How to Care for a Down Comforter

Here’s some great news: you can wash a down comforter in the washing machine—if the care instructions on the label state that your comforter or duvet insert is machine-washable. When you provide proper care for your down comforter—including following recommendations for laundering, storage, and use—it can last many years. While nothing replaces the manufacturer’s recommendations, use these care instructions and tips to keep your comforter in top shape season after season. 

woman fluffing comforter

Fluff Your Comforter Before Use

Your comforter may look flat when you first receive it, right after washing, or after a season in storage. This is normal, so don’t fret. Simply fluff your comforter by hand or in the dryer to restore loft, air it out a bit, then top your bed for a fresh, cloudlike look. If fluffing doesn’t do the trick, consider how old the comforter is. If the down fill has broken down, it may be time for a replacement.

Know How to Store a Down Comforter Properly

Proper storage techniques help extend the life of your down comforter. Improper storage can contribute to mildew or mold growth, damage from critters, or build-up of dust mites and other allergens. Wash according to care instructions, ensure bedding is fully dry, and follow these three simple rules for storing a down comforter:

Keep It Away from Moisture: Store your down comforter in a dry closet with plenty of ventilation. Avoid storing bedding or pillows in a basement or bathroom linen closet as moisture may cause damage.

Avoid Plastic: Store your comforter in a breathable bag, such as cotton, so it gets adequate airflow. Skip plastic storage bags, which trap moisture and don’t provide sufficient airflow.

Don't Stack Items on Top of a Down Comforter: The weight will damage the down and make it break down faster, reducing your comforter’s lifespan.

Use a Protective Comforter Cover to Prevent Spills and Damage

Folded white duvet insert

Duvet covers are a decorative way to shield against dirt, pet hair, and other debris while protective comforter covers help block allergens and keep spills from seeping into your comforter. We recommend using a comforter cover to protect your down bedding, but it is especially important for people whose pets share the bed or who spend time reading or eating in bed. The cover will protect against damage, keeping it in better shape, longer.

Follow Instructions for Machine-Washable Down Comforters

While down comforters are usually machine washable, the less often you wash yours, the longer the down retains loft. Cleaning seasonally or twice per year is usually plenty.

If your down comforter is labeled “Dry Clean Only,” take it to a reputable dry cleaner—do not attempt to wash it yourself.

For machine-washable down comforters, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. Most of the time, use a front-loading washing machine for best results and follow these steps for washing a down comforter properly.

Washing Machine Instructions for Down Comforters

Use cold water and mild detergent on the machine’s gentle cycle. Never use bleach or fabric softener, which can damage down and reduce its performance.

Comforter coming out of dryer

When the wash cycle is complete, remove the comforter promptly and untangle it before putting it in the dryer.

Tumble dry your comforter on low. Don’t overstuff the dryer or your comforter may not dry fully. If there’s not enough space for the comforter to tumble freely, you may need to use a commercial dryer for best results.

Add tennis balls or wool dryer balls to the dryer to help distribute fill evenly and speed up the drying process.

Occasionally, remove your comforter from the dryer, shake it gently, and put it back into the dryer to ensure it is drying evenly.

When the cycle is complete, remove the comforter and check that it is completely dry. If there is any moisture left, you may end up with mold or mildew damage.

QUICK TIP: Never iron your comforter as the heat from the iron may damage the fill. If your comforter is wrinkled, mist it with water to dampen it slightly, dry it on low with tennis balls, and remove it from the dryer as soon as it’s dry.

Your down comforter is an investment that will last many years with proper care. Always refer to manufacturer instructions if available, or follow our comforter care directions to ensure your favorite bedding layer lasts year after year. For more bedding tips and tricks, browse our other Guides.