How To Wash A Comforter (Down or Synthetic)

Find out how to wash a comforter, including washing large comforters and washing a down comforter without it getting lumpy.

A fresh, fluffy, and clean comforter in your bedroom is one of life's simple pleasures. But, let's be honest, figuring out how to wash a comforter (especially if it’s large) can seem like rocket science. 

We'll cover everything you need to know to keep your comforter looking and feeling as good as new, plus we’ll explain how to choose the right washing technique based on the comforter’s filling. So let’s dive in and discover the secrets to a rejuvenated, allergen-free sleep experience.

What you’ll need

  • Mild detergent
  • Large washing machine
  • Soft-bristled brush or a toothbrush
  • A clean cloth
  • Dryer (optional)


How to wash a comforter (without it getting lumpy)

To wash a comforter, read the care label and then pre-treat stains by applying mild detergent and rubbing gently with a toothbrush. Wash in a large washing machine with mild, additive-free detergent, on a gentle cycle with cold water. Finally, run an extra rinse cycle and air dry or use a low dryer setting.

Step 1: Read the care label

The first step in washing your comforter is to read the care label. The care label will give you instructions on how to clean the comforter, including the appropriate water temperature, wash cycle, and drying instructions so that you don’t damage the fabric or filling.

Step 2: Pre-treat stains

If there are any stains on the comforter, pre-treat them before washing. To do this, dampen the stain and apply mild detergent to it. Let the detergent sit for 10-15 minutes, then gently rub it with a toothbrush until the stain is gone. Rinse the affected area and press with a clean cloth to absorb any excess water. 

Step 3: Choose the right washing machine

Choose a washing machine that is big enough to fit in your comforter. The comforter needs as much space as you can give it. The general rule of thumb is to fill the washing machine no more than three-quarters full. 

If the machine is overloaded, your comforter won’t have enough room to move around and get thoroughly clean. Most laundromats have at least a few extra-large washing machines, so head there if yours at home isn’t big enough (many aren’t).

Step 4: Add detergent and choose the washing machine settings

As we mentioned in Step 1, your comforter’s care tag is the go-to resource for choosing the cycle setting, wash temperature, and detergents. However, here are some basics to guide you.

  • Use a mild, additive-free detergent and add the appropriate amount to the washing machine. 
  • Depending on the type of your comforter, avoid using fabric softeners, as they can damage the comforter's fibers.
  • Set the washing machine to a gentle (or delicate) cycle and wash with cold water. 
  • After the wash cycle is complete, run an extra rinse cycle to make sure all the detergent, excess debris, pollen, and dust mites are removed from the comforter.
  • Lastly, depending on the care label instructions, you can either air dry the comforter or put it in a dryer. If you're using a dryer, use a low heat setting and add some clean, dry towels to the dryer to help fluff up the comforter.

If you need to also wash your throw pillows, here’s an article to help you: How to Wash Throw Pillows Without Damaging Them.

Washing a down comforter vs. a synthetic comforter

When it comes to washing your comforter, it’s important to know the type of filling used in it: whether it's a down comforter or a synthetic comforter. Each type requires different washing techniques and care instructions. 

This is why it’s advisable to check the care label for specific washing instructions before washing a comforter. The care label usually provides information about the type of filling and the washing instructions.

For instance, down comforters are more delicate than synthetic comforters. A down comforter requires gentle handling to avoid damaging the feathers and down filling. The materials are also sensitive to heat and water, making it essential to use cold water when washing. 

On the other hand, synthetic comforters can be washed with warm water and can tolerate higher heat settings in the dryer.

In addition, down comforters take longer to dry than synthetic comforters, and it's important to check and fluff them every 30 minutes to ensure they dry evenly. You should also not use fabric softeners, bleach, and dryer sheets when washing a down comforter, as they can damage the feathers and down filling. 

Synthetic comforters can generally tolerate the use of fabric softeners and dryer sheets.

Can I put my comforter in the dryer?

If you're unsure whether it's safe to put your comforter in the dryer, the answer is generally yes. You can put your comforter in the dryer, but make sure to follow the care instructions on the label to avoid damage. A pro tip is to use a low heat setting and provide ample space for the comforter to tumble freely.

Do you wash a comforter on hot or cold?

When washing a comforter, it's important to check the care instructions for temperature guidance. Typically, for down or down-alternative comforters, use cold water to protect the filling and prevent clumping, shrinkage, or fading. On the other hand, cotton and synthetic comforters can be washed in warm water.

How do you wash a large comforter?

When washing a large comforter, avoid overfilling the washer or dryer as it needs sufficient room to move during the wash cycle to remove dirt and grime. If your home machine can't accommodate the size, take them to a laundromat with commercial-sized machines to ensure thorough cleaning and safety of your appliance.

Keep your comforter clean for longer

Regular maintenance of your comforter helps to prolong its life, ensure a clean and cozy sleeping environment, and ultimately, promote better sleep quality. Just remember to be gentle with your comforter when washing and follow the care instructions.

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