How to wash a comforter

Is it time to wash your bedding? We recommend washing your sheets and pillowcases once every week or two, but your comforter doesn’t require cleaning nearly as often because it doesn’t come in contact with your skin and hair every night the way your sheets and pillowcases do. Therefore, it’s reasonable to wash your comforter three or four times per year. As a natural reminder, plan to have your comforter cleaned with the changing to clean a comforter

Here’s how to clean a comforter using several different techniques.

Spot Clean Your Comforter

When a small blood stain, grease smear, or other mark makes your comforter look grubby, spot cleaning is often the fastest, easiest, and most effective option for treating the trouble area. Just follow these steps:

  • Manipulate the comforter filling to move it away from the stained area.
  • Apply a small amount of gentle cleaning agent. Popular options include diluted Woolite, baking soda and water paste, or a 50-50 solution of water and vinegar. Never use bleach.
  • Blot the stained area with a clean, white cloth.
  • If the spot remains, rub the fabric together to loosen the stain. Then, rinse with a bit of clean water. Squeeze the excess water out and blot with a clean, white cloth.
  • Dry the cleaned area with a blow dryer or allow it to air dry.

Wash Your Comforter at Home

If you have a large-capacity, front-load washer, you may be able to wash your comforter conveniently at home. Before you begin, check the care label for washing instructions. Most comforters can be washed with water and mild detergent, but some may specify dry clean only. To prevent damaging your expensive bedding, heed these instructions.

If you wash your comforter at home, start by loading it into the machine. Add a small amount of mild detergent to the dispenser. Select the bulky setting on the washer, and choose the proper temperature as instructed on the care label. Program an extra rinse cycle to ensure all the detergent is removed.

When the wash cycle is complete, transfer the comforter to the dryer. Use the low-temperature setting and auto-dry function. Add a few dryer balls or clean tennis balls to help prevent the filling from clumping. Check on the comforter every 30 minutes to fluff it up and redistribute it within the dryer. If the bedding still feels wet when the timer goes off, rearrange it to expose the wet inner portion. Reset the dryer and continue to check on it every 30 minutes.

When the timer goes off a second time, assess the dryness level again. You may need to hang the comforter to allow it to finish drying completely before putting it back on your bed.

Head to the Laundromat

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If your washer and dryer aren’t big enough to handle your California King-size comforter, you can avoid damaging your appliances and the bedding itself by heading to the laundromat. Choose the largest front-load washing machine possible and follow the same instructions for washing your comforter at home.

Take Your Comforter to the Dry Cleaner

You might be wondering, “Can I wash my comforter at home, even if it specifies dry clean only on the tag?” This instruction from the manufacturer tells you that this is the safest and best way to help your comforter last. If you decide to put dry-clean-only bedding in the wash, you do so at your own risk.

For more cleaning tips, or to arrange professional house cleaning in your area, please contact your local Molly Maid or call us at (888) 583-6490 today for a free estimate!

Washing a Down Comforter at Home

If your machine has preset cycles, select one that is gentle but also allows for a high spin speed. Above: If your machine has preset cycles, select one that is gentle but also allows for a high spin speed.

If you have access to an industrial-size machine, either at home or in a laundromat, it’s easy and more economical to wash a down comforter yourself.

  • Only use a washer that is large enough to accommodate your comforter or duvet, with ample room to spare (as with any material, your machine will not clean as effectively when it’s overstuffed). With down, it’s even more important; you want the detergent and the rinsing water to freely circulate among the feathers. Also, never use a top loader with center agitator as these can stretch the material and compress the feathers.
  • Use a small amount of mild detergent. Harsh soaps and chemicals will strip the feathers of their natural coating. Do not use fabric softener, as this will coat the down, reducing its performance.
  • Select a gentle setting. If you feel your duvet needs a deeper clean, consider pre-treating any soiled spots by soaking them in a tub of warm water and mild soap.
  • Use cold or warm water, so as not to strip the down, and to avoid shrinking the exterior cover.
  • Rinse twice to make sure all detergent is removed.
  • Set your spin cycle on high to ensure that you remove as much water as possible.

Drying Your Down Comforter

If you don’t have dryer balls, a couple of tennis balls will also speed up the drying process. Above: If you don’t have dryer balls, a couple of tennis balls will also speed up the drying process.

As we learned with our pillows, drying bedding can take a long time, several hours or more.

  • Select a large capacity dryer.
  • Add a few dryer balls to hasten the drying process and to help fluff the down.
  • Time-dry your comforter at a low to medium heat for one cycle or one hour. Do not dry on auto setting, as sensors will stop once the outside, not the inside, is dry.
  • Remove the duvet and fluff it with your hands to redistribute the down. Reload and dry for another hour/cycle.
  • Repeat this process several times. Once you feel the comforter is throughly dry, double check it by allowing it to cool and then testing the interior for dryness one more time.
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Comfy and cozy, down comforters and down alternative comforters are a popular bedding choice. Though they are so cozy, cleaning them can be a hassle.

Many people recommend costly dry cleaning, simply because they don’t know how to properly clean their down comforter. Others recommend taking it to a laundromat to use a large washer.

But these days, especially if you have a newer large energy efficient washer, you can wash your comforter easily at home. So don’t run out to get your comforter dry cleaned. Follow this guide to save yourself the dry cleaning money and spare yourself the headache of washing a down comforter.

Spot Check It First

Before you wash, you may want to consider whether or not the whole comforter needs to be washed. In the case of a single stain, it’s unnecessary to wash the whole down comforter. Just follow these steps to remove the stain without doing a full wash:

  1. ​Mix a small amount of non-detergent solution with water or make a paste out of a 50/50 split of baking soda and water, white vinegar, or carbonated water.
  2. Move the down filling away from the stained area.
  3. Apply a small amount of the solution to the stain and blot clean with a towel.
  4. Rub the solution and stain together and rinse with some water.
  5. Let air dry or aim a hair dryer on the wet area to dry it. Make sure to dry the area fully before moving the stuffing back.

Steps To Wash A Comforter

If you have tried to wash a down comforter before and came up with mixed results from clumping, not fully being clean, or dry, try these steps for a more even clean. You can also check out this video overview here.

  1. ​Check the seams for cuts and holes. If you find a hole anywhere in the seam, you will want to sew it back up before washing the comforter.
  2. Read the label on the comforter. You will want to follow the advice on the label. If there are special considerations on the manufacturer's label, you should be sure to follow them.
  3. For spots and stains, follow the steps above under “Spot Check It First,” just skip the drying part.
  4. Load the comforter into the washer evenly. You should almost always wash the comforter separately from other clothes and bedding as it will take up a lot of space. If you have a small washer, you may want to bring it to a laundromat.
  5. Set the washer cycle to delicate or a similar light setting.
  6. Set the water temperature to cool or warm, depending on the label instructions on the comforter.If you want to kill mites and other allergens, you will want to set the water temperature to hot. Only do this if you are confident you will not destroy the mattress in doing so. Otherwise, you can use the drying cycle to have the same effect.
  7. Add an extra rinse cycle. How you do this will depend on your washer, either do it as part of the initial settings or manually add it after it rinses once.
  8. For comforters, a small amount of mild detergent is all you need. Too strong or too much detergent may damage the comforter.
  9. Before starting the washer, add a couple of tennis balls to the load. Tennis balls will help balance the load and more effectively clean the comforter.
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Drying Your Comforter

Once the comforter is washed, you need to make sure you dry it correctly. If you don’t you will find a lumpy comforter that may not fully dry or develop burned areas in spots. The drying process can be a bit of work, but if you take the time to follow the steps, you will be happier with the results. Follow these instructions to dry the comforter.

  1. Place the comforter in the dryer with the tennis balls. Do make sure that the temperature is not too hot for the balls or you will have a mess on your hands from the balls melting. If you have them, you can use dryer balls or fluffers.
  2. Low and slow is the best way to dry the comforter, so set the setting to low and anticipate about 1 – 2 hours of dry time.
  3. During the drying cycle, be sure to remove and fluff the comforter a every half hour or so.
  4. If weather and space permits, you can dry the comforter on a line outside either as the end of the drying process or entirely. If you decide to hang dry the comforter, be sure to spread it out in such a way that it will dry evenly.

How Often Should I Wash My Down Comforter?

How often you wash your down comforter is mainly a personal preference. It will vary largely based on whether or not you have allergies or circumstances that require a cleaning such as spilling a liquid all over it.


Down comforters can be frustrating to dry if you don’t know what you are doing. Too often, they won’t get fully clean, will dry unevenly, or will clump up. But if you follow the steps above, you will have a much more rewarding comforter cleaning experience.

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