Written by Grove Collaborative

How to wash a down comforter - 4 easy steps

Last Updated: February 28, 2021

Comforter bunched and twisted? Unsure how to even wash a down comforter? With our simple guide, you’ll be back to a clean comforter and cozy bed in no time.

All of the down in your comforter suddenly down at your feet? We’ve been there. After you read our down comforter cleaning guide, you’ll be warm and cozy in all directions — no dry cleaners necessary!


Your bed is one of the most important places in your home. Considering how much time you (hopefully) spend sleeping — roughly one-third of your life — the bed is arguably the reason why home is, well, home. We all want our bed to be warm, soft, comfortable, and comforting. While laundering items like pillowcases, sheets, and duvet covers is easy, cleaning some of your bigger, bulkier bedding items is more challenging.


One of the most intimidating bedding items to clean is the down comforter. Made of feathers and plumules from ducks and geese, down comforters can seem unwieldy to clean. They’re big, heavy, delicate, white, clumpy, and temperature-sensitive — meaning many people simply drop their comforter off at the dry cleaners to avoid dealing with it altogether. But that’s no bueno, considering the harmful chemicals they’ll use — chemicals that’ll off-gas into your bedroom air and even directly into your face as you snuggle up and get cozy.


Since most down comforters can be washed conventionally, we’re here to walk you through the process. Follow this guide, and you’ll have a fresh, clean comforter without a big bill — and a face full of poison — to show for it.

Will washing a down comforter ruin it?

If done properly, no, washing a down comforter will not ruin it! Like all delicate textiles, there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid permanently damaging your down comforter. Using properly sized laundry machines, delicate cycles, mild temperatures, and mild detergents are all things to keep in mind, and details we will break down during the step by step instructions.

Can my washing machine handle my down comforter?

Probably not, but maybe. Here’s how to know:

Read the owner's manual and care tags

The first thing you’re going to want to do is check both the manual for your washing machine and the care tag for your down comforter. At-home and in-unit washing machines are usually too small, top-loading, or equipped with agitators — all things that prevent proper down comforter cleaning.

Many apartment buildings with laundry rooms use front-loading washing machines, but they will likely be too small for a comforter that is any larger than twin-sized. Unless your building has an additional extra-large washer and dryer unit, your best bet will be to find large ones elsewhere to wash and dry your comforter in.

Go to your local laundromat

Your local laundromat will have the gigantic, roomy washers and dryers that are perfect for your large down comforter. Most laundromats use extra large, front-loading washing and drying machines, ideal for a spacious, proper clean. If your down comforter is extra big (or crunchy,) you may need multiple wash and drying cycles, so be sure to bring plenty of quarters with you to operate the machines!

What do you need to wash a down comforter?

Washing a down comforter does not require anything beyond a mild detergent. Instead of special tools or soaps, the most important element is the washing machine itself — a roomy machine gives your comforter space so that the whole thing gets thoroughly washed, rinsed, and dried without twisting or bunching.

How to wash a down comforter: A step-by-step guide

Step 1: Select a warm-water wash

Intense temperatures on either end of the spectrum can harm a down comforter. If the wash water is too hot, the down can singe or burn. Too cold, and the down can clump and lose some of its soft touch. A warm cycle wash is the ideal middle ground for a down comforter.

Step 2: Select a gentle cycle

Like intense temperatures, intense spin cycles, agitation, and general tossing can lead to clumping, bunching, twisting, and tearing — all in all, an uneven clean for your down comforter. A long, gentle cycle avoids all those potential issues and leads to a nice, even clean.

Step 3: Use mild or down detergent

For most down comforters, a single load’s worth of any mild, gentle, or natural detergent will do the trick. Down detergent, or down wash, is most commonly used on down jackets and coats, specially made without harsh chemicals like bleach and sulfates, which can damage your down.

GROVE LAUNDRY TIP

Skip the softener!

Harsh laundry detergents are terrible for down, stripping it of its natural, protective, insulating coating. But you’ll also want to forego the fabric softener — and detergents that contain softeners — since they leave a harmful coating on your down material that reduces its fluff, increases clumping, and decreases warmth — turning your down into a downer.

Drying out your down comforter: How long will it take?

Drying your down comforter requires a lot one thing: patience. Depending on the size of your comforter, it can take anywhere from two to four hours to fully dry.

Can I air dry a down comforter?

Air drying is not recommended for a down comforter. If the down on the inside is not completely and thoroughly dried, it can quickly develop mildew and mold. Not only that, air drying a down comforter takes forever — often days of warm breezes and direct sunshine.

How to dry a down comforter: A step-by-step guide

Step 1: Use the right dryer

Stick to a large, front loading dryer. Similar to the wash cycle, stick to the delicate, low-temperature settings. Intense dryer temperatures, even more than intense water temperatures, can damage the down — taking the comfort out of the comforter — so patience is key.

Step 2: Add dryer balls

One highly recommended item for drying a down comforter is wool dryer balls — and lots of them. Wool dryer balls act as safe agitators, creating more space for warm air to travel throughout the comforter. Throw at least a half dozen wool dryer balls (or a few tennis balls, in a pinch) in the dryer for faster, more even drying.

Step 3: Pause to fluff, and air it out

Throughout the drying process — every hour or so — stop the dryer, take out the comforter, and give it a good shake. Fluffing it up will help keep the interior down evenly distributed so it dries evenly. Once it’s dry, hang the comforter from a clothesline, or drape it across some chairs, to air it out on all sides. Let it hang for an hour or so, then put it back on your bed, and enjoy!

How many times a year can you clean your down comforter?

Sans any major spills, you should clean your down comforter once every one to two years. If you have a removable duvet cover on your comforter that you can take off and wash, cleaning your down comforter once every two years is plenty.

Shop natural down comforter cleaners


Looking for more cleaning how-tos and other sustainable swaps you can make at home? Grove has you covered with our buying and cleaning guides. And let us know how if you have any cleaning questions (or share your own tips using #grovehome) by following Grove Collaborative on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

If you're ready to make the transition to natural cleaning products, shop Grove Collaborative's cleaning essentials for the cleaning tools to tackle the job.

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