If your down comforter gets stained or dirty, you'll be glad to learn that you can clean it in the washing machine. You can't just throw a comforter in with the rest of your laundry, though, because doing so could damage both the blanket and the washer. Follow these steps to safely and effectively clean all your down comforters.
Washing a down blanket too often can shorten its lifespan, so make sure your comforter really needs to be cleaned before you continue. Recommendations on how often you should wash your comforter vary from once every five years to once a year at most.
Down comforters are large articles that can soak up a lot of water, making them very heavy. As a result, they require a big, heavy-duty washer. If your laundry appliances aren't big enough to accommodate a comforter, take it to the Laundromat; trying to wash a comforter in a machine that's too small can stress and damage your appliances.
Ideally you should wash your comforter in a front-load washer. Top-load washers with an agitator are not recommended because the comforter may not have room to move around inside the machine.
Before you wash your comforter, inspect it for any tears or stains. It's a good idea to repair tears with a needle and thread before you wash. Otherwise, putting the comforter in the washer could make the damage worse. If you find any blemishes, you should spot-treat the stains before laundering.
Select a delicate cycle with cool or warm water. For top-load models, add the detergent to an empty wash bin and let it fill with water to mix the cleaning product. Then submerge the comforter. After the wash cycle is complete, consider running an extra rinse cycle to make sure all the detergent is removed.
If your comforter looks discolored when you take it out of the washer, don't dismay; it should return to normal after the feathers dry. Put the comforter in the dryer along with some dryer balls, tennis balls or shoes (laces removed) to help fluff the comforter and break up clumps while it dries. Stick with a low-heat setting to be gentle on the feathers, and be prepared to run the dryer for several hours to get it completely dry.