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What is the Best Way to Wash a Comforter?

Laundromats often have large washing machines that can accommodate a comforter.
A small amount of detergent should be used when washing down comforters.
When drying a comforter, it is recommended to dry on low heat and to throw a few tennis balls in with it.
A bed with a comforter set on it.
Article Details
  • Written By: Hillary Flynn
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2014
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Comforters are usually the largest linen item in the home that require washing. This poses a challenge when it’s time to wash one, because most home washers are typically too small to care for something so big, and all the fluff will be disturbed if made to squeeze inside an inadequately sized vessel. There are several other options available for people who to wash a comforter, however.

Of course, before deciding where to wash, the tag must be consulted to determine how. Fabrics and fillings on comforters vary, and some require special handling. If the tag says to dry clean, it is best left to professionals, but it's not difficult to wash a comforter if instructions are listed on the tag — they just require a larger receptacle than most have at home.

Laundromats can be found just about anywhere, and they typically have super-size capacity washers that a comforter can fit into. Once a proper washer is located, the owner turn the setting to cold. Hot water will cause the fabric to shrink, and it may be harmful to the fluff as well. Gentle detergents are the best option.

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Down comforters are a special case and must be washed with a product specifically made for down, or the feathers will be ruined. Only a small amount of detergent should be used, because the numerous fabric layers and fluff act as a sponge and absorb all the soap. Even with a small bit of detergent, comforters should be run through the rinse cycle at least twice to remove all the soap.

The frequency of washing determines the life span and condition of a comforter, so they should only be washed when absolutely necessary. Each wash shrinks a comforter a bit more and the fluff gradually disintegrates. Ultra-fragile comforters can be washed in a bathtub to avoid the wear and tear of washing machines. This is done by hand washing with a mild detergent in warm water, and it should then bypass the dryer and be hung up.

Drying regular comforters can be done at the laundromat as well, or they can be hung up. If using a dryer, individuals should use a low heat setting and toss in a few tennis balls. As the comforter spins, the balls will bounce around inside, keeping the comforter from bunching up in a ball and helping to maintain the fluffiness.

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Discuss this Article

Perdido
Post 6

@lighth0se33 – You need to buy the largest kind available. I bought a high efficiency washer and dryer, and both had large drums so that they could hold a large load.

I made sure that they both had gentle settings, too. This is the only setting you can use when you wash a comforter.

The dryer can detect the moisture level inside the drum, so it only dries the comforter as long as necessary. I think this cuts down on wear and tear.

lighth0se33
Post 5

I will be moving to a new place next month, and I have to buy a washer and dryer. I have a huge bed, and I want to be able to fit my comforter in the washer so I can wash it at home when it gets dirty. What sort of washer and dryer should I buy?

JackWhack
Post 4

Has anyone here ever tried using tennis balls in the dryer with your comforter? I haven't, and mine always bunches up so much that I have to pause the dryer halfway through and move the comforter around to a new position.

Tennis balls have a weird smell that is rather strong when you take them out of the package. I'm a little afraid that this smell might transfer to my comforter, and I don't want to sleep with something that smells like that.

giddion
Post 3

I don't know how to wash a comforter in the bathtub. My bathtub is small, and I have a king size comforter, so there is no way that I could do this effectively.

I would never be able to rinse all the soap out, either. I wouldn't have any towel large enough to wrap this comforter up in and wring it out, and it would be very heavy with the weight of the water, so I couldn't hang it on a clothesline.

I suppose that washing a comforter in the bathtub only works if you have a single size bed or a cot. I'll be taking mine to the laundromat, because that is the only place with a washer and dryer large enough.

Comparables
Post 2

@ aplenty- You can wash a down comforter at home or the laundry mat, but it is not recommended. The washing machine creates excess wear and tear on your comforter, and can cause the down to become flat and clumped. A hot dryer can also easily burn the down in your comforter, and can give off a funny smell.

Your best option is to take it to an organic dry cleaner. They don't use harmful chemicals; although, you will probably have to pay a little more. You also might want to consider a duvet cover. A duvet will prolong the life of your comforter, and you won't have to clean your comforter as often. You can also wash a duvet in your machine at home.

aplenty
Post 1

Can I machine wash a goose down comforter? I hate to take it to a dry cleaner and have them spray it down with carcinogenic chemicals just so I can then cover my body with it for 8 hours a day.

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