How to Wash a Comforter (So It’s Like New Again)

Published December 3, 2020
Making the bed with clean comforters

How to wash your comforter without lumps typically comes down to using the right size washer and making sure to get it completely dry. Learn the steps for how to clean every type of comforter in a snap.

How to Wash a Comforter Simple Steps

When it comes to washing your comforter, there are several steps you need to take to ensure you get the best clean and don't end up with a lumpy mess. This means you need to follow a few simple steps. However, you'll need to grab a few materials.

  • Laundry detergent

  • Tennis balls

  • Peroxide

  • White vinegar

  • Baking soda

  • Dawn dish soap

  • Drying rack (optional)

Step 1: Check the Label

Comforters come in all different types of material. Before throwing it in the wash, you need to know the type of material you are working with. Some of the most common comforters include:

  • Polyester

  • Cotton

  • Down

  • Silk

  • Wool

While down, cotton, and polyester can be cleaned at home, wool and silk typically require a professional touch. You can find out what type of wash your comforter needs and the material you are working with. The label also leads you to the type of wash you need, including handwashing, machine washing, or dry clean only. You'll also find invaluable instructions for the water and washing machine settings along with drying instructions.

Woman checking the care label

Step 2: How to Spot Clean a Comforter

Before you throw your comforter in the wash, remove any duvet covers, and spot clean stains. You can use your favorite homemade spot cleaning solution for this adventure. But a few go-to ingredients for most types of stains are white vinegar, baking soda, and Dawn dish soap. For a white comforter, give it a little presoak with warm water and a cup of hydrogen peroxide. While spot cleaning, check over the comforter for any damaged areas and repair them before throwing it in the wash.

Step 3: Choosing the Right Size Machine to Avoid Lumps

Unless your comforter calls for it to be hand-washed, you can put it in the washer. However, you need a large capacity washer. Your comforter should fit comfortably with room to move and agitate. You shouldn't have to stuff it in. If your washer isn't big enough, either wash it by hand in a tub or take it to the laundry mat.

How to Wash a Comforter in a Front Loading Washer

When it comes to a front loader, gently push the comforter into the machine and ensure there is enough room. Work to position the comforter, so it doesn't twist within the machine.

  • Use the cycle and setting instructions called for on the label. (If in doubt, use cold water.)

  • While a bulk cycle might be called for, you can use gentle cycles and still get your comforter clean.

  • Opt for the extra rinse to ensure all the detergent and allergies are gone.

    Woman hands put laundry into the white washing machine

How to Wash a Comforter in a Top Loading Washer

When it comes to a top-loading washer, you follow the same steps as you do for the front loading to ensure everything fits properly. However, if your top loader has an agitator, you need to fit the comforter around it evenly to ensure your washer stays balanced. Additionally, when your comforter is added to the washer, it shouldn't come all the way to the top. Double-check to ensure it gets fully submerged in water before washing.

Step 4: How to Dry a Comforter Without Lumps

Once your comforter is clean, it's time for drying. There are a few different ways you might choose to do this, depending on your preferences. However, remember to make sure your comforter is completely dry before storing or putting on your bed.

How to Dry With a Dryer

If you opt to use a dryer to dry your comforter, you need to make sure it's big enough. Like the washer, the comforter should have lots of room to move.

  • After following the label's recommended setting, add a few tennis balls to the load to work to break up the lumps, and evenly distribute the filling.
  • Pull the comforter out of the drying cycle several times to fluff it to ensure even drying.

Air Drying Your Comforter

If heat is not recommended for your comforter, then you need to let it air dry. For this method, pull it from the washer and shake it out.

  • Lay it flat on a drying rack for a few days.
  • Avoid putting it on a clothesline since the filling might sink.
  • When it is nearly completely dry, put it in the dryer on tumble (no heat) with some tennis balls to help fluff and remove any lumps.
  • Lay it flat to allow to finish drying and enjoy.

How to Wash a Down Comforter

When it comes to washing a down comforter in the washer, follow the same steps as you would for any comforter. However, it's important to use a gentle cycle for down, warm water, mild detergent, and no fabric softener. Additionally, you might want to consider air-drying your down comforter by laying it flat in a sunny area. If you notice clumps, then it needs more drying time. Once completely dry, you can then use the no-heat setting with a few tennis balls to fluff your comforter.

Folded down comforter on a washer in a laundry room

How to Wash a Comforter by Hand

If your comforter is too large or isn't meant for the wash, you can wash it by hand. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Check the label and spot clean.

  2. Fill the tub with the recommended water temperature and add your detergent.

  3. Submerge the comforter completely.

  4. Allow it to soak for 15 or so minutes.

  5. Use your clean hands or feet to agitate the comforter and remove dirt gently.

  6. Drain the tub and fill with clean water and agitate. Repeat this step several times until any suds are gone.

  7. Once the comforter is completely rinsed, fold it into thirds.

  8. Start at one end and roll it to wring the water out. Avoid twisting the comforter.

  9. Do this several times until all the water is gone.

  10. Follow your preferred drying method.

How Often Should You Wash a Comforter?

Unless you are a heavy sweater, you only need to wash your comforter every 3 months. It's easy to remember to wash your comforter when the seasons change or when you are packing it up for lighter bed accessories for the summer months. If, however, you sweat a lot or are ill, you might want to consider washing your bedding more often.

Cleaning Your Comforter

Cleaning your comforter might not be something you think much about; however, it should be washed with every new season. Now that you know how to clean your comforter without lumps, it's time to get moving.

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How to Wash a Comforter (So It’s Like New Again)