How To Wash A Down Comforter At Home

How to clean a down comforter at home
How to clean a down comforter at home

Table of Contents

Nothing can beat the cosy feeling of comforters, especially in winter. However, this cosiest piece of bedding requires some special care and cleaning methods to stay in a good condition. Some people believe they can be washed at home, some believe they can only be dry cleaned. In this blog, we will tell you how exactly you can clean down comforters at home.

Before moving ahead, you should know that mainly there are two types of comforters: Down Alternatives & Down Comforters. The process of cleaning them is slightly different. In this blog, we will discuss the down comforters only.

When you should wash a down comforter

Down comforters often have an explicit direction to dry clean them. This means washing is not an ideal option. But, if you still clean them at home, you must try to cut down on the number of times you wash a down comforter. Washing them more than once a month is not recommended.

You can put on a duvet cover on the comforter. It will keep acting as a barrier to dirt, dust, water and stains. These things will not penetrate directly into the comforter and it will not get dirty faster.

Pro tip: Keep comforters fresh

To avoid a wash cycle or a dry cleaner visit, you can freshen a down comforter. For this, you should have a place to lay down the comforter under direct sunlight. Make sure the place does not attract excessive dirt, dust or human passage (to avoid the risk of stains). Let the comforter stay in the sun for 2-3 hours, flip the sides after 1 hour. Direct exposure to sunlight will remove odours which will make the comforter fresh. It will also act as a disinfectant for the comforter.

Steps to clean down comforter at home

Steps to clean a down comforter at home
Steps to clean a down comforter

Things You Will Need:

  • Front-loading washing machine (Extra-large capacity)
  • Sturdy drying rack or clothesline
  • Two clean socks
  • Two tennis balls
  • Gentle/mild laundry detergent

In general, down comforters are big in size and it gets a little tough to wash them in standard-sized home washing machines with a weight capacity of 5-7 kg. So, it is better to consider washing such comforters if you have a spacious front-loading washing machine at home.

This is why people prefer sending full, king-size and queen-size bed comforters to dry cleaners. Because they have bigger machines which can easily accommodate large comforters.

Big machines to clean a down comforter at a dry clean store
Big machines to clean a down comforter at a dry clean store


Water can damage the filling of these comforters, this is why washing is not the ideal option for comforters. Hence, check your comforter properly, if there are holes or scratches, mend them immediately. Even if they are too tiny, you should not avoid them. Because they will let water penetrate inside the comforter which will definitely reduce its life.

Pre-treat stains

In case there are some stains on the comforter, remove them before machine washing. We do not recommend trying homemade or very harsh stain removers on comforters. Choose a mild stain remover.

Fill water in a spray bottle. Hold the fabric around the stain and shake the down filling away from the stained area. Dampen that area by spraying water. Then apply stain remover on the stain. Take a clean white microfiber cloth to pat the fabric. Make sure that the down filling is away from this area throughout the process. Let the stain remover sit on the stain for 20 minutes. Generally, stains vanish on their own. If required, wipe away the residue (of stain or stain remover) using a clean white microfiber cloth. Repeat the process if the stain is not gone completely.

In case the stain still persists, it is better to see a dry cleaner to clean your down comforter.

Put comforter in the washer

Put your comforter inside the washing machine. Try to spread it as much as possible. The key is to ensure that it is not crumpled and folded too much as it is harmful to the down filling inside. Do not place any other garment or pieces of bedding along with the comforter. Because comforters are large in size, your machine may not have enough space to accommodate other clothes.

Add a mild laundry detergent

You should look for the most gentle laundry detergent in the stores near you or online. Never wash your comforters with heavily concentrated detergents. Read the detergent label, it’s good if it carries words like “plant-based”, “organic” and “gentle”. In case that is hard to find, you can pick any baby laundry detergent.

Once you find an ideal detergent, pour 1-2 tablespoons (powder detergent) or 10 ml (liquid detergent) into the detergent dispenser.

Caution: Do not add bleach

Place socks and tennis balls inside the washer

Take two socks, and place two clean tennis balls inside them. Now, either tie a knot at the opening of the socks or secure it with a rubber band so that the balls don’t come out of the socks during the wash cycle. Place these socks inside the washer.

This will not let the down filling accumulate in one place which is called bunching. It will also help dislodge dirt and dust from the comforter by adding extra agitation.

Set the ideal cycle and run the washer

Set the washing machine on the most gentle or delicate wash and rinse cycle it has. Run the machine. Once the cycle ends, check whether the comforter has any soapy residue or not. If you find some residue, you can have another rinse cycle.

Take out the comforter

Be careful while taking out the clean down comforter out of machine
Be careful while taking out the clean down comforter out of machine

Unlike other clothes, you cannot take out a comforter easily from the washer because it is large in size. And wet comforter will be heavy as well. If you will carelessly drag it out of your washer it may get ripped. There are chances that it will drop on the floor and get dirty all over again. So, be careful, place a clean, dry tub near your washer. Place your comforter in this tub after taking it out. There may be a slight odour in the wet down, don’t worry it will go once your will dry the comforter.

Dry your comforter

If you can wait for the comforter to air dry or dry it under sunlight it is best. The process can take 2-5 days depending on the humidity in your area. However, you will save it from further agitation of a dryer.

Hang the comforter on a sturdy clothesline or you can lay the comforter on a sturdy hanger. (You will need someone’s help).  It can be placed inside or outside, but the area should be in direct exposure to excessive dirt and dust. Let it dry for 4-5 hours, then flip the side. Repeat the process until the comforter feels light-weighted.

In case you cannot wait, you can use a dryer machine in the following manner:

  • Put the comforter into the dryer machine
  • Spread the comforter as much as possible just like you did while loading it in the washing machine.
  • Add socks with tennis balls in the same manner as you did while washing.
  • Set the dryer on the lowest heat setting and run it.
  • Stop the dryer after 30 minutes, and take the comforter out carefully.
  • Fluff it gently to keep the down filling evenly distributed inside the comforter. You will need someone to help you with this task.
  • Put the comforter in the dryer again, it may take up to 1-2 hours.

Key Takeaway

Clean down comforter
Clean down comforter

It is not ideal to wash down comforters as if water gets penetrated into the fillings it will reduce the life of your comforter. This is why dry cleaning should be your first choice. However, if you still have to clean a down comforter at home you should not do this frequently. Washing it once a month is more than enough.

Try to protect your comforter from dust, dirt and stains by using a duvet cover. Use very mild detergent, cold water and most delicate cycle in your washing machine while cleaning it at home. Don’t forget to place socks with tennis balls in the washer. It is important to prevent bunching in the comforter.

When it comes to drying a clean down comforter you will need someone’s help to lift the wet comforter because it will be heavy. The most ideal option is air drying the comforter. However, it may take a long time (2-5 days) depending on the humidity. Thus, you can use dryer machines as well. Just make sure you choose the most cycle and stop the machine after every 30 minutes to fluff the comforter. Socks with tennis balls are required while using a drying machine as well. This will keep the filling in its place. In a nutshell, this is how to clean a down comforter at home.

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