Washing Down Comforters, Blankets, Bedding, and Pillows

Can you wash you down comforter in a washing machine at home?
There are a couple issues when deciding how to wash a down comforter, blanket, bedding, or pillow. 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.

Washing Down

Cleaning down products in your washing machine at home with a mild detergent is fine, and is the preferable way to clean down. Strong detergents take natural oils out of the down clusters, making them dryer, weaker, and less able to loft to the full ability of their structure. But as long as you wash your comforter with mild soap, the down and feathers will be fine.
In fact moisture and heat are the two things that make down perform best. So, washing and drying your comforter will actually enhance the performance of the down clusters.

Washing Fabric Covers

The covers that are used in down bedding are usually 100% cotton. Washing in a machine at home, or dry cleaning with a professional launderer, will not hurt the cotton, but it may make the fabric less down proof. Some down cover materials stay downproof after washing, and some do not. So check your comforter’s care instructions to see what is recommended for you comforter.
If you mistakenly wash a comforter that is recommended for dry cleaning, all is not lost. Usually the material loses its downproofing ability incrementally after several washings.
The difference between fabrics that remain downproof after washing and those do not is the weave. The best fabrics used in down bedding have a superior weave that is meant to last for a long time through many washings.

Washing and Drying

As already mentioned, if your down bedding is recommended for washing in a washing machine, you can do it at home if your machine is large enough.  You need a large, front load washer; do not use a machine that has an agitator in the center because it will put unnecessary stress on your comforter during washing. If you need a larger machine, you can go to a Laundromat or a professional cleaner. Be sure to use mild detergent. The best cleaners are those especially made for washing down and feather products.
Drying large down bedding items takes a long time - usually 2-4 hours. Be sure to dry them completely to prevent mold / mildew growth. A good method is to dry in the dryer for 1 full cycle, then lay out in the hot sun for several hours, and finish drying with another 30 minutes to 1 hour in the dryer. This method gives the bedding a nice fresh smell.

William's Loft™ Down Collection Care Instructions

William’s Loft™ Down Comforters and pillows are machine washable. Wash your comforter with a mild detergent, only when needed - once per year is a good rule of thumb. If your machine is not large enough, you can take it to a Laundromat or professional cleaner, experienced in cleaning down products.

Dry cleaning is not recommended as it can remove the oils that enhance down's lofting ability.

It’s best to use a down comforter cover and wash it regularly. This will keep the down from collecting dust and body oils that are difficult to remove. Using a duvet cover, you may only need to wash your comforter every 2-3 years.