How to Wash and Care for Your Down Comforter

It’s recommended that a down comforter is washed every 2-3 years. However, when the time comes to wash it, will you know how? It’s a little more complicated than you may think. Follow these directions to get your comforter clean while protecting its quality.

If you plan on using your home top loader washer, think again. Home washers usually are not big enough to accompany a large king or queen sized down comforter. Top loader washers have a capacity of about 12-15 lbs. Down comforters, when wet, can weigh as much as 50 pounds! Also, the comforter will not be able to fit properly due to the agitator being in the way. Instead, you’ll need to use a high efficiency front load washer, which has no agitator. The comforter will be able to fit easily; therefore it will get a more thorough wash.

When washing your comforter, be sure to use cold water and set the wash to the gentle/delicate cycle. As far as detergent goes, stay away from the usual Tide or All. Down feathers are delicate, therefore you will want to use a delicate soap that has no enzymes, such as Ivory Snow or Woolite. Even Johnson’s Baby Shampoo will work. Do not use fabric softener in the washer, since the liquid will stick to the feathers, causing them to clump up and smell.

Once the wash cycle has stopped, check the comforter for dampness. It may need to spin out once more to get the excess moisture off. Down comforters take forever to dry! A tip I have learned it to wrap the comforter in dry towels to ring out the moisture. Once it’s damp (not soaking wet), it is ready to be dried.

Same rule applies for dryers. Use a large sized dryer for your comforter, because a small dryer will not allow the comforter to open up. The bigger, the better. Also, remember to run the dryer on low heat. It will take longer, but low heat will not ruin the down feathers inside. High heat may burn the feathers. Once the comforter is half dry, place a clean tennis ball inside the dryer to allow the comforter to “fluff up”. It sounds crazy, but this actually works. Just make sure the tennis ball is clean.

Make sure your down comforter is completely dry before putting it back on your bed. You’ll know if the comforter is dry, because it will be fluffy and smell fresh. Damp down feathers smell terrible!

If you don’t feel comfortable washing your down comforter on your own, you could always take it to the dry cleaners for professional cleaning. However, it can be costly, from $25-$50 per cleaning. Read your comforter’s label for proper cleaning procedures, and see what’s best for the comforter. Real down comforters can be very expensive, so you’ll want to wash it correctly.

To care for your comforter between cleanings and to keep it smelling clean and fresh, you can hang it out on the clothesline and beat it with a broomstick. Flip the comforter to prevent the feathers from settling in one spot. Beating it fluffs up the feathers and makes it look like it just came out of the dryer. You can also spray a few sprits of Febreeze on the comforter to make it smell fresh. Stains and spots won’t be removed this way, so if is does happen to get dirty, follow the above instructions for washing.

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