Tips and ideas for cleaning and drying down comforters. Post your ideas.
Most of the wrinkles will come out if you put about 5 or 6 tennis balls in the dryer. You may have to dry it about 2 or 3 times, but it works! Also, a great way to fluff up old, flat down pillows. (11/08/2004)
I've washed my down comforter. If you comforter is especially large (queen or king size), you might want to take it to the laundry and wash it in a big machine but otherwise, it will wash fine in a regular washing machine. Just make sure there are no tears (because the feathers with find their way out) and make sure that it spins properly to get as much water out of it as possible. You might want to reset the machine to spin it again.
Then put it in the dryer with a clean tennis or canvas shoe or a clean tennis ball. I'd dry it on a medium to low heat. It will take a while to fluff up all of the down. Open the dryer every now and then and fluff it up. If you line dry it, the feathers will all bunch up so take it to the laundry and run it through a dryer for a few minutes to fluff up the feathers.
Susan from ThriftyFun (07/23/2005)
Front loading washing machines are great for washing down - but not agitators. So, take it to the laundromat, don't try to do it at home if you have an agitating machine. Agitators put stress on the seams, often opening up pockets and causing the down to clump (if you're lucky). Or they can cause small tears that spill down into the machine, which, as we all know, can cause the end of life as we know it. It will take months to get the down out of your machine.
Use a detergent made for hand washing wools and dedicates, or an HE detergent can be used. Use less detergent than you think you need and don't use any other laundry additives. Be aware that it will give off a funky smell when it wet - it's not ruined, and don't add more detergent. It's just the smell of wet goose feathers and it will go away when it's dry. Use the extra rinse cycle so it rinses twice, as detergent residue is not good for down.
Drying: definitely use tennis balls - six of them (2 each in 3 socks) and dry it on a medium-low setting. You're gonna dry it forever and forever, and then dry it some more. Small comforters can be dried at home, if you have an extra large capacity dryer. The queens and kings need the big machines at the laundromats. Drying a large comforter in a home machine will produce uneven drying, (hot spots are bad for down) and the cramped dryer which will roll the thing into a ball, will not help the down to fluff or disperse evenly. You'll have lumps, and a bit that didn't get all the way dry can grow mold.
Down comforters are an investment - (okay maybe there are some cheapo down comforters out there that don't merit your time - in that case - gamble - you can always toss it and buy a new one). But, chances are: you're reading this because you paid a pretty price for a comforter you love? well then, it deserves to be washed properly once every other year or two, so do it right.
Dry it in a big machine on med-low with the tennis balls. Take it out and fluff it every now and then. Doon't let it get too hot. It could take a couple of hours (so take a copy of The New Yorker along and catch up on your reading). You'll be happy with the results if you take the time to do it right. In fact, you'll get better results than if you send it out to be professionally cleaned. By all means - never dry-clean a down comforter. The chemicals are horrible for the down.
Down pillows are easy to do at home, and should be washed several times a year - so practice on a pillow or two first (but use fewer tennis balls). (12/04/2006)
I had a pixie-bob kitten pee on my down comforter. I immediately flipped the comforter upside down with the pee spot on the bottom, and placed the pee spot over the drain in my kitchen sink. I held the comforter so it created a low spot where the pee was, and ran water into the low spot for 15 minutes. The water flushed / rinsed the pee out, and kept it away from the rest of the comforter.
I then put it in my old, regular-size, standard, Gibson-brand dryer. I checked, fluffed, and flipped it every 15 - 20 minutes for 2 hours. I used medium heat the first hour; low heat the second hour. I used the tennis ball trick. Worked like a charm.
I think I figured out what the tennis balls are for. They help pound on the feathers and keep them from bunching up. Jacquie, brilliant idea. Thank you very much. (12/21/2008)
Just a note to add to all the wonderful tips - I have two cats and they do shed at times, so now I keep a flat sheet over my bedding, or comforter and its cover, and only have to change or wash the top flat sheet weekly or as needed generally.
I also keep several queen flat sheets just for this purpose so I can change them as well. It saves on having to pull and clean the duvet and comforter as I only like to wash the comforter every 2-3 years, line freshening it in between. Thanks for all the other tips too. (02/09/2009)
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