How to Wash a Down Comforter

Dec 16, 2023

Cleaning a down comforter may seem daunting, but it can be straightforward and rewarding with the proper guidance. Down comforters offer luxurious warmth and comfort but require special care to maintain their loftiness and cleanliness. Whether dealing with stains, dust, or just needing a regular refresh, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of how to wash a down comforter. From choosing the suitable detergent to properly drying and fluffing or choosing the right dry cleaners, you’ll discover the secrets to keeping your cherished bedding cozy, clean, and as inviting as the day you brought it home.

What You’ll Need

Before embarking on the journey to wash your down comforter, gathering the necessary tools and materials is essential. If you don’t have these tools and materials, you could always seek a pick up and drop off laundry services instead. If not, here’s a list of what you may need to ensure a successful cleaning process:

  • Mild Detergent: Choose a gentle, non-bleaching detergent designed for delicate fabrics. Avoid regular laundry detergents, as they can be too harsh for down.
  • Large Front-Loading Washing Machine: Ensure your machine has enough capacity to accommodate the comforter without cramming it. Users prefer large-capacity front-loading machines for their gentler washing action.
  • Dryer with Tennis Balls or Dryer Balls: You’ll need a large-capacity dryer to dry the comforter thoroughly. Adding clean tennis balls, wool dryer balls, or dryer balls will help fluff the down clusters as they tumble.
  • Clean White Towels: These will balance the load in the washing machine and provide a buffer for the comforter during the spin cycle.
  • Spot Cleaner: A dedicated fabric spot cleaner can be handy if you notice any stubborn stains or spots.
  • Laundry Bag or Large Pillowcase: This is optional but recommended. Placing the comforter inside a laundry bag or a large pillowcase can protect it from damage during washing.

Check for Stains

Before you proceed with washing, inspecting your down comforter for any stains or spots is a good practice. Identifying and treating stains beforehand can prevent them from becoming permanent during washing. If you notice any stains, use a fabric spot cleaner to treat them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow the spot cleaner to penetrate the stain for the recommended few hours before moving on to the washing steps.
Once you’ve ensured your comforter is stain-free (or treated any stains), you can proceed with the washing process to refresh and revitalize your down bedding.

Pre-treat the Comforter

Before placing your down comforter in the washing machine, it’s essential to pre-treat any stubborn stains or spots, just as any commercial laundry in Houston would. Follow these steps to address stains effectively:

  • Identify Stains: Scrutinize the comforter for any visible stains or marks.
  • Spot Cleaner: Use a fabric spot cleaner or mild detergent and water to treat the stains. Gently blot or rub the stained area with a clean, white cloth or sponge. Follow the instructions on the spot cleaner’s label.
  • Allow Soaking Time: Let the spot cleaner sit on the stains for the recommended duration specified in the product’s instructions, as this will help break down and lift the stains.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: After soaking, rinse the treated areas with cold water to remove the spot cleaner and any loosened debris. Pat the treated areas dry with a clean cloth.

Load the Washer

With the pre-treatment completed, washing your down comforter is the next step in how to clean a down comforter. Here’s how to load it into the washing machine properly:

  • Use a Large Washer: Ensure your washing machine is large enough to accommodate the clothes without overcrowding. Many prefer a front-loading machine due to its gentle washing action.
  • Add Towels: To balance the load and protect the comforter during the washing process, add a few clean white towels to the machine and the comforter. The towels help distribute the weight evenly.
  • Detergent Selection: Use a mild, non-bleaching detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics. Avoid regular laundry detergents, as they can be too harsh for down.
  • Set Washing Parameters: Set the washing machine to a gentle or delicate cycle with cold water. Consult the care label on your comforter for any specific temperature or cycle recommendations.
  • Start the Cycle: Begin the washing cycle, allowing the machine to fill with water and mix in the detergent before adding the comforter.
  • Load the Comforter: Place the down comforter inside the machine, ensuring it spreads evenly throughout the drum. Avoid folding or compressing the comforter excessively.
  • Wash with Care: Let the washing machine complete the cycle, which typically includes a gentle wash and a rinse.

Add Laundry Detergent

Now that you have pre-treated any stains and loaded your down comforter into the washing machine, it’s time to add the appropriate laundry detergent. Follow these steps:

  • Detergent Selection: Use a mild, non-bleaching detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics. Avoid regular laundry detergents, which can be too harsh for down-filled items.
  • Detergent Quantity: Consult the detergent’s instructions for the recommended amount to use based on the size and weight of your down comforter. Generally, it’s best to use a detergent formulated for high-efficiency machines.
  • Add the Detergent: Pour the recommended amount of detergent into the detergent compartment of your washing machine. If your machine doesn’t have a detergent compartment, dissolve the detergent in a small amount of cold water and add it directly to the drum.

Wash the Comforter

With the added detergent, you can start washing your down comforter. Here’s how to proceed:

  • Select a Gentle Cycle: Set your washing machine to a gentle or delicate cycle with cold water. Check the care label on your comforter for any specific temperature or cycle recommendations.
  • Initiate the Cycle: Start the washing cycle, allowing the machine to fill with water and mix in the detergent before washing the comforter.
  • Monitor the Cycle: While the machine operates, periodically check to ensure that the comforter remains evenly distributed inside the drum, as this helps maintain balance and prevent any potential damage to the comforter.
  • Complete the Cycle: Allow the washing machine to complete the cycle, which typically includes a gentle wash and a rinse, which will effectively clean the down comforter while minimizing stress on the delicate down filling.
  • Extra Rinse (Optional): Depending on your machine and detergent, you may consider running an additional rinse cycle to remove all detergent residues from the comforter thoroughly.

Dry Your Down Comforter

After washing your down comforter, the next critical step is thoroughly cleaning it. Here’s how to properly dry your down comforter:

  • Use a Large Dryer: It’s essential to have access to a large-capacity dryer to accommodate the size of your comforter. A commercial-sized dryer is ideal, but a home dryer with ample capacity can also work.
  • Add Tennis Balls or Dryer Balls: To maintain the fluffiness of the down filling, add clean tennis balls or dedicated dryer balls to the dryer. These objects help to break up clumps of down and restore loft.
  • Dry on Low Heat: Set the dryer to a low or gentle heat setting. High heat can damage the down and may cause clumping or uneven drying.
  • Monitor Progress: Periodically check the comforter’s progress during the drying cycle. Gently fluff and redistribute the downfilling to ensure even drying.
  • Complete Drying: Continue drying until the down comforter is completely dry. This process can take several hours, so be patient and avoid rushing it.
  • Check for Moisture: To ensure that the down comforter is entirely dry, inspect it thoroughly for any signs of moisture. Even a little remaining moisture can lead to mold or mildew growth.
  • Air It Out: Dry your comforter and allow it to air out briefly before placing it back on your bed or storing it, as this helps remove any residual odors from the drying process.

How Long Will This Take to Clean?

The time required to clean your down comforter depends on several factors, including the washing machine’s cycle duration, the drying time, and the size and thickness of the comforter. Generally, as confirmed by a 24 hour laundry houston TX, the entire cleaning process, from pre-treatment to drying, can take several hours to complete.

Here’s a rough breakdown of the time involved:

  • Pre-treatment (if needed): 15-30 minutes (varies based on stain severity)
  • Washing cycle: 30 minutes to 1 hour
  • Drying cycle: 2-3 hours or more (depending on dryer capacity and heat setting)
  • Additional time for air drying: 15-30 minutes

How Often Can You Wash a Down Comforter?

The frequency of washing a down comforter depends on several factors, including personal preference and usage. In general, washing a down comforter is unnecessary, as doing so can reduce its lifespan. Here are some guidelines:

  • Regular Cleaning: For typical home use, washing a down comforter every 1-2 years is usually sufficient, as this helps maintain its cleanliness and freshness.
  • Spot Cleaning: If you notice minor stains or spills, you can spot-clean those areas without washing the entire comforter, which can help extend the time between complete cleanings.
  • Seasonal Rotation: Consider using a duvet cover to protect your comforter from dust and spills. You can wash the duvet cover more frequently and rotate the comforter seasonally.
  • Follow Care Instructions: Always check the care label and manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific down comforter, as some may have unique cleaning instructions.


Washing a down comforter may seem like a meticulous process, but it’s essential for maintaining its cleanliness, loftiness, and overall comfort. Following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your down comforter remains a cozy and inviting addition to your bedding.
Remember to use a mild detergent, a gentle washing cycle, and ample drying time to protect the delicate down filling. Additionally, pre-treating stains, monitoring the washing and drying processes, and inspecting for moisture are essential to prevent damage and ensure a clean comforter.