What Size Washer Do You Need for a King-Size Comforter?

washing a down comforter

The Spruce / Michele Lee

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hrs - 2 days
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5-20

What size washer do you need to wash a king-sized comforter? A big one and, preferably, one without a center agitator. More specifically to successfully wash a king-sized comforter, you need a washer that has a drum capacity of 5.0 cubic feet or larger.

The washer should be a front-loading washer or a top-loading washer without or with a removable center agitator. Smaller washers just don't have the room for the comforter to move freely enough in the wash water to get it clean. Unless you plan to air-dry the comforter on a clothesline or indoor drying rack, you'll also need a large-capacity dryer of at least 7.0 cubic feet.

Since comforters don't usually require weekly washing, consider visiting a laundromat when the comforter needs to be washed if you don't have a large-capacity washer. A seasonal visit is much less expensive than purchasing a new washer. However, if you have a large family, buying a larger washer may save money because you can do fewer, larger loads of your weekly laundry.

Now that you know what you need, here's how to wash a down-filled or down-alternative-filled king-sized comforter.

Detergent Down wash or Heavy-duty detergent
Water Temperature Cold or warm water
Cycle Type Gentle or Normal
Drying Cycle Low to Medium-high heat
Special Treatments Must use large capacity machines
Iron Settings N/A

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Large capacity washer without a center agitator
  • Large capacity dryer, outdoor clothesline, or indoor drying rack
  • Soft-bristled nylon brush
  • Wool dryer balls


  • Down wash
  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Enzyme-based stain remover
  • Distilled white vinegar


Materials and tools to clean a king-size conforter

The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

How to Wash a Down-Filled Comforter

  1. Remove Cover

    If your comforter has a removable cover, take it off and wash or dry-clean it separately. Consult the care tag for cleaning instructions.

    King-size down-filled comforter removed from bed

    The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

  2. Inspect and Treat Stains

    Open the comforter and spread it out on a bed or large table so you can easily see any stains. Place a tiny dab of down wash on each stained area and work it in with a soft-bristled brush. Turn the comforter over and repeat the process on the other side. Allow the down wash to begin breaking apart the stains for at least 15 minutes before adding the comforter to the washer.

    Stain on king-size comforter sprayed with down wash next to bristle brush

    The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

  3. Select the Washer Settings and Load the Comforter

    Set the washer to the gentle cycle and cold water setting. Add two teaspoons (no more than that!) of down wash to the washer drum or detergent drawer. Load only the down-filled comforter into the washer. It should be washed alone to prevent excessive wrinkling or lint transfer.


    Do not add any type of fabric softener to the washer. It can cause the feathers to lose their loft.

    Washing machine set to delicate cycle for king-size comforter

    The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

  4. Add a Second Rinse Cycle

    When the washer has stopped, add a second rinse cycle and final spin to help ensure that all of the detergent is removed from the down.

    Washing machine set to rinse cycle

    The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

  5. Dry the Comforter

    Remove the comforter from the washer and give it a good shake to help remove wrinkles. Place the comforter in an automatic dryer with several wool dryer balls to fluff the feathers. Dry on low heat and remove it from the dryer every 15 minutes to manually break up any clumps of feathers. Drying can take a couple of hours.

    If you do not have a large-capacity automatic dryer, hang the comforter from an outdoor clothesline or spread it over a drying rack. If using a drying rack inside, place it in a warm room and add a circulating fan to speed drying. Fluff the comforter often to break up clumps and turn it frequently for even drying.

    Wool dryer balls placed on wet king-size comforter inside drying machine

    The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

How to Wash a Down-Alternative Comforter

Comforters filled with a down-alternative are cleaned in the same way as down-filled comforters. Always pretreat stains with an enzyme-based stain remover or a few drops of heavy-duty laundry detergent.

  1. Dry the Comforter

    Remove the comforter from the washer and give it a good shake. Place it in an automatic dryer with two or three wool dryer balls and dry on medium-low heat.

    You can also hang the comforter from a clothesline or drape it over a drying rack to dry. If air-drying, shift and fluff the comforter every few hours to help redistribute the filling fibers.

Ironing a Comforter

A comforter should not need ironing. If it has a removable cover that is heavily wrinkled, toss the cover in an automatic dryer with a couple of damp towels to relax the fibers or use a clothes steamer.

Wrinkled king-size comforter placed in drying machine

The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

Storing a Comforter

It's best to thoroughly clean and dry a comforter before storing it for the off-season. Roll or fold the comforter with soft folds to prevent creasing. Wrap in a white cotton sheet to prevent dust from settling while allowing the fabric to breathe.

King-size comforter folded on wooden floor next to patterned rug

The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

Repairs on a Comforter

If feathers or filling is slipping out of a ripped seam, use a needle and thread to carefully close the seam. Holes can be patched by sewing them closed or with an iron-on patch (which works best on a comforter with a removable cover to hide the patch).

Sewing needled and thread repairing ripped seam on king-size comforter

The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

Treating Stains on a Comforter

Use a few drops of the downwash or an enzyme-based stain remover to pretreat stains before washing the comforter. Take your time and allow at least 15 minutes for the stain remover to work before tossing the comforter in the washer.

Bristle brush rubbing stain on king-size comforter with enzyme-based stain remover

The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

Tips for Washing a Comforter

  • If you don't have a large-capacity washer or a laundromat close by, a comforter can be washed in the bathtub. It will be heavy and will take up to two days to dry because wringing out the water is nearly impossible by hand.
  • Freshen the comforter between washings by hanging it on an outside clothesline on a breezy, sunny day to air or use a fabric refresher spray.
  • Blot away spills immediately to prevent them from seeping into the comforter filling.
  • Place the comforter in a dryer on air-only between washings to remove dust and crumbs.