How to Clean Comforters

Three Parts:Preparing to Clean Your ComforterWashing Your ComforterDrying Your Comforter

When we think of a comforter, we most often think of comfort: these soft, fluffy covers keep us warm and cozy. But did you know that they are also perfect hosts for dust mites and debris that collect over time, increasing your chances of an allergic reaction? Keeping your comforter clean is vital to your health, and, what's more, the lifespan of the comforter itself. While it may seem an unwieldy task at first, rest assured that giving your down or down-alternative comforter a good wash is a very doable task.

Part 1
Preparing to Clean Your Comforter

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    Read the care label. Your comforter should have a care label with instructions on how to clean it. Most down and down-alternative comforters can be washed at home with a mild detergent,[1] though some may specify to dry clean only.
    • Do not deviate from specific instructions on the label. These may include temperature settings for washers and dryers, etc.[2]
  2. Image titled Clean Comforters Step 2
    Determine if your comforter needs to be cleaned. Comforters probably need a good cleaning once every few months.[3] If you have allergies, however, you may want to wash your comforter monthly.
    • You don't need to wash your whole comforter if the problem is a single stain. See Step 4 for stain treatment.
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    Check for seam strength and any holes. Before proceeding to actually washing your comforter, make sure it has no loose threads or tears. Hopefully, these tears will not be too large and can be easily remedied with a quick needle and thread. Though this adds time to the process of washing your comforter, it will prevent these small holes from becoming larger during washing.
  4. Image titled Clean Comforters Step 4
    Remove stains. You can do this with a small amount of non-detergent solution like Woolite diluted with a little water. Alternatively, use a paste made of baking soda and water, a 50-50 solution of baking soda and white vinegar, or simply carbonated water.
    • Shift the filling away from the stained area.
    • Apply a small amount of the cleaning solution to the area.
    • Blot with a clean, white towel or cloth.
    • Alternatively, rub the fabric together to loosen the stain, and rinse with a small amount of water. Squeeze excess water out with your hands and then blot with a clean, white towel.
    • If you're not washing your comforter afterwards, let this section air dry, or dry with a hair dryer. Make sure it has dried completely.[4]
    • Never use any bleach or color-treatment solution.

Part 2
Washing Your Comforter

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    Load your comforter into a washing machine. Make sure it is distributed evenly. Your comforter needs adequate room to get thoroughly clean, so if your home washing machine looks too small to fit the comforter, take it to a laundromat and use one of the large, front-load washers.[5]
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    Set the washing machine to the delicate setting and select the water temperature. The delicate setting is essential in preventing damage to the casing. Choosing a water temperature depends on a couple of factors.
    • Use cool water or warm water per the label instructions.
    • Use hot water if you want to kill off dust mites and do not have a dryer. Heat over 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54 C) kills dust mites, but if you're concerned about damaging the fabric or color of your comforter with a high-heat wash, use cool water and save the heat for the drying step.[6]
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    Add an extra rinse cycle if possible. Depending on your machine, you may be able to select this at the beginning, or you may need to add this as an extra step after the first cycle is complete.[7]
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    Use a small amount of mild detergent. Choose a detergent that is safe for delicate materials. Using a small amount prevents over-foaming in the machine, and also reduces stripping the feathers of down comforters.[8][9]
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    Add a clean pair of white tennis shoes or tennis balls. Adding these to the wash will help balance the load and ensure effective cleaning.[10]
    • Make sure the tennis shoes can go in the wash on the settings you've selected.

Part 3
Drying Your Comforter

  1. Image titled Clean Comforters Step 10
    Place your comforter in the dryer with the tennis shoes or balls. Make sure the comforter is evenly distributed. The tennis shoes or balls help keep the fill evenly distributed.
    • Alternatively, you can use a rubber dryer ball or down fluffer rings.[11][12]
  2. Image titled Clean Comforters Step 11
    Dry the comforter on the low-heat setting. Your comforter will take a while to dry thoroughly, possibly a few hours.
    • Use high heat to kill dust mites, but only after consulting the care label. Note that tennis balls and tennis shoes may not tolerate high-heat settings.
  3. Image titled Clean Comforters Step 12
    Fluff the comforter regularly during the drying process. Every half-hour, pull the comforter out of the dryer and fluff it. This helps redistribute the fill and encourages thorough, even drying by keeping the comforter properly aerated. You can also check for signs of burns (unlikely on low-heat settings but a risk with higher-heat settings).[13]
  4. Image titled Clean Comforters Step 13
    Hang the comforter outside. If it's relatively dry and sunny out, complete the drying process by putting the comforter outside for a few hours. This helps ensure that the comforter is thoroughly dried, which is essential for preventing mildew. Sunlight also helps kill dust mites.
    • If it's very warm and sunny outside, you can skip the dryer altogether and hang your comforter out for the entire drying process. If you do this, arrange the comforter so that its surfaces can dry evenly. Be sure to fluff and rotate it 90 degrees every few hours so that the down or fill doesn't collect in any one end.
    • If weather does not permit, hang the comforter in a dry, well-ventilated area indoors. Laying it over a drying rack allows it to dry fairly evenly. Be sure to fluff and rotate regularly, as instructed above.


  • Protect your comforter from dirt and dust with a duvet cover. These fit over the comforter and can be easily removed and machine-washed with the rest of your bed linens.
  • If the comforter care label recommends hand washing only, you can do this with a mild detergent in a bathtub or large laundry sink.
  • Shake out your comforter each morning, and regularly air it out on dry, breezy days. This helps the fill to circulate and removes moisture, preventing mildew.[14]
  • Most manufacturers warn against using bleach, as it is potentially damaging to the casing and fill, thus shortening the comforter's lifespan.[15] However, bleach is an effective agent against dust mites, so if this is a problem for you, you may want to consider adding a small amount of bleach to the wash cycle.[16]

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Categories: Bedding and Mattress Care