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How to Wash a Duvet: 5 Steps & Tips

duvet with a duvet cover on a bed
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Parachute Team
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Having comfy, cozy bedding is one thing, but to ensure a healthy night's sleep, it should also be hygienic. While investing in high-quality bed linens is undoubtedly important, it's up to you to ensure they're clean and well cared for.

Duvet inserts are somewhat bulky, so they can be trickier to launder than duvet covers, sheets and pillowcases. Still, cleaning yours at least a few times each year is crucial for removing dirt, dust, pet dander, sweat and other residues.

This guide has step-by-step instructions on how to wash a duvet, how to dry one, how often to launder it and when it’s time to replace the bedspread entirely. 

How to Clean a Duvet the Right Way

Before getting into how to wash a duvet, we should note that washing a down duvet might be different than knowing how to wash feather comforters. And natural fills may have different care requirements than down-alternative inserts.

For this reason, it's always best to follow the product's recommended care instructions. You can find this information on the tag or the brand's website.

How to Wash a Duvet

You'll need mild (preferably natural) laundry detergent, OxiClean or a similar stain remover and wool dryer balls.

Follow these steps to properly clean your duvet.

1. Remove the Duvet Cover

Start by taking the cover off of your duvet insert. This piece should not only be cleaned separately from the insert but also much more often. Roughly once per week is ideal.

2. Add Laundry Soap

Next, add laundry soap to the empty washer drum. Doing this before placing your duvet in the washing machine will help ensure the detergent dissolves thoroughly.

At this point, you can also add your stain remover of choice, such as OxiClean. Following the instructions, add it either into a designated slot or directly to the drum with the soap.

3. Load the Duvet

Load your duvet. A large-capacity washing machine is ideal when washing a comforter, as a smaller drum might not adequately agitate or spin such a bulky load. On that note, you'll typically want to wash your duvet on its own to minimize the load size.

4. Select the Cycle and Water Temperature

Next, close the lid and select the proper wash settings. The care instructions might suggest a specific cycle or water temperature, but if not, a "gentle" or "normal" cycle should suffice. If you're cleaning a king-size duvet, a "bulky" cycle might be best if your washer has one.

A cold/cold or warm/cold water temperature is usually your best bet. Cold water tends to be the gentlest on bedding, though warm does a better job of sanitizing. This is particularly important if you've been sick or haven't cleaned your duvet in a while.

Some washing machines let you choose the spin speed as well. A medium or high speed will wring most of the water out of a bulky bed cover. While faster spinning could compromise the stitching of a quilted duvet insert, you also don't want to place a sopping-wet one in the dryer.

5. Press Start

With the laundry detergent added, the duvet loaded and the cycle and temperature selected, all you need to do is start your washer.

When your duvet has finished washing, check to see how wet it is. If it's still entirely soaked (rather than damp), you might want to run it on a spin-only cycle to wring all the water out.

Wondering how to wash a duvet cover, sheets and pillowcases? See our guide on How to Wash and Properly Care for Bedding.

How to Dry a Duvet

Once your duvet is done washing, it's ready to be dried. Find step-by-step guidelines on tumble-drying a comforter below.

1. Empty the Lint Filter

First, empty the lint filter before drying any load of laundry, no matter how little lint might be in there. A completely clean lint filter makes for effective drying. 

2. Load the Duvet

Place your duvet in the dryer, spreading it out as loosely as possible.

3. Add Wool Dryer Balls

Next, place up to three wool dryer balls in the drum. This helps prevent your duvet insert from becoming twisted or wadded up while drying it quicker by allowing more air to pass through.

Do Dryer Balls Really Work? Read our blog to find out.

4. Select the Cycle and Temperature

Shut the dryer door, then choose the cycle and temperature. Some dryers have a "bedding" setting, which should work for duvets. If not, go with a "bulky" or "heavy" cycle.

Tumble-drying on low heat helps preserve fabrics. But since duvets take longer than normal to dry, the lowest heat setting could take several hours. To speed things up, consider choosing medium heat and using wool dryer balls.

5.  Press Start and Keep Monitoring

Press start. Let your dryer run for about 30 minutes, then check your duvet to see how dry it is, untangling it if necessary. Press start again, let it run for another 30 minutes or so, and repeat the process until it's entirely dry.

Comforters can take twice as long or longer to dry as regular loads of laundry — sometimes up to three hours. You might want to empty the lint filter every time you check it to help speed things up.

6. Consider Air-Drying the Rest of the Way

Once your duvet is 50% to 75% dry, you can take it out of the dryer and let it air-dry the rest of the way. Make sure it's spread out or hung up in a well-ventilated area. Also, bear in mind it might take several more hours before your duvet is completely dry.

How Often to Wash Comforters and Duvet Inserts

Knowing how often to wash your duvet insert is an important piece of the puzzle. Though you don't need to wash it nearly as often as your sheets, you should clean it every two or three months. This will help eliminate buildup of dirt, pet dander, dust, grime, sweat and odors.

How Often Should I Wash Cotton Sheets? Read our blog for details.

When to Replace a Duvet

Your duvet might need to be replaced if:

  • There are stains that don't wash out

  • The fill is permanently bunched up

  • You can't fluff your duvet back up

  • It has a lingering odor

  • You wake up with a dry mouth, sore throat or itchy eyes

See our guide on How Often to Replace Sheets, Pillows and Other Bed Linens for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Wash a Duvet

Find answers to frequently asked questions about how to wash a duvet below.

Can I ruin my duvet by machine washing it?

Machine-washing a duvet shouldn't ruin it, but care instructions vary by brand and material. Always follow the recommended cleaning guidelines, as some might call for dry-cleaning or spot-cleaning only.

Check out our Down Comforter 101 guide for more insight.

Can I put a duvet in the dryer?

Yes, as long as the care instructions say the duvet is dryer-friendly, you can tumble-dry it without worrying about damage. Low heat is often recommended, but if you need it to dry quicker, medium heat might be best.

How long does a duvet take to dry?

A duvet insert can take up to three hours to dry completely in a standard dryer. The exact time will vary depending on the size of your dryer, the size of your duvet, whether you use dryer balls and the heat setting you choose.

How do you fluff a duvet after washing it?

To fluff your comforter, first make sure it's completely dry. Then, holding it by two corners, give it a few vigorous shakes. You can also run it in the dryer without washing it first to fluff it up and remove dust. Add dryer balls to help get an even fluff.

High-Quality Duvets and Duvet Covers From Parachute

Knowing how to wash a comforter is vital to ensuring your bed linens are as clean, soft and fluffy as possible. In the market for a new bedspread? Check out the high-quality down and down-alternative duvet inserts and natural woven duvet covers from Parachute today!

Read Next:

How to Donate, Recycle and Reuse Old Bed Sheets and Towels

What Is Oeko-Tex? Learn About This Textile Certification Standard

How to Layer Your Bed

Fabric and Bedding Materials Guide