Hand touching white comforter inside dryer drum.

How to wash a comforter

Most people know they should wash their sheets frequently, but what about your comforter? These bulky blankets are essential during the cooler months, so it’s important to keep them as clean as possible. 

Nevertheless, this can be a challenge – a comforter’s filling can bunch up during a wash and dry cycle, leaving you with a less than lovely look. We can show you how to wash a comforter in a washing machine without it getting lumpy.

Bedding in washer drum during wash cycle.

How often should you wash a comforter?

A comforter protected by a duvet cover should be washed two or three times a year, while one without a protective layer should be washed every one to two months. Learning how to wash a comforter at the right times may help extend its life and keep irritants like dust mites and dirt at bay.

Comforters don’t need to be washed as often as sheets, but they should be kept clean. Check the tag or your comforter’s care guidelines for more information. Allergy sufferers may want to wash their comforter more frequently.

If you want or need to wash your comforter frequently, consider using a duvet cover, which can protect your comforter and be easier to clean than the comforter itself.

Should you wash a new comforter?

It may be tempting to tuck in underneath brand new bedding right out of the package, but it’s best to hold off until your comforter’s been thoroughly washed. Traces of chemicals may sometimes be left over from the manufacturing process, and comforters may collect other irritants during packaging and transit that can cause itchiness or discomfort.

Gray top-load WhirlpoolⓇ laundry pair with comforter in washer.

Dramatization. Washer does not have a front-facing window.

How to wash a comforter in a front or top load washing machine

Not all washers are equipped to handle the bulk of a large comforter, but a machine with enough capacity can effectively clean any comforter that’s safe to put in the washer. Round up the supplies from the list below before getting started.

What you’ll need to wash a comforter

Supplies

  • Gentle laundry detergent

  • Stain remover (optional)

  • Damp cloth or toothbrush (optional)

  • Large capacity or commercial washer and dryer 

  • Tennis or wool dryer balls (optional)

  • Dryer sheets (optional)

Time Estimate

  • Wash cycle: 45 minutes to one hour and twenty minutes

  • Dry cycle: 40 to 50 minutes

Person removing gray and white striped duvet cover from comforter

1. Remove the duvet cover

Bedding that comes in direct contact with your skin, like your duvet cover, requires more frequent washing than the comforter inside. Remove your duvet cover before washing your comforter and be sure to wash the cover before putting it back on freshly laundered bedding.

2. Read the care label

Comforters come in a range of styles and material types, so it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s care instructions. Comforter filling usually falls into one of a handful of categories: down, down alternative, wool, cotton or silk. Down comforters are filled with the down feathers of geese or ducks while down alternative comforters are commonly filled with polyester or rayon. Luckily, instructions on how to wash a down comforter and how to wash other types are often similar. If your duvet cover or comforter is made of polyester, review our how to wash polyester guide for more tips.

Most comforters require a large capacity or commercial washing machine with plenty of room for movement. Unless it’s recommended on the care tag, it’s best to steer clear of having your comforter dry cleaned. Always follow the care instructions for your bedding.

Hands holding comforter in water stream of washer drum.

3. Spot clean and repair if needed

Spot cleaning stains on your comforter can extend the time between washes and only takes about 25 minutes. Walk through the steps below to tackle tough stains before washing.

  • Step 1: Move the comforter’s filling away from the stain.
  • Step 2: Wet the stain and coat it with a mild detergent.
  • Step 3: Let the detergent sit for 20 minutes.
  • Step 4: Pat the stain with a damp cloth or gently rub it with a toothbrush until the stain is gone.
  • Step 5: Rinse the affected area and press with a towel to absorb any excess water. 
  • Step 6: Repeat the process two to three times if necessary.

Check your comforter for holes, tears or loose threads before washing. Make sure all of the stitching is secure before you place your comforter in the washing machine.

4. Load into a large capacity washer

Use a large capacity washer and dryer. Your comforter needs room to agitate and tumble – it can’t get clean otherwise. A large capacity washer is typically one with at least 5.0 cu. ft. capacity and a large capacity dryer features at least 7.0 cu. ft. capacity. 

If your laundry set isn’t large enough to accommodate your comforter, use a commercial washer and dryer at your local laundromat. When it’s time to get started, place the comforter into your washer carefully. If your top load washer has an agitator, place it loosely around the wash tub and try to keep the load balanced. Learn more about large capacity washers, dryers and commercial laundry appliances from Whirlpool brand.

Person filling washing machine with Swash laundry detergent.

5. Choose cycle settings, temperature and detergents

The care tag on your comforter will be your go-to guide for determining which cycle setting, wash temperature and detergents to use, but you can also consider the general guidelines below.

  • Wash cycle setting: Wash your comforter using a bulky, bedding or delicate wash cycle, and use an extra rinse option. An extra rinse may help wash away additional dirt, pollen, detergent or dust mites. 

  • Water temperature: Most comforter care labels recommend washing in cold or warm water, as hot water may impact the comforter’s filling.   

  • Detergents: Use a mild, fragrance-free detergent with no additives. It may be best to skip fabric softener, but this depends on the material of your comforter, so be sure to follow your use and care guide closely.

Shop Swash Laundry Detergent

Person loading large comforter into dryer drum.

6. Dry your comforter

Always reference the care tag first when determining how to dry a comforter. A large capacity dryer will give you the quickest drying time. If your dryer is too small, or your comforter’s care tag instructs air drying, you can hang your comforter outside to dry or hang dry it inside in a well-ventilated area. 

Follow the steps below to dry your comforter in a large capacity dryer.

  • Step 1: Put your comforter in the dryer and spread it out as much as possible.

  • Step 2: Add two to three tennis balls, or wool dryer balls, to help fluff the comforter while drying. 

  • Step 3: Set the dryer to a low-heat or no-heat setting. 

  • Step 4: Remove the comforter every 20 to 30 minutes to redistribute and fluff filler material. The Damp Dry signal on new Whirlpool® dryers remind you to reposition bulky loads midway through the cycle to help combat balling and tangling.

No matter the method you choose, make sure your comforter is completely dry before use or storage to avoid mold and mildew production. Your comforter may not be able to dry completely in the dryer, so hanging it on a comforter rack for a day or two can help finish the process. Freshen up your comforter even more by adding dryer sheets

Hand touching white comforter inside dryer drum.

Can you wash a comforter by hand?

Washing your comforter at home may be simplest in a large capacity washer, but for those without one, and without access to a laundromat, a bathtub can be used. Hand washing your comforter means squeezing out water without the help of a spin cycle, which may be difficult. If hand washing is the best available option, follow the steps below to wash your comforter in the tub.

  • Step 1: Fill half of your tub with cold or warm water.

  • Step 2: Pour a cap of mild laundry detergent into the water and mix it in with your hand.

  • Step 3: Immerse your comforter and gently swirl it through the water.

  • Step 4: Let your comforter soak for 10 minutes.

  • Step 5: Gently press your comforter down to release soap from the fabric and filler.

  • Step 6: Drain the tub, then rinse your comforter with warm water to remove excess soap. 

  • Step 7: Gently squeeze your comforter, or press it down, to remove excess water. Don’t wring it out, since wringing can damage the filling. 

  • Step 8: Hang your comforter to dry.

Find washers and dryers that handle any load at Whirlpool

Whether you’re washing clothes, blankets, sheets or comforters, you need a washer and dryer that can keep up with your family’s needs. That’s why Whirlpool brand offers a wide range of laundry appliances with the features you need to make laundry day a better day. Explore Whirlpool® Washers and Dryers to find the right fit for your laundry room today.

Shop Whirlpool® Large Capacity Washers

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