How to Wash a Down Comforter: Stepwise Instruction of Your Comforter Washing

Nothing surpasses the coziness, soft and warm feeling one gets from a down comforter after a long, tedious day. You will always like the comfort it gives you until you realize it is becoming dirty and needs some cleaning. That does not end there since the biggest worry is thinking about how to wash a down comforter.

Most people would find hand washing to be tedious and time-consuming. Others would perceive that using the washing machine could either damage the washer, dryer or the comforter due to its bulky size. 

Still, some people brush off the idea of taking it to the dry cleaner because of the high charges.

All in all, it is recommended that comforters should be washed at least twice or once a year. This too depends on the health state of someone; whether allergic or asthmatic. Since they provide a good environment for harboring dust mites, dirt and oil, it is essential to wash them regularly. 

Washing should be done in moderation to ensure that the down filling is not exposed to damages. Additionally, comforters are better absorbers and would, therefore, produce unpleasant odors when not cleaned for a period.

Let's Start to know The Step-wise tutorial on how to wash a down comforter

What You Need?

When using a washing machine, you need;

  • Extra-large washing machine
  • Gentle laundry detergent like Woolite or any other that's made explicitly for down comforters.
  • Tennis balls
  • Dryer, drying rack or clothesline

For Hand Washing;

  • The sink, bathtub, basin or bucket
  • Mild laundry detergent

For a do-it-yourself dry cleaning;

  • A dry cleaning kit
  • Dry cleaning cloths
  • Dryer

For drying;

  • Drying rack, a flat surface or a clothesline
  • Clothes hangers
  • Clothespins
  • Laundered thick towels
  • Drying nets

Machine Washing

Here is a step-by-step technique of washing a down comforter on a washing machine or at the laundromat:

Step 1. Read the Label

Before anything else, it is wise to read and follow the given instructions stated by the manufacturer. The labels would always direct you to the best way to handle the comforter and how to wash it without incurring damages. 

Some down comforters are very delicate that they can only be hand-washed. Others can be cleaned using the washing machine, dry cleaner or both. Additionally, the labels may go ahead to state the specific washing temperatures for both the washer and the dryer.

Step 2. Re-Examine the Down comforter

You need to cross-check and see if it need to clean. Sometimes, a single stain may irritate you to the extent that you just have to wash it. 

However, washing the entire comforter is not the perfect solution for the stain you can remove easily. Frequent washing can damage the down filling, interfere with the fluffiness that facilitates insulation and strips its natural oils.

As you untuck the comforter out of your bed ready to clean it, consider the following:

  • All tears, holes, pulled threats and loose fabrics should be fixed. Failure to repair them would lead to additional damages and larger holes when loaded in the washer.
  • If a stain can be removed rather than washing it, then it is wise just to deal. To remove a stain, you’ll require some enzymatic cleaner, color-safe/non-chlorine bleach, and mild laundry soap.

Step 3. Load the Down Comforter into the Washer

Most home washers are small to medium-sized. If your comforter is a king, queen or full-size one, then it might not be accommodated in the washer. You should probably take it to the laundromat and use on the extra-large capacity front loading machine.

In most cases, small household washers could damage the material and even rip the cover. Some machine manuals would state the maximum comforter size that it could withstand.

Step 4. Set the Machine

Some manufacturers would always direct you to the ideal temperature of both the dryer and the washer. 

Make sure not to stray from them lest you ruin the comforter with the heat. It is recommended to operate with the delicate settings and on warm water temperatures rather than hot or cold water.

What You Need To Know

  • The water temperatures should be warm. High temperatures are ideal for destroying mites, fungus, and unpleasant odors. However, too much heat will damage the down filling, cause shrinkage or discolor the cover. On the other hand, cold water is very gentle but will never get rid of the dust mites.
  • Use a mild detergent, with no additives and allow it to blend well with the water for a more even wash.
  • For white colored comforters, you may add some reasonable amount of non-chlorine bleach.
  • Use two rinse cycles to ensure that all detergent is washed out. When not properly washed out, it would damage the down and make it clumpy.
  • Avoid using fabric softeners as they would reduce fluffiness.
  • Use the fastest spin speed to take out much moisture.
  • Balance the load with 2 tennis balls so that the down may not clump.

Step 5. Drying the Comforter

You can dry your comforter using the dryer, drying rack or simply hang on the clothesline.


The dryer should be large enough to accommodate the down comforter. If you don’t have one, you can walk to the launderette and work from there.

  • Load the comforter into the dryer
  • Set the dryer, preferably in low-temperature settings. A lot of heat may damage the cover and even cause some burns. You’d better be patient enough with the low temperature, also thought that might take as long as 5 hours.
  • Add to it a few tennis balls to ensure even distribution of the down filling and prevent it from clumping
  • Keep removing the comforter from the dryer at intervals of about half an hour, and fluff it. This action will facilitate even drying, aeration and redistribution of the filling.
  • Make sure that the capacity of the dryer will allow the comforter to toss and fluff when drying.
  • Ensure the comforter is completely dry before taking it out lest it ends up forming mildew. If it can’t dry well enough, you can transfer it to a drying rack or air it on a clothesline.

Pros of Using Dryer

  • They are most reliable means of drying your comforter, unlike air drying which might depend on the weather.
  • It is effortless and saves time since everything is machine automated. Comforters dried on a drying rack would take up to the whole day. A dryer takes a couple of hours, and you are good to go.
  • It would not take up much space. This is great for people with minimal outdoor or indoor space for air-drying.

Cons of Using Dryer

  • Very much costly considering that you have to pay for the energy or electric bills.
  • Quite expensive to maintain.

Drying Rack

When you do not have a dryer, or you have limited outdoor space, you can air dry your comforter on the drying rack. Additionally, you can transfer it from the dryer to this rack, to complete the drying.

Unlike the machine drying, this one is inexpensive and would make your clothes last longer. Comforters are more likely to experience tear and wear when machine-dried.


Airing your comforter on direct sunlight has more benefits than using a dryer. The sun is capable of naturally killing the dust mites, preventing lousy odor and brightening the colors. To ensure even drying and maintaining the redistribution of the down filling, you have to keep flipping and fluffing them. 

As you check it at intervals of half an hour, you can look for any signs of damp spots and clumps and manage the situation. If you are not patient enough to tire yourself with this, then desist from line drying entirely.

Pros of Air-Drying

  • It is an inexpensive and energy-saving way of drying your laundry. Averagely, it would cost up to $4 to dry a comforter in an electric dryer.
  • The sun is a good bleaching agent, and therefore it would brighten some of your comforters.
  • They don’t assume any static cling
  • Air drying would kill moisture, dust mites and dirt.
  • Clothes dried by this method always retain their natural shape and free from wrinkles.
  • Air drying is gentle on clothes. The comforters are not readily susceptible to wear and tear

Hand washing

Though it is quite annoying to read a ‘hand-wash only’ label on your comforter, this method of cleaning is the most gentle. It may be tedious, time-consuming, messy and any other negative adjective that you can baptize it.

Hand washing is the perfect alternative for

Step 1. Fill the bathtub or Sink with Water

Fill the sink with enough water and add a cap full of mild laundry detergent. You may resolve to use warm or lukewarm water as opposed to cold water. Afterwards, you can ideally agitate the detergent in water to ensure an even wash.

Step 2. Submerge the down Comforter in the Water

Immerse the comforter in water and ensure that it is entirely covered. You can have it settle for a few minutes to soak before washing it gently by hand.

Step 3. Rinse

Drain the soapy water and rinse the comforter thoroughly with clean, warm water. You can continue rinsing it subsequently until you can longer see suds and all detergent is washed off. Over-foaming and the inability to thoroughly wash out the detergent would ruin the down fill or promote clumping.

Step 4. Dry it

Immediately after rinsing it, you should gently squeeze out the excess water before drying out. Wringing is not recommended as it would damage the filling.

Even if you hand-wash the down comforter, you can still load it on a dryer for drying. Alternatively, if you want to maintain it naturally, you can air-dry it on a clothesline or a drying rack.

Pros of Hand washing

  • It is a gentle way of cleaning the comforter as they are least exposed to wear and tear.
  • Very inexpensive as it does not use energy or electricity

Cons of Hand washing

  • It is time-consuming
  • Quite tedious as it takes up much of one’s effort.

Dry Cleaning a Down Comforter

Many people do not like the idea of taking their stuff to the dry cleaner due to the high cost. The charges may go up to $40 depending on the size of the comforter and the place you have taken it. However, you may also consider doing it yourself in the comfort of your home and saving on the costs.

You need to cross-check the comforter and determine if it deserves to be dry cleaned. 

By doing this, you can help eliminate the possibility of taking it to be laundered by a professional. 

If the cover is made of cotton, linen or polyesters, you can use the alternative of the washing machine. However, in this case, you should place it in a laundry mesh bag and operate with the delicate setting. 

For wool, cotton or silk, you can hand-wash using a mild detergent. Fabrics that are mandatory to be dry cleaned include fur, velvet, suede, taffeta or leather; though they are rarely used in down comforters. But you have to wash 100% wool filled comforter in a washing machine.  

Step 1. Make Ready a DIY Cleaning Kit

If you do not have any, you can make a purchase. These kits use characteristic moist cloths that steam the comforters in the dryer.

Step 2. Pack the Comforter inside the Bag

Place the down comforter inside the dry cleaning bag together with the unfolded moist cloth. It should be loose, free and occupy only half the bag. In case the bag is small, directly load the comforter in the dryer but use two cloths instead.

Step 3. Tumble dry

Tumble dry the bag for about half an hour on medium heat. Always avoid the automatic setting. The dryer should be large enough to allow the comforter to tumble.

Step 4. Dry

Take out your comforter when slightly damp, and air dries it on a clothesline or a drying rack.

Point to Note

You should keep in mind that dry cleaning at home is all about taking a risk. It is potentially hazardous and may ruin your comforter either through scorching or shrinkage of the filling. 

If you can’t stand the loss, then take it to a professional for a reliable service. However, you can take a risk if you think that the cost of dry cleaning is much more than it would cost you for a new one.

Additional Tips on Caring for your Down Comforter

  • Always operate with delicate and low settings unless instructed otherwise from the manufacturer’s label.
  • Make an effort of frequently shaking or airing your down comforter to maintain air circulation and prevent accumulation of moisture.
  • Protect it from dust, dirt or oil by covering it with a duvet cover
  • Desist from ironing or steaming the comforter
  • Rather than washing an entire comforter because of a single stain, just deal with the area and save its lifespan.
  • Avoid using washers with agitating arm as they may damage the cover
  • Refrain from sitting or lying on top of the down comforter. This will crush, break and shrink the down clusters and reduce its effectiveness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Que: How often should I wash my down comforter?

Ans: Frequent washing of comforters would always ruin the filling and facilitate wear and tear especially when machine-washed. It still recommended that you wash it at least once or at most twice a year. However, if you suffer from allergy or asthma, you might be forced to do the washing at close intervals.

To be safe and avoid all these struggles, you can resolve to use a duvet cover to protect the comforter from duet and dust.

Que: How can I manage a down comforter used by my kid who frequently bed-wets?

Ans: It is ideal that you buy a waterproof comforter cover.

Que: How do I ensure my down comforter and the filler lasts longer?

Ans: There are several things you ought to consider:

  • If you can, make sure that you keep alternating from machine washing to hand-washing. Comforters laundered with the machine are easily prone to wearing out.
  • Avoid using bleach, but if you have to, then make sure it is used in small amounts
  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions directed in the label
  • Avoid very high temperatures when using the washer or dryer
  • Keep your down comforter as clean as possible so that you don’t end up washing it frequently. You can cover it with a duvet cover since washing it is much easier than handling the comforter.

Que: How can I clean a comforter which is too big for my washing machine?

Ans: Well, that’s quite easy. You can either hand-wash it on a bathtub or take it to the laundromat where there are extra-large capacity front-loaders.

Que: What is the down comforter made of?

Ans: Unlike most of which are made of synthetic, down comforters are naturally made of down feathers acquired from birds. The down is an efficient thermal insulator and would retain heat for a long period.

Que: What is the major disadvantage of down comforter?

Ans: When exposed to moisture and dampness, it will form clumps and mildew. Additionally, it easily absorbs and retains odors, a factor that may not augur well with allergic or asthmatic individuals.

  • Updated a couple of years ago
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