How to Wash a Down Comforter: Simple Steps for Care and Cleaning a Down Comforter

TopProducts may earn commissions from affiliate links on this page. Not only does this help us maintain our website, but it also helps support our scholarship program. Learn More.

Sleep is probably the best thing to have ever been invented in the world. Whoever came up with the idea of sleeping needs a rewarding prize.

For some people, sleeping with a down comforter is the utmost sense of luxury. There is just something so, um, comforting, about the soft and snuggly weight it provides. 

When we sleep, we relax and get into the world of dreams that come with enough rest after a long day.

Experts say good sleep will improve your memory, increase productivity, improve immunity, and strengthen your heart, amongst many other benefits.

However, one cannot achieve this with dirty beddings, e.g., a dirty down comforter. Dirty bed linens can even put your health at risk and can impact your sound sleep.  Of course you know that you should cleen your sheets and pillowcases regularly. But what about your comforter? 

Since quality down comforters are an investment, it’s important to consider proper care.

In this post we will cover how to take care of down to make it last longer, how to clean a down comforter in a washing machine, as well as getting it washed by a dry cleaner.

Related: 3 Tips for Better Sleep

What is a Down Comforter?

Image Credit: Apsmile on Amazon

This is a type of bedding covering that is made from down feathers. Down feathers are the feathers underneath a bird’s contour feathers and aid in insulation. The most common down used are duck and goose, or blends of the two. 

These delicate and light feathers work in a way that holds heat to keep you warm throughout those chilly nights. They are clustered together perfectly in quilting or stitching rows that ensure the feathers do not fall out of place and maintain that fluffy and soft feel.

If you don’t have a down comforter yet but want one, we reviewed 5 fantastic bedding brands.

For those or you who suffer from allergies, you can also purchase a down alternative comforter. In most cases, the care instructions will be the same.

One thing you will notice is that a lot of down comforters are white (or another solid, neutral color), and you may be wondering why that is. Doesn’t white get dirty faster? The reason for this is because the best way to care for comforters made from down feathers is to avoid having to wash it that often. What you say. How can that be? 

It’s simple, use a duvet cover! Yes, they can be used on both quilted down comforters and down duvet inserts.

By using a bedding duvet cover for your comforter, not only do you add a layer of protection, but you also get to change the look and style without having to spend a lot of money on different comforters. This is a great way to extend the life of your bedding investment.  

How Often Should You Wash a Down Comforter?

Image Credit: Hombys on Amazon

Most experts say that if you keep a down comforter covered and use sheets between you and the comforter, you can go 3 to 5 years between washings. Without a cover, you should wash it every 1 to 2 years.

Now, these times assume proper maintenance and care between washings. If you are someone who sweats a lot a night and only uses a sheet, have pets who get on the bed, or have an accidental spill, you may need to wash it more frequently.

By the way, if you have a down pillow, you will want to use both a pillow protector (which can also help prevent feather poking) and a pillow case. This both increases the lifespan of the pillow, but also increases the time between washings. And of course, the instructions for washing a down pillow are the same as washing a down comforter — they’re just smaller!

Washing a Down Comforter Without Ruining It

You may have purchased a down comforter and it’s that time to clean it. Or maybe something got spilled on it, but you don’t know how to wash it safely. The last thing you want to do is damage it — either ripping the seams and having feathers everywhere or causing it to become lumpy instead of soft and fluffy.

Well, the good news is that you don’t have to lose any more sleep worrying about whether you will continue enjoying your sleep because of a dirty down comforter.

You can clean a down comforter two ways — dry cleaning or machine washing. 

Choosing either of the options is dependent on the type of fabric used in making the down comforter. Where the fabric is delicate or has embellishments, dry cleaning is highly recommended. Therefore, it is essential to check your comforters’ tags to understand the type of material used and necessary information on the washing requirements.

Steps to Follow When Cleaning a Down Comforter at Home

You probably have a full-sized washing machine at the comfort of your house, and you are wondering where to start to ensure that your comforter is well cleaned and remains unharmed.

When washing a comforter from home, it is highly advisable to follow the guidelines listed on the tag on the use of washing machines, detergents to use or avoid, and most importantly, consider the size of your comforter.

If the comforter is too big to fit in the washing machine comfortably, you may need to take it to be washed in a laundromat where they have extra-large washing machines.

Another option is to hand wash it in your bathtub, however this isn’t always easy to do with down. It’s hard to get all the water out by hand, which means it will take a long, long time to dry in the dryer. On top of that, it’s not recommended to hang or line dry down comforters. The weight of wet down will cause it to drop downwards into clumps. Then it’s almost impossible to get it back to it’s luxurious, fluffy state.

The following are the steps to follow when machine washing down comforter

Depending on your comforter’s size, please put it in the washing machine, ensuring it’s spread out as much as possible and it’s not crumpled or folded.

  1. It is recommended to add two socks with tennis balls inside them to increase the agitation to remove dust, body oils, and sweat from the comforter.
  2. Add a small amount of detergent into the soap dispenser in the washing machine. It is best to use a laundry soap that is especially made for down; or at least one that is made for delicates. 
  3. Do not add chlorine bleach or fabric softener — neither are good for down. You can use a non-chlorine bleach
  4. Begin with setting the machine to a gentle cycle with the water temperatures being cold to warm to prevent shrinking or damaging the comforter. If possible, put an extra rinse cycle in the machine using the fastest spin speed to take up as much moisture as possible.
  5. Turn on the washing machine and let it run through the full cycle.
  6. When the cycle is over, check the comforter for any remaining soap on the fabric. If there is remaining soap, put the comforter through another rinse cycle without any detergent.
  7. When the cycle is complete, put the comforter into an extra-capacity dryer and set it to the lowest heat setting. This will help prevent shrinking and protect the down filling.
  8. Add several organic wool dryer balls. These will help to dry the comforter quicker, prevent wrinkles, and act as a natural fabric softener.  You can use dryer sheets if you want too.
  9. It is likely that you may need to use several dryer cycles. Don’t try to rush the process by turning up the heat. Between cycles, it’s a good idea to take the comforter out and flip it around some so that it dries evenly.
  10. Once dry, allow the comforter to sit in the sunlight for extra drying to ensure no dampness is left before using it to avoid mildew or molding.

How to Wash and Dry a Down Comforter Properly. | Courtesy of Billerbeck

Professionally Dry Cleaning a Down Comforter

Having your down comforter washed professionally is recommended because it is hustle free and easy. You are only required to drop at your preferred dry cleaner and collect once done clean and undamaged.

Using a dry cleaner is the safest way to have your down comforter cleaned because it ensures no shrinkage occurs. However, the downside of having it cleaned in a dry cleaner is that the harsh chemicals used in the process are not favorable for the comforter’s down feathers.


Image Credit: Egyptian Cotton Factory Outlet on Amazon

Getting your down comforter clean should not be a bother anymore or look like an uphill task ever again. With the guidelines above, we would believe that you are now fully equipped with the needed knowledge on washing down comforters.

Enjoy the freshness! A clean down comforter is a gateway to better sleep.

You May Also Like: Find Out If It Is Time to Replace Your Mattress