Winter comforters often need more specialized care than lighter weight summer sheets and bedding. Most household washers and dryers aren't adequately sized to accommodate something as large as a winter weight comforter or quilt. If you do decide to wash your heavy bedding at home, you should use a front- or top-load washer (without a center agitator) to accommodate the bulk of the fabric.
For better results with less strain on your home appliances, pack up your winter linens and head to a laundromat. Thick comforters don't usually require frequent washings—cleaning once a year before storing for the off-season should suffice.
|How to Wash Heavy Winter Comforters|
|Water Temperature||Cold or warm|
|Drying Cycle Type||Low heat|
|Special Treatments||Wash large comforters alone|
|Iron Settings||Usually not needed|
Check the care labels on your bedding for cleaning instructions. If the comforter is washable and too large for your washer, a coin laundry is much less expensive than taking the items to a dry cleaner. While commercial-grade washers and dryers can handle up to 75 pounds of laundry, wash your comforter alone to reduce twisting and excessive lint.
Working Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 3 hours
Skill Level: Beginner
What You'll Need
- Heavy-duty liquid detergent
- Solvent-based stain remover
- Large capacity washer or Commercial-grade washer and dryer
- Large table (optional)
Spread out the comforter on your bed or folding the 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 adding the comforter to 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 fibers.
Shake and Dry
Do your best to give the comforter a good shake before placing in the dryer to help remove wrinkles. The comforter should be tumbled on low heat. Remove once it is completely dry.
If you fold or roll the bedding after removing it from the dryer, there should be no ironing required.
Use a Washable Cover for Easier Care
Using a duvet or comforter cover will make laundry day much more simple. The cover for a down comforter or pillows can be removed and washed weekly or as needed.
Storing Heavy Comforters and Blankets
You can 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 another climate-controlled area of your house. Avoid storing your bedding in the basement or attic as temperature and humidity can fluctuate in these areas. Wash the bedding before packing it away 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.
If your comforter or blanket has a small rip or hole, it can usually be repaired by hand-stitching with a complimentary thread. Sometimes patching is necessary if the tear is significant. If you don't know how to hand-sew or patch, a professional tailor can assist you with any mending. If you'd like to continue using your repaired piece but don't like the way it looks, purchases a duvet cover to mask the patching.
Down and Woolen Bedding
Most down comforters and feather pillows can be washed at home or a laundromat. Be sure to read the care instructions and always use a mild detergent. Dry on low and include some wool dryer balls to help fluff the down and keep it from clumping.
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. Select cold water, a gentle cycle, and air-dry (no heat) in a tumble dryer. Add a few towels (in a similar color) to the dryer to help absorb moisture and cut down on the drying time.
Tips for Washing Winter Bedding
- Electric blankets can be cleaned but require special care to prevent damage to the heating element.
- Flannel sheets should be washed and dried separately to prevent them from depositing lint on other items. Dry on lower temperature settings and never over-dry which can cause wrinkles to set and colors to fade.
- Liquid fabric softener can cause spotting on comforters and blankets. You can skip using softener if you add one cup of distilled white vinegar to the final rinse cycle or try a fabric-softening and static reduction sheet in the dryer instead.
- Airing white comforters outside on sunny days will help brighten their appearance and help remove odors. Colorful bedding can also benefit from fresh air, but keep it in the shade to avoid fading.