The right and wrong ways to wash a down comforter

Down comforters are those big fluff-filled blankets that make you feel warm and snuggly as soon as you get under one. They are loved and owned by many, but they aren’t always washed the right way. If you wash your down comforter the wrong way, it can damage it, rip it, and ultimately, cause a huge mess. Luckily, washing your down comforter can be easy when you know the right steps, and you’ll be able to enjoy it for years to come.

How to wash a down comforter

Rolled-up down comforter
Gulsen Ozcan/

Despite the seemingly stressful rumors about washing a down comforter, it is actually quite simple to do. Down comforters are quite durable and are constructed to be washed repeatedly — you just need to know the right ways from the wrong ways. When washed properly, your down comforter, also known as a duvet, will provide you with years of fluffy, warm comfort. While there are common ways to wash your down comforter, here are a few extra tips and tricks to help you:

  •  Read the instructions or the tag. Pretty much all newly purchased down comforters come with instructions on how to wash them. Some even put it on the tag in case you lose the packaging. If you don’t have the tag or the instructions, not to worry; there are some universal, straightforward ways that will get your down comforter clean in no time.
  • Fix any tears. If you notice that your comforter has small tears or holes, it is important to get them stitched up before washing. One small hole can grow to a much larger one during washing, leaving you with a damp pile of feathers to clean up.
  • Spot check before washing. If you notice any particularly stubborn or bright stains, you can add some extra detergent and scrub the spot by hand before washing. This will help get the stain out.
  • Wash your comforter in the washing machine. Yes, you can do this! It is just important that you wash the comforter alone. Most tags or instructions will let you know the setting, detergent, and water temperature. But if you don’t have those available, there are general guidelines that will work on all down comforters. Use the gentle/delicate cycle, warm water, gentle/mild detergent, and wash the comforter by itself.
  • Take it to the dry cleaner. If you’re still nervous about washing your down comforter at home, or spent some big bucks on it, taking it to the dry cleaner is another great option. Like any expensive suits or formal wear, the dry cleaner will treat your down comforter with care, so you’ll get back a fresh-smelling, soft, and cozy comforter to enjoy.

How to dry a down comforter

It is important to dry a down comforter as soon as it is done washing. Leaving it damp for extended periods of time can lead to mildew and mold. So, some quick-drying options for your comforter include:

  • Set your dryer to the lowest setting and tumble until dry.
  • Leave the down comforter out and lay it flat after drying to ensure no damp spots are left behind.
  • Add dryer balls to the dryer to help keep the comforter fluffy.
  • Add dryer sheets if you want a fresh scent.

How not to wash and dry a down comforter

Now that you know how to wash and dry your down comforter, you should also know the things to avoid completely:

  • Avoid fabric softener while washing because it will decrease the fluffiness of the comforter.
  • Never iron or steam your down comforter because it can burn and/or ruin the fluffiness.
  • Never wash or dry your down comforter with other laundry because it can dye your comforter a different color.
  • Do not wash or dry with hot temperatures — gentle is always best for retaining a fluffy feel.
  • Do not wash a ripped down comforter because it will create a mess of feathers in your washer and/or dryer while also ridding your comforter of all its lovely fluff.

Washing your down comforter isn’t as scary as you may have thought. You can wash it right at home in your washer and dryer as long as you have the right settings and materials in place. If you follow these key tips and methods, you’ll enjoy a clean and fresh down comforter for years to come.

Woman rolled up in down comforter

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