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How to Clean a Comforter - A Detailed Guide
A comforter is that one permanent fixture on your bed that never fails to give you just the right amount of comfort you need – that perfect level of warmth on a cold evening, or that fluffy presence that slowly lulls you to sleep. However, its constant presence may result in you forgetting that as part of your bedding, the comforter also needs to be cleaned more than once a year! When was the last time you lifted your comforter with the intention of washing it?
A comforter may require more effort to clean compared to your pillowcases and bedsheets, but that does not mean you should just abandon it! Your comforter doesn’t come into constant and direct contact with your body the way your other bedding items do, so it will need to be washed less frequently compared to bedsheets and pillowcases that require washing once every week or two. However, if you have allergies or asthma, you may need to wash the comforter on a more frequent basis to prevent allergens from building up on your sleep environment. Washing the comforter anywhere from 2 to 4 times a year will be enough to revive its freshness and remove dust mites, dirt, and other items that may be buried in that cozy softness. With the limited frequency of washing, you need to ensure that you clean the comforter thoroughly every time you do so.
Things You Need to Do Before Cleaning the Comforter
Check the Manufacturer’s Instructions First
Before proceeding to the cleaning procedure, it is important to check the manufacturer’s instructions to be on the safe side. If the label says the comforter should only be dry cleaned, it is best to do so. Attempting to wash the comforter using your own washing machine may lead to permanent damage to your trusty bed companion. If the care label states that it’s okay to machine wash the comforter, you need to take note of the instructions included to make sure you can do the cleaning without putting the comforter in danger of being damaged.
Deal with Stains Before Washing
Stains need to be addressed before the comforter can be machine washed. This prevents the stain from spreading to other parts of the comforter and can prevent the stain color from affecting the entire structure. Prepare the comforter by removing the filling from the stained area. Mix baking soda and water to make a cleaning paste and use this mixture on the stained portion, leaving it for about half an hour to work on the stain. You can also use liquid detergent diluted in water. Just make sure to wipe off the stain removal solution before washing the comforter.
Check for Tears and Other Damage
It is important to check the entire comforter for tears and other signs of damage before throwing it in the washer. Torn areas may become bigger when the machine starts to tumble the comforter around during the washing cycle, which may also result in the filling coming out and making the damage much bigger. If you see any loose seams or torn parts, take the time to meticulously repair these areas by sewing them properly with the help of a needle and thread matching the color of the comforter.
Freshen a White Comforter
Does the whiteness of your comforter look a little off? You can work on bringing back the pristine whiteness of your comforter by treating it for a few minutes with bleach before the cleaning and washing starts. Use 2 gallons of cold water to dilute ½ cup of bleach and soak the comforter in this bleach solution for about 5 minutes. Afterward, you can proceed to clean the comforter in the washing machine.
Ways to Clean a Comforter
Use the Correct Washing Machine Size
If the care label of the comforter says that it can safely be washed in a washing machine, then you may have a much easier time with this cleaning chore. However, you need to make sure that the comforter can fit into your washing machine at home, with enough space to allow it to be cleaned thoroughly without getting too squashed. It is a good idea to wash the comforter on its own even if there is still a bit of space for other clothing items. If the comforter seems tight-fitting inside your washer, it is best to go to a laundromat and use a much bigger commercial washer.
Use the Appropriate Washing Machine Cycle and the Right Detergent
Set the washer to the delicate or gentle cycle and follow the temperature setting (warm or cool) indicated in the manufacturer’s care label. As a general rule, hot water should be used if your goal is to kill dust mites and are not planning on using the dryer after the wash, while warm or cold water is used to keep the colors and the texture of the fabric protected from damage. Use a mild laundry detergent that will clean the comforter without damaging the material and follow the instructions on the container. If applicable, you can use an extra rinse cycle after the first one is complete to ensure that detergent, dust mites, and dirt are thoroughly removed.
Drying the Comforter
After the washing cycle is completed, transfer the comforter to the dryer. You also need to check that the dryer can accommodate the comforter; if it fits too tightly, you might be better off using a commercial dryer in a laundromat. Place the comforter inside to ensure even distribution, which can be further helped with the addition of tennis balls that can only be used in a low heat setting.
Use the Indicated Temperature Setting for Drying
Use the temperature setting stated in the care label for drying the comforter. When you use the low heat setting, you can expect the drying process to take a few hours. You can regularly fluff the comforter every 30 minutes or so to encourage even drying and keep the filling properly distributed.
Alternatively, Dry the Comforter Under the Sun
If the day is a warm and sunny one with no sign of rain, you can skip using the dryer and bring out the comforter to dry under the sun. The process will take a few hours to be completed as well but will allow you to take advantage of the drying powers of the sun for free. You will need to rotate the comforter and fluff it regularly to ensure that the filling remains evenly distributed and that all surfaces will evenly be dried.
Finish the Drying Outside the Dryer
After the drying cycle, hang the comforter outdoors under the sun for several hours. This helps ensure that the comforter is completely dry and prevents the growth of mold and mildew. Leaving the comforter out in the sun for a couple of hours will also help with killing dust mites. If it is not sunny and it is not a good idea to hang the comforter outdoors, you can let it dry completely in a well-ventilated area inside your home.
- Comforters need to be washed less frequently compared to bedsheets and pillowcases, around 2-4 times a year.
- People with allergies will need to wash their comforters more frequently to prevent allergens from accumulating and triggering allergy attacks.
- A comforter should be checked for tears and other signs of damage before being cleaned in the washer. This prevents the damage from getting bigger during the washing cycle.
- The correct size washer and dryer should be used to ensure proper cleaning and drying of the comforter. If your washer and dryer are too small, it is best to use the bigger, commercial-sized ones found in laundromats.
- It is important to follow the washing and drying instructions as well as temperature settings indicated in the care label to ensure that the comforter will not be damaged.
Q: How often should I wash my comforter?
A: Comforters should be washed 2 to 4 times a year. If you want, you can use the changing seasons as a reminder to wash the comforter regularly, four times a year.
Q: Is it safe to use the dryer for my comforter?
A: It is best to check the comforter’s care label first to ensure that it can be put in a dryer safely. Before putting the comforter inside the dryer, give it a shake to distribute the filing that may have been displaced when it was tumbling inside the washing machine.
Q: What type of detergent should I use with the comforter?
A: In general, a mild laundry detergent is safe for use with a comforter. However, it would be best to follow any instructions on the care label, if applicable.
Q: Why do I need to regularly fluff the comforter during the drying process?
A: Fluffing the comforter while it is drying is needed to redistribute the filling.
Comforters are essential parts of our bed setup and need as much care as the rest of your bedding. They need less frequent washings, but every procedure should be managed with great care to ensure a comforter is properly washed and dried. Following the indicated cleaning instructions will help prolong the quality and aesthetics of comforters so they can be enjoyed to the fullest for a long time.
European Medical Journal – https://www.emjreviews.com/respiratory/article/asthma-diagnosis-and-treatment/
Harvard School of Public Health – https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/multimedia-article/health-safety-dry-cleaning-industry-podcast/
Research Gate – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236233777_Bleaching_-_From_Antiquity_to_Chlorine
Boise State University – https://scholarworks.boisestate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1175&context=mcnair_journal
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology – https://www.jacionline.org/article/0091-6749(92)90132-L/fulltext
Pennsylvania State University – https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa15/2015/10/21/hanging-your-clothes-under-sun-or-using-laundry-dryer/
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