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How to Wash a Down Comforter at Home

person sleeping with a comforter
Written By
Parachute Team
Photographs By
JESSICA SCHRAMM FOR PARACHUTE
@parachutehome
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Snuggling under a brand new down comforter is a divine feeling. Plush, fluffy and fresh, your down comforter makes bedtime worth looking forward to all day long.

Eventually, you’ll need to wash your comforter to maintain that cozy, fresh feeling. And unless you’re careful, you can diminish some of those cozy qualities with improper washing techniques. The wrong methods and temperatures can damage or compress the down so it loses its natural warmth and fluffiness.

If you’d rather not pay for expensive professional cleaning, take heart. Washing your down comforter at home is actually quite simple as long as you know the proper steps. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about how to wash a down comforter to enjoy that clean, fresh feeling for years to come!

Can You Wash a Down Comforter At Home?

You can definitely wash your down comforter at home. It’s safe and easy as long as you have a full-size washing machine and dryer and you follow the appropriate steps. But be warned that a machine that’s too small for your comforter can flatten its down fill, making it lose its natural fluffiness.

If your home machine is too small to allow plenty of room for washing and drying, you’re better off taking your down comforter to the laundromat. However, you never need to have it professionally cleaned. Professional laundry service and dry cleaning are the most expensive cleaning options for bedding, and if you have more than one comforter to launder, the costs will add up quickly!

How to Wash a Down Comforter Yourself

The first step to cleaning down comforters is to gather supplies. You’ll need:

  • Stain remover or enzyme cleaner

  • Needle and thread

  • Detergent

  • Non-chlorine bleach

  • A full-size washing machine

1. Make Sure it Fits Your Machine

Before you start, make sure your comforter can fit in your home washing machine. Front-load machines without a central spindle are gentler on laundry, but a top load machine can also work as long as your comforter fits inside without bunching up.

Washing king-size comforters can be a bit more tricky in smaller home washers. So — if you don’t have enough room, consider washing your down comforter yourself in an industrial sized washing machine at a laundromat.

2. Pretreat Visible Comforter Stains

Start by doing a quick spot check and pretreating any stains you see on your comforter. Some stains may require a bit of gentle rubbing with a damp towel or washcloth and a pretreat solution. If your comforter is stained with saliva, blood or sweat, you’ll need to use an enzyme cleaner for the best results.

Pro Tip: Knowing how to wash a down comforter includes switching out your duvet cover when it starts to show its age. See our guide to How Often to Replace Sheets, Pillows, and Other Bed Linens.

3. Make Necessary Repairs

If you’ve noticed any small holes or tears, now is the time to repair them neatly with a needle and thread. The last thing you want is to find loose feathers in your washing machine. Keep your stitches small to help the feathers stay in place. 

For larger tears, you can sew on a fabric patch or use an iron-on patch as long as you push the down fibers out of the way when you’re  ironing.

4. Choose the Correct Washer Settings for Down Comforters

The best way to wash down comforters is with cool or lukewarm water to avoid shrinking or damaging the down. Try to choose a gentle cycle to best protect the feathers. Make sure to select a fast spin speed to remove as much water as possible from the comforter.

5. Use the Safest Detergents for Down

You can wash feather comforters with your normal gentle laundry detergent, but if you prefer, you can also select a down-specific product. It’s a good idea to avoid harsh chemicals, so if you need to bleach your comforter, choose non-chlorine bleach.

Pro Tip: You should never use fabric softener with down because it can damage the loft of the feathers. 

How to Dry a Down Comforter at Home

Once you’ve finished washing a down comforter, you’ll need to safely dry it. If you’ve ever wondered “can I put a down comforter in the dryer,” you absolutely can. There are just a few key things you’ll need to do to ensure successful home drying.

Best Heat Settings for Down

You don’t want to scorch the down, so low heat or air-fluff settings are always best. The drying time will depend on the size of your comforter and how much water remains inside from the spin cycle.

Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to fully dry your comforter before you need to go to bed.

Check Periodically for Remaining Moisture

It’s normal to want to start your dryer and walk away to focus on other things, but you should set reminders to periodically check up on how the drying process is going. 

If it takes a few drying cycles to get all the moisture out, remove the comforter from the dryer between cycles to make sure it’s not twisted, bunched up or hiding damp corners.

Dryer Sheets vs Dryer Balls

Many people commonly use dryer sheets for reducing static cling and adding a scent of freshness, but dryer balls can be a big help when drying down-filled bedding.

Dryer balls or clean tennis balls help absorb some moisture and also agitate the comforter in the dryer to keep the down from clumping. At the same time, dryer balls speed up drying times.

You can use both dryer sheets and dryer balls at the same time if you prefer.

Is Line Drying Safe for a Down Comforter?

Line drying isn’t an effective drying method for down comforters because the feathers will clump from hanging vertically and your comforter won’t dry evenly. If you have to line-dry your comforter, make sure to fluff and rotate it periodically to deter clumping.

Avoid Ironing and Steaming

It’s best to avoid ironing and steaming your comforter because these methods will introduce too much heat to the down feathers, which can damage them. 

How Often Can You Wash a Down Comforter?

Now that you know how to wash a down comforter, you may be wondering about the right cleaning frequency for the best results.

Unless you have stains or spills, you should wash an uncovered down comforter every one or two years. You can keep your comforter fresher by sleeping with a top sheet or coverlet between your body and the comforter.

Between major cleanings, you can spot-clean your comforter with a wet washcloth and stain solution.

Consider a Duvet Cover

Duvet covers are a great way to bring new life to an older down comforter or protect a brand new comforter to prolong its life. If you’re not already using a duvet cover, consider investing in one to simplify your cleaning routine. A Sateen Duvet Cover or Linen Duvet Cover will give you years of comfort and keep your duvet looking and feeling its most luxurious.

When using a duvet cover, you can wash the comforter itself every three to five years. Wash the duvet cover once a month or so.

How to Store a Down Comforter

When temperatures rise and it’s time to put away your warm comforter, proper storage is important. As long as you keep it stored correctly you can avoid surprises like mold, mildew, odors and down compression.

For best results, keep your comforter in a fabric bag so it can breathe. Avoid cramming it into a small space or vacuum sealing it because you don’t want to compress or damage the down. 

If you wash your comforter before storage, make sure it's completely dry so it won’t develop odors or mildew.

Luxurious Down Comforters for Cozy Nights

In chilly months, a down comforter can make all the difference to keep you warm and cozy in your bed. Selecting a high-quality comforter or duvet insert made with premium down means your bedding will last longer and perform better on cold nights.

Upgrade your sleeping setup with a luxurious duvet cover by Parachute and take advantage of smooth, fresh and attractive fabrics like organic cloud cotton, percale, linen or brushed cotton.

Between your toasty down comforter and ultra-soft, eco-friendly sheets and other bed linens, your bed will quickly become your favorite place in your home!