Cleaning Your Dirty Down Comforter

Cleaning Your Dirty Down Comforter

Most down comforter users overlook general care instructions, especially when it comes to washing, which often leads to a breakdown in performance and product quality.

Every down comforter is different, so you should never take specific washing instruction from a website for any product unless that information is actually geared towards the exact brand and model and type. Even minor differences in product models can result in different care instructions.

Recommendations for both maintenance and cleaning of down fill comforters can be found below to help you get the most out of your product.

Care Instructions
The most common mistake with any bedding accessory filled with down feathers is to wash them improperly or too frequently. While sheets are often washed monthly or even weekly in many households, a down comforter should never be washed more often than once a year.

Despite that one year minimum recommendation, you should really avoid washing it whenever possible – try to go numerous years without a cleaning for the best results. The real reason behind this maintenance recommendation is the fact that it breaks down and loses its loft after repeated washing and drying cycles. It also adds wear and tear to the comforter stitching, which can cause leaking feathers through seems and edging.

Depending on the stitching design used, you may want to shake a down comforter on a regular basis – once a week is often enough. This is necessary for designs that allow for bunching or shifting of the fill material. Some blankets do not needed this maintenance if they use a baffle-box or box-stitch design, since these are intended to keep down in place and prevent bunching or shifting.

Maintaining a Clean Comforter
The easiest way to avoid washing a comforter is to avoid getting it dirty. This isn’t just standard dirt that is easy to spot – this is also dust and especially body oils that get on the fabric from everyday use.

To keep a comforter clean, simply use a duvet cover. This allows you to wash the duvet cover, which is typically intended to be washed much more frequently and costs less.

Washing & Drying Down
samsung-washing-machineSpecific wash instructions will not be provided here since these can be highly dependent upon the comforter you own. Be sure to read the tag on your blanket to find out the safe way to wash and dry.

In general, there are three things you want to avoid with washing down comforters:

  • Water – Obviously, this is necessary to wash unless you dry clean (which may or may not be safe depending on your comforter). Check your tag, be sure to use the recommended cleaning process, and be sure to use the right water temperature if you are washing it in the washing machine at home.
  • Detergent – Residue from laundry detergent will speed up the degredation of the down feathers and their loft. Be sure to use less detergent than normal – about a third as much is typically good. Also be sure to rise thoroughly to ensure all residue is removed.
  • Dry Heat – When you are drying your down comforter, you’ll want to avoid heat because it will break down the material. Again, consult the tag on your product, but the tumble setting on low heat is often the recommended way to dry.

When you are drying, it can help to have something else in the dryer that has a bit of weight to it to help move the fill material around as it dries. This helps to ensure loft retention and faster/thorough drying.

It can also take some time to tumble dry these comforters on low heat, but it is important that it is done this way. You can speed up drying using this method by throwing in a few bath towls that are already dry. This will actually absorb some of the moisture from the comforter. You can also squeeze out excess water from it after it is removed from the washer, but DO NOT wring it out because it can compress, tear apart and permanently damage the down feather fill.

Ikea down comforters are ideal for washing because they can withstand temperatures up to 140°F, which is hot enough to kill dust mites.