A down comforter, also known as duvet or doona is a thick fluffy blanket with a cotton cover that is filled with down, feather, polyester, etc. The feather used can be duck feather or goose feather. Down comforter will give warmth and comfort on your sleeping.
However, sometimes it becomes dirty and you want to wash it. Cleaning it regularly also a good way to keep your comforter clean and looking brand new. Maybe you are unsure whether you can wash it by yourself or need to go to dry cleaners. The answer is, you can absolutely wash it by yourself at home. You can save money as long as you know how to clean it.
The Best Way to Clean Down Comforter
It is important to know that down comforter cannot be washed too often. Down comforter with duvet cover is essentially washed every 3-5 years. Meanwhile, a duvet without a cover can be washed every 1-2 years. If you wash it too often or too heavily, you will damage the interior down fluff that keeps the comforter warm.
The wrong washing method can also strip the down of its natural oils and make it less effective. Worse, the down comforter may shrink in the wash. Thus, you need to know the right methods to wash your comforter.
Step 1. Preparation
Before you decide to wash your comforter, you need to prepare mild detergent and patience. Yes, patience! Washing comforter may not hard to do, but it will take a long time. Therefore, patience is needed here. After that, check your comforter.
Due to prolonged use, your comforter may not as good as the first time you have it. You may find stains, rips, mold and other undesirable condition without your notice. Remember that comforter is stuffed with feathers of a duck, goose, and other soft birds.
Hence, if you find a flurry flying feather, it indicates that the fabric has torn. Fix it first using needle and thread that matches the comforter. Clean any spot immediately when you notice it.
Step 2. Choose the Right Washing Machine
To wash your comforter, you need a large enough machine so it can fit in. If you use a small machine, it will not work properly. it is possible that your comforter is bulky and jam-packed into the chamber. That is why a large machine is required so your comforter will have a bit of extra air space. By this, water and detergent can reach better in every part of the fabric.
However, it is better if you check the manual for your washing machine. Usually, the washing machine has the list of maximum comforter size that you can wash. If you do not have a large washing machine, go to Laundromat. Laundromats usually have heavy-duty front loading machines. Just pick the ‘triple load’ machine and follow all the same steps.
Step 3. Wash it Gently
When you load your comforter in the washing machine, add mild detergent. Remember that too much detergent can harm the feathers inside your comforter and the natural coating. Thus, it will make your comforter not warm again. You can use cold or warm water. Hot water can damage the down and it will make your comforter shrink into 8%.
Try to submerge the comforter as completely as possible into the water. You may add bleach if your comforter is white. It is usually save to add bleach as long as it is non-chlorine bleach. Before you load your comforter, it will be better if you let the washing machine run for a minute, so the water and detergent can blend better. By this, the soap can reach every part of the down better. Select the gentle or delicate setting on the washer.
Do not use fabric softener since it can coat the down and reduce its fluff. When having your duvet washed, use two rinse cycles to rinse out the detergent perfectly. Before you unload your comforter, make sure that all of the detergents have washed out. When you unload it, pull your comforter out and squeeze it by hand. It will make all the detergent can be removed well. It is very important that the last bit of detergent be rinsed out.
Step 4. Drying
During the drying process, your patience is tested. Comforter is notoriously slow to dry. But you need to dry it completely to prevent the growth of moth. To dry your duvet, unload your comforter from the washing machine.
It may look flatter, smoother and less bulky than usual. If your comforter is white, it may look discolored. But it is actually normal since the discoloration stems from the wet down fluff, and it will be back to normal when the duvet is dry.
In drying the comforter, you can either dry it manually in the air-drying area or using a machine. Drying in the air-drying area takes a longer time than using an electrical machine, but it is less likely to shrink or damage the fabric. Lay the comforter out in a clean, sunny area, and give it time to dry
However, if you prefer using an electrical machine to dry it, use a dryer on a low heat setting. High heat can harm your comforter and it will make it shrink. However, white duvet can tolerate high heat better than a colorful duvet. But, to avoid the risk of shrinking, it is recommended to use a low heat setting.
Add a few dryer balls (or tennis balls) to the dryer to keep the down from clumping as it dries. Wool dryer balls are the best, but tennis ball will work too. Stop the dryer and take out the comforter out a few times (even 5 or 6 times).
If you notice that your comforter is still clumping or smelly, it means your comforter is not dry thoroughly, dry it again to prevent mold.
Step 5. Finishing
Even after using the dryer and you think that your comforter is completely dry, try to hang it outdoors in a sunny area or inside your hose to allow the air circulate all around it. After that, you can store it or place it on your bed again.