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The best way to clean a Down Comforter

Down comforters do get dirty, even if you have a duvet cover on them.

Body oil from your skin and other stuff that comes in contact with your duvet cover over time can leech though the duvet cover and accumulate on the comforter, causing it to become yellowed or stained. And as with all bedding, it can become infested with dust mites.

Bedding can contain dust mites

To start, the best way to keep your comforter cleaner is to wash your duvet cover more frequently.

Nonetheless, you will still want to clean it once in a while. As a point of reference, I wash mine twice a year (spring and fall).

  • As a quick Segway, when taking the down comforter out of the cover, hold it up to a room light or window and you can quickly tell if it is worn out. The compartments that lie over your shoulders are the first ones that wear out. If these compartments are void of down, it is worn out and you might consider replacing it.

You can take it to a dry cleaner, however the PERC chemical used in dry cleaning is toxic and leaves a residue on the cover and the down which is next to your mouth all night every night. It is also hard on the cotton and down.

You can wash it at home, but here is why I take mine to a laundromat. Laundromats at times, have some interesting characters that frequent them, but the washers are often larger, they have high speed extractors and the dryers are often 2 to 3 times larger than most household dryers, so they tumble better and dry faster.

Laundromat's typically have larger washers & driers

At the wash machine, I add slightly less than the recommended amount of detergent for a load, I also add a ¼ cup of bleach to kill the dust mites. Don’t overdo the detergent, as if it doesn’t rinse out completely, it will coat the down clusters and may impede the down clusters from coming back to their original size or shape. The detergent residue may also collect additional debris. Bleach is not good for the cotton shell or the down either, however, it kills dust mites. I use hot water as well.

Le Blanc linen wash is an excellent detergent specifically formulated for cotton bed sheets

After it is washed, it will look as if all of the down is gone from the compartments, not to worry, it is still there. 

I then take it to the high-speed extractors (which is just a high-speed spinner) to take a little more water out of it.

A high speed extractor will remove excess water out of your down comforter and make the drying process faster.

Then off to the dryer. Some people place tennis balls in the dry cycle, I haven’t found this to be necessary, but it won’t hurt anything.

Laundromat's typically have larger driers which allow your down comforter to dry faster

Once the comforter starts back to life, I take it out and reorient it, so the sections that were at the center of the dryer is now on the outside. This speeds up the drying process and prevents the shell from scorching.

If I discover areas where the down is a little bunched up, I simply agitate it with my fingers to separate the clumps.

I do this several times, until the comforter feels dry to the touch, then I give it about another 10 minutes. If you get your comforter back home and it starts to feel damp, just lay it on top of the bed and let it air dry. After it is dry, shake it a bit to fluff it back up.

Your done and good for another six months.

Hope this helps.

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