How to Clean a Down Comforter

Is your down comforter stinky and nasty? Is it looking dingy or dirty? That’s due to the oils from your hair and body. Your dead skin cells can accumulate and attract dirt and dust mites, which can trigger your allergies. That may sound gross, but if you know how to clean a down comforter, none of that has to happen.

With the cost ranging anywhere from $150 to $2,000 for high-quality comforters on Amazon, protecting your down comforter makes sense. Thankfully, keeping your down comforter clean will help it last a long time, even from generation to generation.

So keep reading to find out how to clean a down comforter the right way. Don’t overdo it, though. Washing a down comforter too much can cause the feathers to lose their fluff, making them look packed down and flat.

Cleaning Your Down Comforter

There are three simple ways to clean your down comforter. You’ll find out how to use a home dry cleaning kit to clean your down comforter. If you have a large-capacity washer, you’ll find instructions on cleaning a down comforter at home. The final method is the last resort because professional laundering can cost the most and may include harsh chemicals.


Method 1: Home Dry Cleaning Kit

Dryel makes a home kit you can use to clean your “dry clean only items.” It works in your dryer. The heat from the dryer releases the cleaning agents in the Dryel cloth. A word of caution, though; down comforters can burn under excessive heat.

Let your down comforter tumble dry until it’s just damp and then hang it out to finish drying. Down feathers dry slowly and if not completely dry can cause an odor.

Step 1: Spot Treat Your Down Comforter

Check for any spots or stains. The kit includes a cleaning solution and an absorbent cloth to pre-treat spots and stains.

Step 2: Place the Comforter in Dryel Bag

Load the comforter into the special Dryel bag. Add a cleaning cloth and securely close the bag.

Step 3: Add the Dryel Bag to the Dryer

Set temperature on the dryer to medium heat and tumble dry for about 30 minutes. A down comforter will take a while to dry, so if using this method you’ll need to repeat this several times.


Method 2: Your Washing Machine

You can successfully launder a down comforter at home, but only if you have a large-capacity front-loading washing machine. The weight of a down comforter could damage a smaller capacity machine. Also, the agitators in front-loading machines can tear the fabric, allowing the feathers to come out everywhere.

You Will Need

Step 1: Add the Comforter to Your Washer

Wash your down comforter in a warm water wash and spin dry. Depending on the size again, you may need an extra spin cycle as it will take a while to get all the water out. Check the load periodically and make sure the comforter is level and not bunched up.

Step 2: Add the Comforter to Your Dryer

A hot dryer can ruin a comforter so be sure to dry it on low to medium heat. Add a dryer ball or new tennis ball in the dryer with the comforter to help it fluff while it dries. A down comforter takes approximately two to three hours to dry, so you may want to dry it partially and then hang dry it to finish.

Make sure it is completely dry before storing or folding it. Fluff it frequently while it’s drying to keep the feathers from redistributing. Make sure to let your comforter dry completely before you use it or store it. Damp feathers can mildew easily.


Method 3: Professional Laundering

Almost every down comforter’s tag reads “Dry Clean Only,” because it is the best way to prevent shrinkage. However, dry cleaning can expose you and your comforter to harsh chemicals. Also, harsh chemicals can damage the down.

While dry cleaning is an option when none other exists, look for a dry cleaner that also does “professional laundering.” They will use a commercial-sized washing machine that will easily accommodate your comforter.

So, be sure to ask if the dry cleaner can launder your down comforter instead. Drying cleaning a down comforter is approximately $20, while professional laundering runs around $30.


How to Keep Your Down Comforter Clean

Depending on how fast it gets dirty, washing an uncovered down comforter once a year should be sufficient. However, most down comforters are large and don’t fit well in standard washing machines. For that reason, many people use a duvet cover for their down comforters, which is like a pillowcase only much larger. You can even buy the allergen-barrier types.

That way, you can remove the cover and wash it whenever it gets soiled. When you wash the duvet, pick a sunny day and hang your comforter outside to air out. Or, if your dryer is large enough, run it through the fluff or air dry cycle. By using a duvet cover, you will only have to wash your down comforter once every two to three years.

The typical care schedule for a down comforter is as follows:

  • Daily: Give it a good shake each day to remove dust, fluff the down and prevent the growth of mildew.
  • Monthly: Remove the duvet cover and wash it according to the manufacturer’s directions for that specific type of fabric.
  • Yearly: Remove the duvet cover and check your comforter for stains and do a spot cleaning.
  • Every Two to Three Years: Wash or have your down comforter professionally laundered.

How to Store Your Down Comforter

Many people put their down comforter away during the warmer months. Here are some tips on the best ways to store your down comforter to keep it fresh and like new:

The secret to storing a down comforter is to give it lots of room to breathe. So, keep it in a cloth bag to keep odors and moisture away. Push it gently into the bag to keep it fluffed so air can flow freely.

Store the cloth bag in a place where it will stay fluffy. That means keeping any heavy objects off and away from your comforter. Also, avoid compressing it or pressing down on it when you put it away, whether in a closet, drawer or wherever you store it.

When you are ready to use your comforter, simply remove it from the bag and give it a few shakes to air it out. You can also hang it outside on a sunny, breezy day to freshen it up.


Time to Start Cleaning

Down comforters may cost much more than synthetic ones; however, they last far longer, even for generations. In fact, when you purchase a down comforter, it could be the last blanket you ever have to buy for yourself.

Because of their exceptional insulation value, you could even turn your heat down lower and more often. That will help reduce your heating bills and shrink your carbon footprint. Down comforters are so light and breathable, so they can keep you warm in winter and cool in summer, without adding a lot of weight.

And finally, they are easy to care for. In fact, over-washing a comforter will cause the down to deteriorate quicker and lose its insulating qualities. So, just follow these tips, and you should be able to enjoy your down comforter for a long, long time.

Betsy Cline

Betsy Cline has been a professional house cleaner for 15 years and also a mother of 4 amazing kids (who make lots of messes). She is the founder of How to Clean It and loves to share tips and advice for cleaning up anything life throws at you.

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