Caring for duvets and comforters
Caring for duvets and comforters is important to take care of your investmentA comforter, which is usually placed on a bed to keep the user warm, is a type of full, plush blanket. Comforters can be filled with synthetic or natural materials that insulate a sleeping person. Usually rectangular in shape to fit twin, queen or king size mattresses, a comforter is often covered in a case or shell. A comforter is often used in the place of a quilt.
Caring for your duvets and comforters - especially those made from luxury and organic fabrics - takes a bit more effort than regular linens, but the investment pays off with a long-lived, beautiful accessory.
A comforter made constructed with synthetic materials can usually be washed and dried on a gentle cycle in a full size machine. Check the manufacturer's care instructions. If the comforter is covered in silk or other delicate materials, it should be professionally cleaned.
A duvet -- which is French for down -- is a comforter filled with down. A duvet is a cloth bag that contains feathers and down, usually from geese. The concept arose in rural Europe many years ago. Cloth bags were filled with the type of feathers that were available on a particular farm. Down comforters, or duvets, keep you very warm. Organic duvets are filled with natural materials that are raised and processed without chemicals. A duvet cover is the cover that slips over a duvet or down comforter. It is comparable to a pillow case.
Of course, contemporary duvets or down comforters are more elegant and practical than their rough, cloth bag predecessors. Contemporary duvets are filled with sanitized white goose down and art baffled box construction, which creates a comforter that will remain warm and fluffy for a long time.
If your duvet or down comforter is protected by a duvet cover, the actual duvet will only require cleaning every three to five years. You should regularly launder your duvet cover, unless it is made of a delicate material, in which case it should be professionally cleaned.
When it is time to get your duvet cleaned, take it to a professional dry cleaner. Down does wash well but because the comforter is so large it will not fit well into your washing machine at home.
The dangers of washing your duvet at home include harsh heat and detergents causing the contents to become brittle and dry. This will lead to the down clusters breaking down and apart. Household washing machines have an agitator that is in the center of the tub. This places stress on the comforter, which is another reason why it is preferable to have your duvet professionally cleaned.
Most of the fabric found in natural bedding is cotton and will shrink slightly when dried, so keep this in mind if you are going to attempt a do-it-yourself cleaning job.
If you are determined to clean the duvet, pretreat any stains with stain remover before you put the comforter into the washing machine. When you put your duvet into the washer, its weight must be evenly distributed. If it is not, the washer cannot spin correctly. If the contents of the washing machine are off balance this can break your washing machine as well as prevent the duvet from being cleaned thoroughly and completely. Using a large, front-loading machine at a laundromat may be the best option for cleaning a duvet.
Use a low heat drying cycle. The duvet must be dried for 8 to 12 hours in a machine. Do not line dry your comforter. If you do not get the duvet totally dry, this will cause disintegration of the comforter and the fill may become mildewed as well.
When making your bed with bedding and sheets, fluff up your duvet, which will allow a steady flow of air to flow through the duvet, keeping it feathery.
During the summer months, put your duvet in a breathable bag. Do not store your duvet in a plastic bag or container because moisture can be trapped, resulting in mildew, which will destroy your duvet.
When you retrieve your comforter in the fall, place it on a flat surface and simply push on the contents, redistributing them so that they are evenly filling out the duvet.
The advantage of using a duvet cover, aside from the fact that it protects your comforter, is that you can change it now and then, using a different color or design, without buying an entirely new comforter.