How to wash a down comforter: Ultimate Guide 2024

by Jennifer Sergent
how to wash a down comforter

Regarding luxury bedding, nothing compares to the comfort and warmth of a down comforter. However, keeping your investment clean and pristine can sometimes be difficult. Fear not, for we have compiled the ultimate guide to washing your down comforter, complete with expert tips and tricks that will always leave you with professional results. 

Say goodbye to dull bedding and hello to a fresh and fluffy comforter that will provide you with cozy nights for years to come. From choosing the right detergent to mastering the art of drying, this comprehensive guide covers all aspects of caring for your down comforter like a pro. 

Selecting the Right Detergent for Your Down Comforter

When it comes to washing your down comforter, choosing the right detergent is crucial. Look for a gentle detergent that is specifically formulated for delicate fabrics like down. 

Avoid using harsh detergents or those with added fragrances and dyes, as they can strip away the natural oils in the down feathers and cause them to lose their loft.

Opt for a mild, biodegradable detergent free from bleach and enzymes to ensure your down comforter stays fluffy and cozy after each wash. 

Consider using a specially designed downwash product that helps maintain the integrity of your comforter while effectively removing dirt and odors. 

Always read the care instructions on your comforter’s label before selecting a detergent to ensure you are properly caring for this luxury bedding item.

how to wash a down comforter

Understanding the Washing Instructions on Your Comforter

When it comes to washing your down comforter, it’s crucial to pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions. These guidelines are designed specifically for your comforter’s material and construction, ensuring that you clean it properly without causing damage. 

Look for tags or labels on your comforter that provide detailed washing instructions, including water temperature, detergent type, and drying method.

Following these instructions carefully can help prolong the life of your comforter and maintain its quality over time. If no specific instructions are provided with your comforter, opt for a gentle cycle with cold water and a mild detergent. 

Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals that can strip away the natural oils in the down filling and reduce its fluffiness.

It’s also important to check whether your comforter is machine washable or requires professional cleaning. Some down comforters may need special care due to delicate fabrics or intricate detailing

When in doubt, consult with a professional cleaner who specializes in handling down bedding products for expert advice on how to clean your comforter effectively while preserving its integrity.

Preparing Your Comforter for Washing: Tips and Tricks

  • Before washing your down comforter, check the care label for specific instructions. 
  • Remove any duvet cover and shake the comforter to fluff up the feathers. 
  • Inspect it for any tears or loose seams that need repair before washing.
  • If your comforter is machine washable, consider adding a couple of tennis balls to help fluff up the feathers during drying. This will ensure an even distribution of filling and prevent clumping
  • To maintain the quality of your comforter, avoid using regular detergent and opt for a gentle, down-specific cleaner.
  • Wash with cold water on a gentle cycle to protect delicate fabrics and keep colors vibrant. 
  • If possible, use a large-capacity washer to allow room for thorough cleaning without compacting the fill. 
  • After washing, dry completely in a large dryer on low heat or air-dry outside on a sunny day for best results.

The Best Washing Techniques for Down Comforters

When washing your down comforter, always follow the care label instructions provided by the manufacturer. 

Use a large-capacity front-loading washing machine to ensure the comforter has enough room to move freely.

Tips for Washing Down Comforters:

  1. Use a mild detergent designed explicitly for down products.
  2. Wash on a gentle cycle with cold water to avoid damaging the delicate feathers.
  3. Add an extra rinse cycle to remove all soap residue from the comforter.

These simple washing techniques will help keep your down comforter fluffy and comfortable for years.

how to wash a down comforter

Handling Stubborn Stains and Odors on Your Comforter

For Stains:

Pre-treat: Use a gentle stain remover or laundry detergent to spot-clean any stains before washing your comforter.

Soak: If the stains are stubborn, soak the affected area in a mixture of water and laundry detergent for at least 30 minutes before washing.

For Odors:

Baking soda: Sprinkle baking soda on your comforter before washing to help neutralize odors.

Vinegar: Adding white vinegar during the rinse cycle can also help eliminate lingering odors from your comforter.

Drying Your Down Comforter: Air-Drying vs Machine Drying

When it comes to drying your down comforter after washing, you have two main options: air-drying or machine-drying. Each method has its pros and cons, so it’s important to consider which one is best for your comforter.


  • Pros: Gentle on the delicate down filling, reduces the risk of overheating or damaging the comforter.
  • Cons: It can take a long time to dry completely, especially in humid climates.

Machine Drying:

  • Pros: Quicker than air-drying, adjustable settings provide more control over the drying process.
  • Cons: It may be too harsh for some down comforters, increasing the risk of clumping or damage if not done carefully.

Fluffing and Maintaining Your Comforter After Washing

  1. Fluffing: Once your down comforter is completely dry, it’s important to give it a good fluff to redistribute the feathers or down evenly. Simply shake the comforter gently from side to side to help plump up the filling and prevent clumping.
  2. Maintaining: To maintain your comforter’s loftiness, avoid compressing it for long periods of time. When not in use, store your comforter in a breathable cotton storage bag or closet. This will help preserve its fluffiness and extend its lifespan.
  3. Spot Cleaning: In between washing cycles, spot-clean any spills or stains on your comforter using a gentle detergent diluted with water. Blot the stain with a clean cloth rather than rubbing it, as this can damage the delicate fabric of the comforter.

how to wash a down comforter

How Often Should You Wash Your Down Comforter?

  • General Rule: You should wash your down comforter every six months to maintain its freshness and cleanliness.
  • Frequency Variation: Consider washing more often if you have allergies, pets that sleep on the bed, or if you notice any stains or odors.
  • Care Instructions: Always check the care label for specific washing instructions, as some down comforters may require special handling.

Special Care Instructions for Different Types of Down Comforters

For Light Fill Power Down Comforters:

  • Use a gentle cycle with cold water to prevent damage to the delicate down clusters.
  • Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals that can strip the natural oils from the down.

For Heavy Fill Power Down Comforters:

  • Opt for a larger capacity washing machine to ensure even distribution of water and detergent throughout the comforter.
  • Consider adding tennis balls or dryer balls to help fluff up the comforter during drying.

For Silk-covered Down Comforters:

  • Check if your comforter is machine washable or if it requires professional dry cleaning due to its silk cover.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when washing silk-covered down comforters.

Troubleshooting Common Washing Problems with Down Comforters

  • Clumping: If your down comforter comes out of the wash with clumps, try using tennis balls or dryer balls to fluff it up during the drying cycle. This will help redistribute the feathers evenly throughout the comforter.
  • Odor: To get rid of any lingering odors after washing, try hanging your comforter outside in direct sunlight for a few hours. The UV rays will help freshen it up naturally.
  • Shrinking: If you notice that your down comforter has shrunk after washing, avoid using high heat settings and opt for air-drying instead. This gentler method can help prevent further shrinkage and maintain the loftiness of your comforter.

how to wash a down comforter

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I wash my white down comforter with bleach?

No, you should not wash a white down comforter with bleach. Bleach can damage the down feathers, breaking them down and reducing their insulating properties. Instead, use a gentle, down-specific, or mild detergent without additives. Always follow the manufacturer’s care instructions to maintain the quality and longevity of your comforter.

How do you clean down or feather pillows?

  1. Check the Care Label: Always check the care label for specific instructions.
  2. Use a Gentle Detergent: Use a mild, down-specific detergent.
  3. Wash in a Front-Loading Washer: Wash the pillows in a front-loading washing machine on a gentle cycle with warm water. Avoid top-loading machines with agitators, as they can damage the pillows.
  4. Rinse and Spin: Run an extra rinse and spin cycle to ensure all detergent is removed.
  5. Dry Thoroughly: Dry the pillows in a large dryer on a low heat setting. Add clean tennis balls or dryer balls to help fluff the pillows and break up clumps.

How do you smooth out a lumpy comforter?

  1. Shake and Fluff: Shake the comforter vigorously to evenly redistribute the down or feathers.
  2. Lay It Flat: Lay the comforter flat on a clean surface and gently smooth out any lumps with your hands.
  3. Use a Dryer: Put the comforter in a large dryer with a few clean tennis balls or dryer balls. Use a low heat setting and periodically stop the dryer to redistribute the filling by hand.
  4. Air It Out: Hang the comforter outside on a dry, sunny day to air it out and help the filling expand naturally.

How to Keep Your Comforter Clean Longer

  1. Use a Duvet Cover: Removable covers protect the comforter from dirt and spills and can be washed more frequently.
  2. Regular Shaking and Fluffing: Shake and fluff your comforter regularly to maintain its loft and prevent clumping.
  3. Air Out Periodically: Air out the comforter outside in the sun occasionally to freshen it up and maintain its fluffiness.
  4. Spot Clean Stains: To prevent stains from setting, promptly spot clean any stains with a mild detergent and water.
  5. Avoid Eating in Bed: Minimize eating or drinking in bed to reduce the risk of spills and stains.

How do I know if my down comforter is completely dry?

To ensure your down comforter is completely dry:

  1. Touch Test: Feel the comforter thoroughly for any dampness, especially in the corners and thick sections.
  2. Weight Check: The comforter should feel light and airy. If it feels heavy or clumpy, it may still be damp.
  3. Dryer Time: Dry the comforter on low heat for an extended period, checking and fluffing it every 30 minutes. It can take several hours to dry completely.
  4. Smell Test: If it still has a damp odor, it’s not completely dry. A fully dry comforter should smell clean and fresh.

How long should a down comforter last?

A high-quality down comforter can last between 10 to 15 years with proper care. Factors affecting its lifespan include the quality of the down, the frequency of use, and how well it is maintained. Regularly fluffing, using a duvet cover, and proper cleaning can significantly extend the life of your down comforter.


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