How to Wash a Comforter in 4 Simple Steps

Side angle view of person washing a comforter

The Spruce / Ana Cadena

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 - 20 mins
  • Total Time: 1 - 6 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5-10

Comforters are warm and cozy but are washed a bit differently than lighter-weight sheets and bedding. Fortunately, unless there has been a spill or pet accident, you don't need to wash them often. By following these four simple steps, you'll be able to wash your comforter with ease.

Detergent   Enzyme-based laundry detergent
 Water Temperature  Cold to Warm
 Cycle Type  Permanent Press
 Drying Cycle Type  Low heat or Air Dry
 Special Treatments  Pretreat Stains
How Often to Wash Seasonally

Before You Begin

Before you begin: make sure to check your comforter's care tag. By following the instructions on the care tag and our easy steps, you can safely wash a comforter at home using your regular laundry products. There are a few rules that will make sure everything runs smoothly:

  • Before washing, make sure your washer and dryer can handle the size of the comforter. Some household washers and dryers aren't adequately sized to accommodate something as large as a comforter or quilt.
  • The best type of washer to use is a front or top-load washer (without a center agitator) to accommodate the bulk of the fabric.
  • Don't forget to pretreat stains before washing to make sure they are removed successfully.
  • Don't attempt to wash a comforter that is labeled as dry-clean-only at home.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 Washing machine
  • 1 Soft-bristled nylon scrub brush
  • 1 Automatic dryer, clothesline, or drying rack
  • 2 to 3 Wool dryer balls


  • 1 container Enzyme-based laundry detergent
  • 1 container Oxygen-based bleach
  • 1 bottle Distilled white vinegar



Be sure to read the care tag attached to the comforter. Some fabrics require dry cleaning and should not be washed. When you take your comforter to a dry cleaner, be sure to point out and identify any stains to get the best final results.

Overhead view of materials needed to wash a comforter

The Spruce / Ana Cadena

How to Wash a Comforter

  1. Pretreat Stains and Repair Rips

    • Check the comforter for stains while it is still spread out on the bed.
    • Place a small amount of an enzyme-based laundry detergent on the stained areas and work it into the fabric with your fingers or a soft-bristled nylon brush.
    • Allow the detergent to work for at least 15 minutes before you put the comforter in the washer.
    • While you're waiting, check for any rips or tears that may become worse during the washing process and repair them.
    Pretreating any comforter stains before washing

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  2. Select the Washer Settings and Add Detergent

    • Set the washer's water temperature to cold or warm water.
    • Select the largest load capacity and the delicate or gentle cycle.
    • Use slightly less than your regular amount of detergent. Excess detergent can be difficult to remove from the comforter's inner fibers.
    • Do not add liquid fabric softener because it can cause spotting on bulky loads. To soften the fabric and aid in removing soapy residue, add 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar to the final rinse cycle.
    Selecting washer settings for a comforter

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  3. Wash the Comforter

    • The comforter can be washed with similar colors and fabrics to help balance the washer.
    • Do not overload the washer.
    Closeup of comforter loaded in the washer

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

  4. Dry the Comforter

    • Give the comforter a good shake when you remove it from the washer to help reduce wrinkles and promote more even drying.
    • Add 2 or 3 wool dryer balls to the dryer to help fluff the comforter filling.
    • Tumble the comforter on low heat. Check it frequently and don't over-dry.
    • Check the comforter for damp spots before placing it back on the bed or storing it.
    • The comforter can be dried on an outdoor clothesline or draped over a drying rack.
    Side angle of person loading a comforter into the dryer with wool dryer balls

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

Storing a Comforter

When not in use, store a comforter in a cotton bag (an old pillowcase works great) to protect it from dust. Store in a climate-controlled area of your home and avoid the basement or attic where temperature and humidity can fluctuate. Always make sure the comforter is completely clean and dry before storing it to prevent mold and mildew from forming.


If your comforter has a small rip or hole, it can usually be repaired by hand. If the tear is significant and you aren't good with a needle, contact a professional tailor. To hide a repair, purchase a duvet cover.

Treating Stains on a Comforter

Spot clean stains between washings. Remove blood, other bodily fluids, or food stains with a paste made from baking soda and water. Rub the paste on the spot, and use a damp, clean white cloth to blot it away. Use a dry cloth to blot up the moisture, and then dry quickly with a handheld blow dryer. If baking soda doesn't work, use a laundry stain remover applied with a damp cloth. Rinse by blotting the area with a cloth dampened with water.

Tips for Washing a Comforter

  • Pretreat stains and repair any rips before washing.
  • Use an enzyme-based detergent to effectively remove stains and soil.
  • Dry on low heat with wool dryer balls in the dryer to fluff the comforter and prevent wrinkles.