How to Clean and Care For Your Down Comforter
Although down comforters can be more expensive than other types of comforters, with proper care, a down product could last you a lifetime, meaning it will actually save you money over other products that don't exhibit the same durability and require replacement more frequently. Of course, you will have to learn how to clean your comforter appropriately if you want to ensure continued benefits for years to come. Here are some tips that will help you enjoy a clean, warm, and durable product for quite a while.
The down in your comforter is best able to fulfill its function of keeping you warm when it is properly fluffed. But it can sink and settle over time. So part of your care routine should be fluffing it every so often. If you keep your comforter on your bed, it's easy enough to fluff by giving it a simple shake. But if you store it in a linen closet during warmer months, you'll not only want to air it out, but also allow several hours for it to expand after being compressed. Make sure to store your down comforter in a breathable bag rather than an airtight one. This will lessen the chance that moisture in your comforter could lead to mildew.
Use a Duvet and Protector
The best way to protect your down comforter is by pairing it with a protector and cover. This not only allows you to get the customized look that matches your décor, but it also means you won't have to wash your comforter as frequently since you can simply strip off the cover and throw it in the wash.
Your down comforter may only need to be washed once a year (and frankly, you shouldn't wash it too often if you want to preserve its efficacy). Some suggest washing down products at 5-year intervals, but this is probably overly cautious, especially if you use your comforter year-round. The point is that your comforter could get a lot of use between washings. And if you want to be sure that half of your fill doesn't end up in your washer or dryer, it's best to check all the seams and the comforter in general for any damage or thinning spots before you clean it. This way you can make any necessary repairs (reinforcing seams, adding patches, etc.) before you wash. By doing your due diligence, you’ll avoid a catastrophic mess in your laundry room.
Any comforter can become soiled with use. And whether you're dealing with general dinginess or your comforter has been stained by spilled food, filthy pets, or other substances, it's not a bad idea to pretreat before you wash to ensure that your comforter comes out spotless. You can accomplish this by soaking your comforter in a mild detergent like Woolite or using standard stain treatments before washing. Bleach can be used on white comforters, but if you don't want to discolor the fabric, you should use a bleach pen that allows you to isolate the area where the stain has set in. Bleach over time damages feathers and the ticking fabric your comforter is covered in. Read the care label on your comforter before washing it to guarantee you maximize the manufacturer’s guidelines. They put them there for a reason!
The fastest way to damage your down comforter is to allow moisture to take root, leading to mildew that can be smelly and potentially harmful to your health. If you are washing your comforter never bleach the entire comforter, instead spot bleach stains with a stain stick or extra detergent you will allow to absorb before washing. Make sure all the soap is removed and use only a tiny bit of detergent, preferably something expressly made for delicates. And while you are cleaning your comforter don’t forget to clean your pillows, too!
Depending on the size of your comforter, you may want to consider taking it to a laundromat, where commercial machines can handle the load better than your small consumer machine. Either way, you'll want to check the settings. To avoid damaging your comforter, make sure to choose a gentle cycle and select an extra rinse and spin to get all of the suds out before you dry. When choosing your detergent, select a product that is free of dyes and fragrances. Instead, choose one that has enzymes that lock onto stains to remove them.
Down comforters can take a lot longer than other types to dry. Whereas the average comforter could be done in just one cycle, down must be dried on a low-heat setting (so as not to burn the delicate down) and it could take several hours to get completely dry. You cannot allow any moisture to remain because it can lead to mildew, so drying is an important aspect of the cleaning process. We suggest adding dryer balls or a pair of clean tennis shoes to the dryer to help keep the down evenly distributed. Another option is to hang your comforter out to dry. And a good way to tell when it's done, even if you can't feel any more dampness, is to give it a sniff. Wet down can smell a little bit like a wet pet, so you'll know when it's dry.
If you're nervous about taking proper care of your down (or other) comforter, your washing machine isn't big enough to handle the load, or your comforter simply isn't all that soiled, you should think about taking it in for dry cleaning or simply using a home dry cleaning kit as an alternative to traditional cleaning methods.