How to Re-Fluff a Down Comforter

You can often help a deflated or clumpy comforter look new again, and it’s not too hard! Here’s how to restore the down’s loft and make your comforter or duvet look fluffy:

  • Shake it up: To evenly distribute the down fill inside its chambers, lift one end of the comforter and snap it sharply downward. Think of sending a wave down the comforter. You can do this when you take your comforter out of seasonal storage, and on a daily basis when you make the bed. Try it from both the end and from the side.
  • Check for clumps: Vigorously shake out your comforter as above, then hold it up to the light. Does the down bunch together in lumps, leaving light to shine through the shell everywhere else? Soap or fabric softener residue may be causing the down to clump. Clean your comforter according to its washing instructions. If your comforter is machine-washable, rinse it more than once. Be sparing with the soap, don’t use any fabric softener, and dry it thoroughly according to label instructions.
  • Air it out: On a sunny day with low humidity, hang your comforter outside. The fresh air and break from lying flat will do it good. Do this monthly, seasonally, or annually—it’s up to you.
  • Give it a tumble: If okayed by the care label, run your comforter on a heatless “air fluff” cycle. Use a dryer large enough to give your comforter room to tumble and move; you may need to use a commercial dryer at the laundromat. A large-enough dryer is well worth the trip, because the whole idea is to give the down room to move, expand, and loft. Include a few wool dryer balls to help gently break apart clumps, or use tennis balls. (Knot the tennis balls inside clean white socks to prevent color transfer).
Comforter coming out of dryer

To re-fluff a down alternative comforter, follow the same steps; the most useful may be tumbling it in a large dryer with dryer balls.

Why Is My Down Comforter Flat?

Down is made of light, airy tendrils that intertangle gently, trapping pockets of air. It’s resilient, but not indestructible—a comforter might go ‘flat’ or lumpy if the down:

  • Is crushed by heavy weight
  • Intertangles more and more without being encouraged to separate
  • Becomes filmed with laundry soap or fabric softener residue
  • Gradually breaks apart and loses its structure over time

To keep it looking lofty, care for your down comforter well. Use it thoughtfully, wash it properly, and store it correctly. The right care will also make your down comforter more responsive when you need to redistribute the fill to breathe new life into it.

How Long Does it Take a New Comforter to Fluff Up?

When you first remove it from its package, a brand-new comforter might look disappointingly flat. Shake it out and lay it on the bed. Over the course of a few hours, the down will regain much of its natural loft. After that, give it a good shake each day to redistribute the fill. Some customers report that their new comforters continue to gain loft for a week or even two.

If all these tips don’t have much effect, it may finally be time to look into replacing your comforter. Check out our comforter buying guide to set you on the right path.