How to Wash and Care for a Heavy Comforter
Winter comforters and heavy blankets often need more specialized care than lighter-weight summer sheets and bedding. Luckily, you only need to clean them annually. Before washing, make sure your washer and dryer can handle the bulky items, and don't forget when they are wet, they are very heavy. Most household washers and dryers aren't adequately sized to accommodate something as large as a heavy comforter or quilt. If you do decide to wash this kind of bedding at home, use a front or top-load washer (without a center agitator) to accommodate the bulk of the fabric. Wash items in any temperature but on a delicate or gentle cycle; it's a misconception that bulky items can take a beating in the washer and dryer.
Using a duvet cover or comforter cover will simplify laundry day, but if they are made from linen or cotton, you run the risk of slight shrinkage. The cover for a down comforter or pillows can be removed and washed weekly or as needed.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Large capacity washer or commercial-grade washer and dryer
- Large table (optional)
- Heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent
- Solvent-based stain remover
|How to Wash a Heavy Comforter|
|Water Temperature||Cold or Warm|
|Cycle Type||Delicate or Gentle|
|Drying Cycle Type||Low heat or air-dry|
|Special Treatments||Wash alone|
|Iron Settings||Usually not needed|
|How Often to Wash||Once a year|
Spread out the comforter on your bed or table, and check it for stains. Use a solvent-based stain remover like Zout or Shout to treat the stains. If you don't have a solvent-based stain remover, you can try using a heavy-duty liquid detergent like Tide or Persil, which contains enough enzymes to break apart stain molecules so they can be flushed away.
Apply the stain remover, and work it in with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush. Allow it to remain on the stain for at least 15 minutes before putting the comforter in the washer.
Select the Water Temperature and Washer Cycle
Use either cold or warm water, set the washer for the largest load capacity, and select the delicate or gentle cycle. Use slightly less than the suggested detergent amount—too much soap is difficult to remove and can leave excess suds in the comforter's fibers.
Liquid fabric softener can cause spotting on comforters and blankets. You can skip using softener if you add 1/2 a cup distilled white vinegar to the final rinse cycle, or try a fabric-softening and static reduction sheet in the dryer instead.
Shake and Dry
- Do your best to give the comforter a good shake to help remove wrinkles and ensure even drying before placing it in the dryer.
- The comforter should be tumbled on low heat. Remove once it's completely dry.
- Carefully inspect the comforter once it is out of the dryer for any cool or damp spots, as the goal should be to get the comforter bone-dry to avoid any mold growth.
Airing white comforters outside on sunny days will help brighten their appearance and remove odors. Colorful bedding can also benefit from fresh air, but keep it in the shade to avoid fading.
If you fold or roll the bedding after removing it from the dryer, there should be no ironing required.
Treating Stains on Heavy Comforters and Blankets
If you notice that you missed a stain—or a stain didn't come out after washing your comforter—try a spot-cleaning method. Remove blood, other bodily fluids, or food stains with a small amount of a paste made from baking soda and water. Rub the paste only on the spot, and use a damp, clean white cloth to blot up the baking soda. Use a dry cloth to blot up the moisture, and then use a blow dryer on the spot. If baking soda doesn't work, try the same method using equal amounts of white vinegar and water.
Heavy Comforter and Blanket Care and Repairs
If your comforter or blanket has a small rip or hole, it can usually be repaired by hand. Sometimes, patching by a professional tailor is necessary if the tear is significant. If you'd like to continue using your repaired piece but don't like the way it looks, purchase a duvet cover to mask the patching.
Storing Heavy Comforters and Blankets
Store heavy comforters and blankets in cotton or muslin bags or plastic storage containers. If possible, stow them underneath your bed, in a closet, or in another climate-controlled area of your home. Avoid storing your bedding in the basement or attic, where temperature and humidity can fluctuate. Before packing bedding away, wash it to remove any oils and dirt that may cause discoloration. Be sure it's completely dry before storing to prevent mold and mildew from forming.
How Often to Wash Heavy Comforters
Thick comforters don't usually require frequent washings—cleaning once a year before storing for the off-season should suffice. Check the care labels on your bedding for cleaning instructions. If the comforter is washable but too large for your washer, using a coin-operated laundromat once a year is much less expensive than taking the item to a dry cleaner. While commercial-grade machines can handle up to 75 pounds of laundry, wash and dry your comforter alone to reduce twisting, prevent excessive lint, and completely dry the material.
Tips for Washing a Heavy Comforter
Down: Most down comforters and feather pillows can be washed at home or at a laundromat. Be sure to read the care instructions and follow these tips:
- Always use a mild detergent.
- Dry on low temperature.
- Use wool dryer balls to help fluff the down and keep it from clumping.
Wool: As long as you refrain from using hot water in the washer or a high-heat cycle in the dryer, most wool blankets can be laundered. Use the following tips for best results:
- Select cold water.
- Use a gentle cycle.
- Air-dry (no heat) in a tumble dryer.
- Add a few towels (in a similar color to avoid color transfer) to the dryer to help absorb moisture and cut down on the drying time.
How often should you wash a heavy comforter?
Once a year is sufficient to wash a heavy comforter before putting it away unless it has been spilled on or used while someone has been ill.
Can I wash my heavy comforter in my washing machine at home?
If you have a large capacity washer, you should be able to wash a heavy comforter at home. Wash it on a gentle or delicate cycle. If not, then you should go to a neighborhood laundromat to wash it.
Where should you keep a heavy comforter when not in use?
Store your heavy comforter in a linen closet, a bedroom closet, or another area that is dry and has a controlled temperature on the cooler side. Fold the comforter into thirds, then roll it up and tie it with a ribbon or string for the most compact storage.