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How to Wash a Down Comforter: The Complete Guide

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.

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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