How to Wash a Comforter
Is it safe to wash a quilt in a machine with an agitator? Handel says yes, with some reservations. “Most machines can be used if they’re big enough and your duvet isn’t delicate,” he says. “But you wouldn’t want to stick a family heirloom comforter in a mixer for fear it might be too aggressive.”
If you’re rocking a small compact washing machine and a larger comforter, grab a good book and take a two-hour break to go to your local laundromat, where commercial washing machines can easily wash and dry comforters of any size.
Read the care label. Before you put your duvet in the washing machine, check the white care label. Does it say the duvet is machine washable? Duvets vary in size, material, thickness, filling and quality. Down alternative duvets are usually hypoallergenic and filled with cotton, polyester, wool or silk. Down comforters are filled with duck or goose feathers, which are popular for their fluffier, lightweight, and insulating feel. In any case, let the care label guide you. Regarding the outer shell, cotton and polyester can usually be washed at home. Other outer fabrics may require dry cleaning.
“Duvets made from materials like wool and silk can be damaged in the washing machine,” says Sarah Armstrong, Maytag’s new product brand manager. “So take the time to read the care label and, if you must, make the trip to have it cleaned by a professional to avoid wasting money on a new comforter.” That doesn’t like the bank when you’re talking about an inexpensive $25 comforter, but you won’t want to take chances with this $1,700 luxury comforter filled with European white goose down.
Check before washing. Even if the label says your duvet is machine washable, it’s a good idea to do a quick check before you put it in the machine. Armstrong recommends checking for loose stitching or tears to ensure the filling of your duvet remains intact. Fix any loose threads or snags before washing. It’s easy to overlook this step, but an undetected tear can ruin your linens by exposing the filling to all the water, detergent, and agitation. A quick inspection will help avoid unwanted surprises when you open the washing machine lid.
Wash the duvet yourself. A duvet is probably the bulkiest item you will ever throw in your washing machine. So it is important to wash it yourself. Mixing sheets or other items with a comforter can leave detergent residue on it. There should be enough space in the drum so that the duvet can circulate, the detergent can spread and the water can flow. A duvet should also be washed separately, but its cover can be washed with other linens, like sheets, according to Maytag.
Use the bulky or delicate cycle. Whether you’re removing stains or just touching up, choose a wash cycle based on the recommendations on your duvet’s care label and the degree of soiling. If your duvet is elegant or flimsy, or your washing machine isn’t as gentle on clothes, you can use the delicate cycle. However, many comforters require the bulky or bedding wash cycle, which uses a combination of high-speed and low-speed agitation to specifically clean bulkier loads such as comforters, comforters, and sheets.
Pre-treat if necessary. If your quilt is stained or stained, first treat the area with a spot remover spray or dab of spot remover. Before putting the linens in the washing machine, gently rub the area and remove as much of the stain as possible. Hot water can help remove body oils and tough stains, but it can also leave some stains on the fabric. For example, removing blood stains requires cold water. In general, cold or warm water is a safer choice than hot. The care label is your North Star – let it be your guide.
If you’re sensitive to allergens or concerned about detergent residue on your duvet, you can add an extra rinse. CR does not recommend using fabric softener as it can weigh down the duvet if it gets into the filling. It also leaves residue on the surface that can bother those with sensitive skin.