Repair & Maintenance

How to clean comforters

By Jean Sanders
Info Guru,

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Keep all your comforters and quilts clean for a better night's sleep
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Having a clean comforter is key to getting a good night's sleep. Due to their large size, comforters often need special care to stay in good condition. Understanding how to manage your bedding will keep it fresh and clean for years. Read on to learn how to clean the comforters in your home. You might also want to clean your mattress and get rid of all of those stains.

Down Comforters

Down comforters can last for years if they are treated properly. In most cases, it is not necessary to wash a down comforter frequently. However, when you are ready to clean it, first check to see if it has a tag with instructions from the manufacturer. If it does, the guidelines will tell you how to properly care for the bedding.

If yours is a washable down comforter, be sure to get a cleaner designed for down. Ordinary detergents can leave residue in the down which can result in matting or even mildew. Wash your down comforter in a large enough washer to allow it to move freely in the water...never stuff your comforter into the washer or dryer as you may damage both the comforter and the machine.

After washing, follow the drying instructions for regular comforters below.

If the instructions on your down comforter suggest dry cleaning, take it to a professional cleaner. This only needs to be done once every few years. During the rest of the time, you may hang the comforter outside occasionally to keep it fresh. Shaking it out once a week will help keep the down even. If you need to store the bedding, try to avoid keeping it in a plastic bag. The plastic will reduce the ventilation that the comforter needs. Instead, place the bedding in a cotton bag so that it can breathe.

Fragile Comforters

If your bed covering is handmade or old and fragile, you will want to clean it very carefully. Washing the item by hand is usually the safest way to preserve the comforter and clean it. You can do this in a bathtub. Fill the tub with water and add a mild detergent. Place the comforter in the tub and let it soak for ten minutes. Then drain the tub and squeeze the excess water from the comforter. Rinse it out thoroughly. When hanging it to dry, drape the bedding over two or three clotheslines. Then rotate it occasionally so that it dries evenly.

Other washable comforters

One of the biggest mistakes people make in laundering washable comforters is in trying to stuff them into a too-small washer and a too-small dryer. Not only doesn't it come clean, but you can also damage your machine and the comforter. Edges can catch and rip during the spin cycle. Comforters stuffed into a tiny dryer can scorch (or in the case of synthetics, even melt) as they press up against hot interior surfaces.

If you have a washable comforter, take it to a laundromat and use one of the extra large washers and dryers designed for things like bedding. Use cold water and a gentle cleaner like Woolite® or if you know it's colorfast, you may look for one that removes oil. This will help take away the residue your body leaves on it. Spot treat any stains before you put it into the wash.

Once the comforter is washed, squeeze out the excess water, then check all the spots before you transfer it to the dryer. Add a few drops of lavender oil to the rinse cycle for a sweeter smell – the scent of lavender is reported to help you sleep better, too.

Dry it on a very low heat setting. Place two tennis balls or shoes in the dryer with the comforter. This will help fluff the filling and spread it evenly throughout the comforter.

Learning how to clean comforters and other bedding and linens in a way that won't damage them is essential to keeping your home clean and your beautiful bedding safe. Much of the process depends on the type of comforter that you have and how dirty it is. If you are not sure how to clean comforters in your home, ask a knowledgeable friend or consult a professional cleaner. They will be able to help you find the best way to maintain your bedding all year.

Once you know how to clean comforters, you can keep your bedding fresh. By checking the manufacturer's label and being careful, you can have clean comforters and a good night's sleep.

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