use a duvet cover or just like the look of a sleek white comforter then you should launder your down every 1-2 years. If you like the look of the all white comforter, check out my article on white duvet covers. Washing a duvet cover is almost as easy as washing your bed sheets and will help to extend the life of the comforter.

What Kind of Washing Machine Do I Need to Wash a Down Comforter?

Although it is possible to wash your comforter at home there are a few stipulations. If you have an agitator in your washer then you should probably take a trip to the laundry mat as the agitator could be too rough on the down, open up the seams and ruin your blanket. There would be nothing worse than opening your washer to discover your comforter exploded and all the feathers were beat out and clumped inside your washing machine. Another important factor is the size of your washing machine. If you have a small capacity washer the laundry mat might be a better option. You want your washer to be able to spin the comforter as effectively as possible to remove water at the end of the wash cycle. If you have to stuff your comforter inside and it barely fits, then I would not recommend using your washer. There probably won’t be enough room for the spin cycle to be effective. (Maybe check out your best friend or mother-in-law’s set up!) When you program the washing machine, make sure you choose the fastest spin cycle so as much water as possible is removed. This will help to speed up drying times.

What Water Temperature Should I Wash My Down Comforter In?

Some sources have said warm or hot water is fine- I personally would not recommend it as the fabric of your comforter could shrink which will distort your comforter. I use cold water for both the wash and rinse, and my comforter always comes out squeaky clean!

What Kind of Detergent Should I Use?

Tide free and gentle is the best product I have found
Tide Free and Gentle is the best product I have found

The best soap to use is a dye-free, mild, low-sudsing detergent. I normally use Tide Free and Gentle because it is high efficiency (meaning low-sudsing) and very mild. Don’t use a ton of detergent- you don’t want to have excess as it will coat the feathers and reduce the fluff factor. Less is more in this situation and it’s not even totally crazy to run a second full wash cycle to make sure all of the detergent is completely rinsed out.

How Do I Dry My Down Comforter?

This step is very important! If you do not let your down comforter fully dry, then bacteria, mold and mildew could grow which will cause a funky smell. Plan on this step taking about 2-3 hours. Put your comforter in your dryer on the lowest setting and check on it every 45 minutes or so. When you remove it from the dryer make sure to give it a nice fluff to restore the volume to the feathers. And remember to put your comforter back into it’s duvet cover!

Do you have any other helpful tips? Let me know!

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