How to Wash Your Comforter

Explore the ins and outs of comforter cleaning in our how to guide.

By Sheryl Grassie

Washing a comforter is a bit of work, and in truth, because if it is covered by a duvet, you don’t need to wash it as often as your sheets or the comforter cover. It does, however, need to be washed periodically. Some experts recommend two to three times a year, especially if you have allergies.

Comforters can host dust mites and cause sleep disruption with congestion and cold like symptoms. Others, like Home Depot, recommend washing only every three to five years if using a good duvet. Whether you wash your comforter regularly, or occasionally, the steps are pretty straightforward. It will only vary slightly depending on material; it is made from down, down alternative, wool, cotton, silk or bamboo. The size of the comforter and allergies can also play a role.

Buffy cloud comforter

How to Steps

  1. Start by reading the care instructions: The comforter label should tell you things like whether or not it needs to be dry cleaned. If it does, then you know what to do. If the item is washable then follow any label directions, manufacturers know their products and want to help you keep your comforter at its best.
  2. Prepare your comforter for washing: Especially if it has been a while since you last washed it, your comforter may have stains, holes, or splitting seams that should be attended to before washing. Spot clean concentrated stains by moving the filling away and applying a gentle solution of baking soda and water or vinegar and water to the stain as a stain remover. If the entire comforter appears yellowed, you can pre-soak the comforter in a mild bleach solution if the label doesn’t caution against it.
  3. Assess the size of your washer: Most washers can handle a comforter, even a king sized one. This may not be the case with a small European washer, and you may need to take your comforter to a laundromat and use a commercial size machine.
  4. Hand washing: As an alternative if your washer is too small, you can try hand washing by soaking in a large laundry tub or bathtub, rinsing thoroughly, and squeezing (not ringing) out most of the water.
  5. Use a mild detergent: Most manufacturers recommend a mild detergent to keep the fabric intact. Soap can break down the fibers and cause premature wear, so choose something natural or chemical free.
  6. Put on gentle cycle: Put your comforter in the washer with several clean white tennis balls to help balance the load; one on each side of the washer. The gentle cycle helps to further preserve this delicate and expensive item for longer wear.
  7. Choose the right temperature: To preserve the fabric cool to warm is the most common temperature rage. You can, however, if the instructions allow, use hot water, 130 degrees Fahrenheit or 54 degrees Celsius, to kill any dust mites. You can also wash in a cooler temperature and dry in a hot dryer to sanitize.
  8. Do an extra rinse: Again you want to get out all of the soap that can potentially break down the fabric. With such a large item in the machine, there isn’t as much room for water and a double rinse is recommended.
  9. Choose the right dryer setting: As with wash temperature, dryer temperature will cause wear on the comforter. Because of the mass of the item, drying on a low temperature can be very slow, again check the manufacturer’s instructions.
  10. Use dryer balls: Whether or not you added those tennis balls to the wash, some kind of dryer ball is a must to fluff up your comforter while drying. You can definitely use clean tennis balls, or purchase dryer balls made from felted wool or other materials.
  11. Pull out and fluff: In addition to the dryer balls, you will need to take the comforter out of the dryer and fluff it up every twenty minutes or so. Comforters can take hours to thoroughly dry, so plan on doing this several times during the drying process. You can also remove the comforter before it is fully dry and line dry to completion. In very warm dry weather, you could choose to line dry only. It is important that comforters be thoroughly dry, with no retained moisture that can encourage mold, before it goes back on your bed.

Summary

Washing your comforter can seem like a lot of work, but it is really a matter of following a few simple steps. Take it to the cleaners if the instructions say dry clean only, take it to the laundromat or wash it in the tub if it is too big for your machine. Otherwise, follow the above steps and plan to be around, so you can take it out and fluff it while drying. Having a clean fresh comforter is a great way to enhance your sleep experience.


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