How to Clean a Down Comforter

Before tackling the task of cleaning a down comforter, check the care labels to find out what cleaning method the manufacturer recommends. If there are no care instructions, your safest option is to find a professional cleaner with experience cleaning down. Otherwise you can wash it yourself or take it to a dry cleaner. However if dry cleaning is done improperly, it can remove essential oils from the down [source: How To Clean Stuff]. Remember, most manufacturers recommend washing down comforters only once every three to five years, unless they're soiled [source: Pacific Coast Feather Company].

Try one of the following methods to clean your comforter:


  • Purchase a home dry-cleaning kit for use in your dryer. This works best when the comforter isn't too dirty.
  • Wash the comforter in a front-loading commercial washing machine. (Your own washer and dryer may damage or be damaged by the comforter.)
  • Use a cleaning solution formulated for down. This is available at camping supply stores.

Here's how to wash your comforter:

  1. Check for and repair any rips or open seams.
  2. Spot-treat all stains.
  3. Set the washing machine on a delicate, warm-water setting.
  4. Allow the detergent and water to mix.
  5. Place the comforter loosely into the machine.
  6. Add a clean pair of white canvas tennis shoes (laces removed) to keep the down evenly distributed.
  7. Set the washer to rinse twice.
  8. Gently squeeze some of the water out of the comforter before spin drying. This will protect the machine.

Wet down has a pungent odor, which goes away as it dries. Drying your comforter will take a few hours. Here's what to do:

  1. Use a dryer that's big enough to give the comforter lots of room.
  2. Choose an air-dry (no heat) setting or the dryer's lowest setting.
  3. Put the shoes or a clean white sock filled with tennis balls in the dryer with your comforter. This helps separate and fluff the down as it dries.
  4. Remove the comforter from the dryer periodically and work out any lumps. At the same time, check that the comforter isn't getting too hot.
  5. Finish drying the comforter by hanging it in the sun.

Don't store your comforter away for at least a month after cleaning, to ensure it's completely dry. Otherwise it may mildew [source: How To Clean Stuff].