Down comforters are joys to have in bed, but can be a pain when cleaning time comes. A down comforter is very difficult to clean because of its large size, the delicate materials inside, and its weight. When the down comforter starts reeking of age, however, here's how you can safely wash your down comforter.
Timing. Make sure that you clean your down comforter only when necessary. Usually, the comforter will only need to be cleaned every year or more. Some down comforters are designed to be cleaned only every five years, as long as the comforter has been used carefully. Ask the manufacturer for information. If you are planning on buying a new comforter ask the sales person how often the comforter needs to be washed.
Care instruction. Next, read the cleaning instructions that are attached on the down comforter. Most down comforters are designed to be dry cleaned, in order to preserve the fluffiness of the down filling in the comforter. Some, however, have other fillers that will allow you to wash the down comforter in a washing machine using regular soap and water. Still, you need to read the labels carefully so that you get an idea of how warm the water should be, how gentle the cycle should be, et cetera.
Airing. Just because the down comforter needs freshening up does not mean that you should run off to the nearest dry cleaners or Laundromat. Sometimes, a down comforter only needs to be aired out. Place the down comforter outside where there is plenty of sun and wind. Sometimes, this will be enough to remove whatever scent is accumulating in the comforter.
Dry cleaning. The easiest and best way to clean down comforters is by sending them to the dry cleaners. The dry cleaners specialize in cleaning very delicate fabrics, such as curtains and down comforters. Unless you have very strict financial constraints, consider this as your primary option. Remember, though dry cleaning can be quite expensive especially for items as large and heavy as down comforters, you will only need to get the down comforter cleaned once a year or so. In the end, the thorough cleaning that the dry cleaners can give will be well worth it.
Laundry cleaning. If not possible, you can also clean the down comforter using a laundry machine in the Laundromat. Make sure that you choose the largest washing machine. Fill it with water and add the soap before adding the down comforter. This will ensure that the soap is evenly distributed in the water and that the down comforter will get cleaned thoroughly. Put the washing machine in the gentlest setting and use warm water.
Drying. The down comforter should be dried on low heat settings to give an even drying effect on the sensitive fabrics. Afterwards, place the down comforter under the sun for a few hours to air it out and make it thoroughly dry.
With these steps, you should be able to clean the down comforter thoroughly - without damaging the sensitive filling and fabrics in the comforter.