How to Wash a Down Comforter

A lot of people ask, “Can I wash my down comforter in a washing machine at home?” The answer is: some down comforters you can wash at home but some you can’t. Usually there will be washing care instructions on a tag sewn onto the comforter with the law label. Most down comforters you can wash, but some recommend dry cleaning only.

There are 2 things to consider when deciding how to wash a down comforter, blanket, bedding, or pillow in your own washing machine. First, will the cleaning method damage the down in some way, making it less effective? Second, will the cleaning make the cover less down proof?

If the manufacturer recommends dry cleaning only, then they feel that it may either damage the down, making it less poofy, or make the cover less down proof. But even if you wash a dry-clean-only down comforter, all is not loss. Usually damage to down is done by repeated washings, not just one or two.

Tips for Washing Your Down Comforter in a Washing Machine

  1. Wash down products only infrequently. Usually once per year is good enough – twice per year max.
  2. Use duvet covers for your down comforter and pillow casings for down pillows. This will help keep them clean so they will seldom need washing.
  3. Use a mild detergent. Strong detergents take the oils out of down, and this weakens its structure.
  4. Be sure your machine is large enough to handle the down product. Larger down bedding items can hold a lot of water and overpower your machine on the spin cycle. If your machine is not large enough, you can go to a Laundromat. They usually have bigger machines.
  5. Be sure to dry down bedding thoroughly. It can take 2-3 hours in a dryer to dry large comforters and pillows. A good method for drying is to pick a hot, sunny day, dry the down for 1 hour, then leave it outside in the sun for several hours, and then finish drying in the machine.

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