How to Take Care of a Comforter

These days we all want to get the most out of our money. One of the best ways preserve your investment in your bedding is to take proper care of it. Follow these simple tips and be sure to read and follow the manufacturers' instructions to ensure that your comforter stays clean, fresh, and beautiful.

An Ounce of Prevention

Before you purchase a comforter, make sure it has been pre-shrunk. If the fabric was not properly stabilized by the manufacturer, it can shrink as much as three percent during cleaning.

Make sure that micro-fiber or down comforters are well-quilted. Stitches should be tight and run eight to ten inches apart both vertically and horizontally. Poor construction and loose stitches can cause the filling to shift during cleaning.

When your comforter arrives, remove it from the package and fluff it gently. Allow several hours for it to recover its full volume. Down comforters, sometimes having been so tightly packed in plastic causes the goose down odor to become strong; just air it out for a few hours to remove the odor.

Shake and fluff your down comforter every morning to keep it soft and pliable, and air it out occasionally to keep it fresh by hanging it outdoors.

Use a Cover

The less often you clean a comforter, the longer it will last. Using a duvet cover will protect the comforter from soil and body oils. Covers are easier to wash than comforters, less expensive to replace, and allow you to change styles more often.

Machine wash or dry clean your comforter cover regularly. If you use a cover, you should need to wash or dry clean your comforter only every three to five years.

Cleaning Your Comforter

Synthetic comforters can be washed and dried on gentle cycle in a large machine; silk and other delicate materials should be dry-cleaned. Cotton ones may shrink slightly when washed.

Dry Cleaning

If you decide to take it to a dry cleaner, steam cleaning is better than chemical dry cleaning; in down filled comforters chemicals can dry out the natural oils of the feathers and make them brittle.

Washing

Before cleaning, check your comforter for cuts, tears, or weak areas. They can get very heavy when they are wet, and what may start out as small holes or tears can quickly become big ones.

Wipe up any spills as soon as possible and treat stains with spot remover or pre-cleaner on a small area that is not readily visible.

Most home machines are too small and not gentle enough to handle large, bulky items. Therefore, to wash your comforter, take it to a laundry with a front-loading washer and no agitator. Use cool water and mild detergent or wool soap. Avoid using fabric softeners, as these can harm the finish.

You can also hand-wash it in your bathtub. Let it soak in cool water and dish soap, or baby shampoo for about 30 minutes, wring it out gently, and place it in a tub filled with clean, cool water to rinse.

Drying

Gently squeeze any excess water out after washing.

Do not line-dry without first machine drying it for several hours to make sure the filling does not become moldy or mildewed.

Dry your comforter on the lowest setting for 8 to 12 hours. Add a dryer ball or clean tennis ball to move the fill so it gets distributed evenly. Periodically remove it from the dryer, adjust it to expose the damp areas, and return it to the dryer.

The comforter's filling may have become bunched up, so reshape the comforter. Finally, hang it outside to air-dry for at least 24 hours. The exposure to sunlight will help get rid of dust mites and add a fresh, clean scent.

Storage

To prevent the growth of mold and mildew, pack your comforter loosely wrapped in a breathable cotton or other fabric bag and store it in a well-ventilated place. When you remove it from storage, lay it flat and push gently to redistribute the filling.

Coordinated Items

Don't forget to have all coordinating items in your comforter set, such as pillow shams, curtains or drapes, and dust ruffles, washed or dry cleaned at the same time so any fading or color loss will be the same.

If you follow these instructions carefully, your bedding should stay beautiful so you can enjoy it for years to come.