Updated July 13, 2020Down comforters are perfect for keeping you cozy and comfortable. But, even with a cover, you will need to regularly wash your bedding to ensure it stays free of germs and allergens. Although it might seem like a daunting task, cleaning your down comforter is relatively easy. Many down products require dry cleaning, but you may be surprised to learn that most do not.If you are interested in laundering your down comforter at home, we are here to walk you through the process. Read on to discover how to keep your down comforter clean and fresh.Getting StartedCheck Care InstructionsBefore washing your down comforter, be sure to read the care instructions. If the manufacturer recommends dry cleaning only, it is a good idea to take it to a professional cleaner.However, if the cover of your comforter is 100 percent cotton, it is likely machine-washable.Check for Rips and HolesAfter reading the care label, check the comforter for any small rips or holes. If you find any, it is important to mend these before washing. Down feathers could fall out during washing if there are any tears.Spot Treat Tough StainsNext, check the comforter for any tough stains. It is helpful to treat these areas before washing. To do so, shake the filling away from the stain. Then, wet the area and apply a mild stain removing detergent and let it sit for 20 minutes. Using a clean, damp cloth, pat the fabric until the stain is gone. A clean toothbrush can also work well. If the stain is particularly harsh, you may need to repeat this process 2 to 3 times.Account for TimeIt can take between 4 to 6 hours to wash and dry your down comforter, depending on comforter size. Before you start the process, be sure you have at least this amount of time to devote to the task. If the comforter is left to sit too long in either the washer or dryer, the filling can become lumpy.SuppliesTo get started, be sure you have the following supplies on hand.Mild detergent (powered is preferred)Two clean tennis balls or wool dryer ballsStain removal sprayEquipmentFront-loading washing machine (extra-large capacity)Front-loading dryer (extra-large capacity)If you have a top-loading washing machine with an agitator, it will not be large enough to wash your comforter. The agitator in the center of a top-loading machine can also damage the down filling or cause rips and tears.If you do have a front-loading machine, make sure it is large enough to accommodate your comforter. If the fit is too snug, soap and water may not reach all areas of the bedding. Plus, the weight of the wet down could cause a small machine to break.For queen and king size bedding, an extra-large capacity front-loading washer works best. If you don’t have a large enough machine at home, you can take your comforter to the local laundromat. The industrial-sized washers and dryers available at most laundry facilities will make the washing and drying process easy.WashingStep 1:The first thing you need to do is place your down comforter inside the washing machine. As you do so, make sure it is not folded or bunched up. Try your best to spread out the blanket within the drum of the machine.Step 2: Pour a small amount of mild detergent into the machine’s soap dispenser. It is best to use a natural soap that is free of harsh chemicals and fragrances. Try not to use too much soap. We recommend using slightly less than you would for an average load.It is also a good idea to use powdered detergent if possible. Liquid soap can be difficult to rinse out and may cause the down filling to clump together. Avoid using fabric softeners or bleach as both of these detergents will strip the down of its natural oils and cause deterioration.Step 3:Start the machine on a gentle cycle using warm water and let it run for a full cycle. If possible, select an extra rinse cycle. A second rinse will ensure all soap residue is removed from the comforter. If the machine doesn’t have an extra rinse setting, you may be able to do this manually by stopping the machine and resetting it back to rinse.Step 4:Once the washing cycle is complete, be sure to check your comforter for any remaining soap. If you see soap studs, you may want to rewash it without detergent. When soap residue is left to linger in the down filling, it can cause clumping.Step 5:If the comforter looks and feels clean, it is time to move it to the dryer. Be careful when moving the comforter since it will be wet and heavy.DryingStep 6: Place your wet comforter and two dryer balls inside an extra-large dryer. Once it is secure, start the dryer on a low heat setting. Every half hour, stop the machine and shack out the comforter—this will keep the down filling evenly distributed throughout the drying process.To get your comforter dry, it can take up to 4 hours. Stopping this process before the filling is completely dry can cause mold and mildew to form in the bedding.You should only stop the drying process once your bedding feels light, fluffy, and the filling spreads out easily.Step 7: If it is sunny out, you can hang your comforter in the sunlight once it is dry. The sun will kill any lingering bacteria and ensure there are no damp spots. Plus, if your comforter is white, the sunlight will naturally brighten it.Step 8:Once your comforter is clean and dry, you can slip it back into your favorite duvet cover!Frequently Asked QuestionsHow should I store my down comforter when I am not using it?Some down comforters are designed for year-round use, while others are made specifically for cold winter months. If you need to store your comforter during the summer, it is best to place it in a clean, dry place, away from any heat or moisture. A well-ventilated cupboard tends to work best.How often should you wash a down comforter?If you are using a duvet cover, you will only need to wash your down comforter once or twice a year. You can freshen up your comforter between washes by shaking it out or by running it through a no-heat drying cycle. You can place two wool dryer balls in the dryer to break up any clumping.Is it better to wash or dry clean a down comforter?Some down comforters require dry cleaning—this is either due to embellishments, high thread count fabrics, or delicate materials. However, if the cover is 100 percent cotton, it is most likely machine washable.If you have the choice between the two methods, we suggest machine washing. Dry cleaners often use harsh chemicals that can damage down clusters. Plus, these chemicals can build up in the comforter over time, leaving you exposed to toxins during sleep.Why does my down comforter smell after washing?When you take your clean down comforter out of the washer, it may have a pungent odor. This smell is normal for natural down and should disappear once the bedding is dry.What is the lifespan of a down comforter?A high-quality down comforter will last between 8 to 15 years. You can preserve the life of your comforter by using a duvet cover and washing it once or twice a year. It is also a good idea to avoid laying on top of your down comforter, as this can cause friction that may lead to clumping.ConclusionRemember, it is important to use a mild detergent and avoid bleach and other harsh chemicals. You spend about a third of your life in bed, so you want to keep your bedding clean and free of toxins. Following the steps above will help you keep your down comforter in good condition so you can sleep warm and cozy for many years.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.