How to Wash a Comforter – Your Ultimate Guide

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So you just got a big, fluffy comforter. Maybe it’s a down comforter, or maybe you prefer down alternative comforters. Regardless of your preference, a comforter is not like every other bedding accessory you have.

I often get asked how to wash a comforter. So, in this guide, I’ll tell you exactly how to clean this unique blanket, and include some maintenance tips, too.

Can You Wash a Comforter?

Generally speaking, yes, you can wash your comforter. However, it’s best to thoroughly read the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. There may be times where you need to take your comforter to a dry cleaner. If you have a wool or silk comforter, dry clean is the only way to go.

But before you throw everything into the washing machine, here are a few things you can do beforehand.

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Spot Clean Your Comforter

Examine your comforter for any noticeable stains. Whether it be dirt stains, sweat stains, or something tough to remove, you’ll need to do a little spot cleaning first.

A man rubs his hand across the top of a white comforter, checking for stains

Just take your favorite stain remover and apply it to your most noticeable stains. If it’s an especially old stain, soaking or trying to do a little handwashing first will do the trick.

Have a Washing Machine and Dryer Big Enough

Once you’ve finished spot cleaning, it’s time to move to the washing machines. But first, let’s talk about the size of your machines.

Comforters are big, and I don’t recommend washing a comforter with other clothes or sheets. A comforter needs as much space as possible in the machine. In my experience, the care label will often recommend using front-loading, large capacity machines.

How to Wash a comforter - front loading washing machine

Don’t worry, you can use top loading washing machines, but you’ll want to press the comforter down around the agitator to make sure it gets fully soaked. The most important thing is if it can handle large capacity loads.

If you don’t have something big enough, then finding your local laundromat will do. They have commercial-sized washing machines and dryers that will have enough space to fit your comforter, and are mostly front-loading as well.

Washing Your Comforter

With all the prep work done, it’s time to load up your washer with your comforter. When it comes to what laundry detergent you should use, again it depends on what the manufacturer suggests. But the most common advice is to use a mild detergent.

From there, select your setting and hit that start button. If your washing machine has a bulky setting, go ahead and select that, too.

The water temperature will also be in the comforter’s care instructions, but cold water washes are common. This helps protect colors. But warm water can help if you have an especially stubborn stain.

Rinse and Repeat

Depending on care instructions, or just the type of comforter you have, you may want to consider extra rinse cycles.

If you have a down comforter, you’ll want to run one or two extra rinse cycles without soap or detergent to really make sure the feathers are free of residue or suds.

Can You Dry a Comforter?

Absolutely! But we do want to remind you that the best way to dry your comforter is to follow what the manufacturer recommends. Here’s some general advice, however.

Drying your Comforter

The drying process can sometimes be a little more involved. Once the wash cycles are complete, if the manufacturer recommends machine-drying, go ahead and move your comforter to the dryer.

Most of the time, instructions say to use a drying cycle with low heat, though it’s not uncommon to dry a comforter in a tumble cycle with no heat at all.

The heat setting will be especially important if you’re washing a down comforter. You don’t want to ruin the feathers inside with a setting that’s too hot.

Fluff, Fluff, Fluff

Drying your comforter will take a fair amount of time. We recommend stopping the dryer every 30 minutes or so to remove it and fluff the comforter. This does two things:

  • First of all, you will be able to redistribute the fill, preventing it from collecting in one place.
  • The second is you’ll be able to expose wet sections that were folded into the comforter. Every inch of your comforter needs to be dry, and readjusting makes sure you get every inch.

If you have them, tennis balls or dryer balls can help fluff your comforter and absorb moisture while it dries, though they aren’t a necessity.

For best results, and to prevent any heat damage, take your comforter out of the dryer towards the end while it’s slightly damp and let it air-dry.

Caring for Your Comforter Between Washes

Surprisingly, you only need to wash a comforter a few times a year, max. But it’s good to know how to care for one in between washes.

One thing that will help keep your comforter stay clean overall is adding a duvet cover. Most of the time, they’re made of materials similar to sheets, and can be washed like them, too. So, if your comforter has a way to attach a cover to it, I recommend adding one.

If you don’t have a duvet cover, don’t worry. Every few weeks, it’s a good idea to put your comforter in the dryer for about an hour to get rid of any dirt, allergens, and dust mites.

RELATED: Duvets vs Comforters

FAQs

Still have some questions on how to wash a comforter? We’ve compiled a list of some frequently asked questions for you!

Does washing your comforter ruin it?

Most of the time, no. Washing your comforter will not ruin it. However, if you have a comforter that is dry clean only, you’ll want to take it somewhere equipped to clean it that way. You can machine-wash your comforter a few times a year, but it does require a bit more attention than other bedding accessories. For best results, use a large capacity washer and dryer.

How do I wash a comforter without it getting lumpy?

If you’re especially worried about the fill of your comforter getting lumpy, use a delicate or gentle cycle while washing and drying. After your last rinse cycle is done, you can fluff up your comforter before moving to the dryer. While in the dryer, you can use additives like wool dryer balls, or tennis balls to help absorb some of the excess moisture and keep the fill evenly distributed.

How often should you wash a comforter?

Believe it or not, completely washing your comforter doesn’t need to happen as often as you think. We recommend washing your comforter about two or three times a year. If you keep a duvet cover on, it may even need to be less than that! But over all, dirt and dust among other things can build up on your comforter, so it’s best to do a small amount of upkeep every few weeks.

Gravatar for Tony Klespis

Tony Klespis

Tony is a staff writer at Mattress Clarity where he analyzes sleep products and appears in review videos. He earned a B.A in English from Sam Houston State University and a M.A in Mass Communication from Texas State University.

When he isn’t writing about sleep products, Tony loves to unwind with a good book or can be found playing Pokemon Go outside with his friends, or cuddling with his cat, Penguin. He’s always down to try a new, local restaurant and try new foods.

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