How to Clean a Duvet Cover - A Detailed Guide

A clean bed is one of the most inviting places to sleep on. Keeping the bedding clean can also prevent allergens from disturbing your peaceful sleep. It may seem like a huge chore to wash bedding regularly, but it is a necessary task that needs to be done for you to enjoy the feeling of a fresh and clean sleeping area. When you plan to wash bedding, your attention may be focused only on the sheets and the pillowcases – but please include the duvet cover, too!

How to Clean a Duvet Cover

A duvet cover takes on the role of protecting the duvet from being exposed to dirt, allergens, and other things that can quickly deteriorate its quality and appearance. The duvet cover keeps the entire duvet inside with enclosures such as snaps, zippers, or buttons to ensure the duvet won’t slip out even with continuous movements while you are in bed. It can also be used to provide a lovely accent to your bed. Changing the duvet cover to another pattern or color is an inexpensive way to spice up a sleeping area’s appearance.

The cover needs to be cleaned regularly to remove dirt, dead skin cells, sweat, allergens, and other substances that may have built up on its surface. You can include it in your weekly schedule of washing the sheets and pillowcases, but you could also go as long as 4 weeks between washings. Following the proper steps will help you go about cleaning the cover efficiently while ensuring it’s cleaned thoroughly as well as kept safe throughout the entire process.

How to Clean a Duvet Cover

How to Prepare the Duvet Cover for Cleaning

Spot Treatment of Stains

Before putting the duvet cover inside the washer, you should take some time to go over all surfaces to check for stains. It’s important to remove the stains before washing to prevent the stained area from spreading and affecting other parts of the cover.

Place the cover on a flat area so you can work on the stain removal. You can use a paste of baking soda and water to treat the stain, making sure to leave the paste on the spot for about half an hour so it can completely remove the stain. A solution made with equal parts vinegar and water can also be used for spot treatment. If you are worried about colorfastness, you can use a mild detergent or stain remover.

Fasten the Enclosures

Make sure the buttons, snaps, or zippers are all fastened securely before placing the duvet cover in the washer. This is an important step to keep these parts from snagging on the other items you may include in the washing cycle. Even if you only have the cover inside the washer, it is still best to keep everything fastened securely to avoid these components from getting tangled with parts of the duvet cover itself or possibly even the machine.

Check for Damaged Parts

Check the duvet cover for any torn or damaged portions before throwing it in the washer. Even the smallest tear in the fabric can become a bigger problem if it gets snagged while the cover tumbles during the washing cycle. Solve the problem by sewing up the torn area.

Read the Care Label

Take the time to read the care label of the duvet cover to ensure you won’t do anything to harm the product during the cleaning process. While most of the plain duvet covers can easily be washed in the washer, there are decorative ones that may need to be hand-washed because of their more delicate structure. In some cases, colored duvet covers may need specially formulated laundry detergent to prevent the color from fading or bleeding. Other duvet covers may need to be dry cleaned only – in this case, avoid washing the cover on your own to prevent serious damage. Following the manufacturer’s care instructions will ensure the cover’s quality is preserved in the cleaning process.

How to Clean a Duvet Cover

How to Clean a Duvet Cover

Use the Appropriate Washer Size

A duvet cover occupies a smaller area compared to the duvet insert itself. However, the cover will still be bigger than your average clothing pieces, so you need to check if the bedding will fit into your washer. Make sure the duvet cover can fit inside without being too cramped because it will need more space to be able to spin and tumble around for efficient cleaning. Depending on the size of your washer, you can even include other clothing pieces to be washed – but keep in mind that there is always the risk that the other fabrics will get entangled with the duvet cover. If the cover does not fit in properly in the washer, it is better to have it cleaned in a laundromat with a commercial-sized washer.

Use the Right Setting and Cleaning Agent

Duvet covers can be washed using the normal spin cycle setting unless otherwise specified on the care label. The gentle cycle with cold water may be the best one to use for more delicate cover structures or fabrics. Use a mild detergent that is safe for use for all fabric types to ensure that the duvet cover will be cleaned without its material being harmed in the process. You have the option of adding fabric softener to the final rinse if you want your duvet cover to have that inviting softness, but you’d better check the manufacturer’s instructions first to determine the suitability of this extra step.

Handwashing Delicate Duvet Covers

In case you’re worried about damaging a delicate duvet cover in the washer, you can wash it by hand instead. You will need a large basin or bucket that can hold the whole duvet cover along with the water and detergent needed for washing. You can also do the handwashing task in the bathtub to make sure it will fit in without a problem – just make sure that the tub is completely clean to avoid any unwelcome items from being absorbed by the cover fabric. Fill the tub with warm water and mix in a teaspoon of mild detergent. Place the duvet cover in the water and swirl the fabric around. You can also knead the cover gently to encourage the soapy water to go through the fibers for more thorough cleaning. Avoid roughly scrubbing or twisting the material to prevent damage. Rinse the cover until the water runs clear without soap suds.

Drying the Duvet Cover

You can use the dryer for the duvet cover after taking it out of the washer. Use the low heat setting to keep the fabric safe from being damaged. You can also hang the duvet cover to dry if you want to prevent potential shrinkage that may occur in the dryer, or if your cover is made with a delicate fabric. Letting the cover dry out completely on a clothesline will also help prevent wrinkles, so you will only need to do a little bit of ironing (if applicable) before being able to use the duvet cover on your bed.

Key Takeaways

  • Duvet covers need to be washed more frequently compared to duvet inserts. They can be washed weekly together with the sheets and pillowcases, or you can wait for as long as four weeks.
  • The duvet cover needs to be cleaned regularly to remove dead skin cells, dirt, sweat, and allergens that may have built up on the surface with daily use.
  • The washer should be big enough to accommodate the cover and still have enough room for the fabric to tumble and spin for efficient cleaning.
  • Duvet covers made with delicate fabrics may need to be hand-washed to preserve their quality and appearance, keeping them safe from damage that may occur with machine washing.
  • The duvet cover can be dried in the dryer but can also be hung out to dry to prevent shrinkage and excessive wrinkling.


Q: How often should you clean a duvet cover?

A: Duvet covers can be washed every week along with the pillowcases and bedsheets. This would be especially beneficial for those who have allergies or asthma as frequent washing can prevent allergens from accumulating on the surface. However, they can also be washed on a monthly basis, depending on the sleeper’s preference.

Q: Can I put other items in the washer with the duvet cover?

A: You can put other items in as long as there is still some space inside the washer. You should keep in mind, though, that the other items may get entangled with the cover during the washing cycle.

Q: Which duvet covers need to be hand-washed?

A: Duvet covers that need to be hand-washed include those that are made with (or are attached with) delicate fabrics such as lace or silk. The ones made with stronger and sturdier fabrics can safely be machine washed.

Q: Do I need to put the duvet cover in the dryer after washing?

A: You can use the dryer, but you can also hang the cover out to dry to prevent shrinking and extreme creasing.


Duvet covers need to be cleaned regularly to prolong their quality and to ensure that you can continue to enjoy a clean sleeping area. They are much easier to wash compared to the bulkier duvet inserts, but great care should still be exercised to ensure that the covers will not be damaged during the cleaning process. Cleaning duvet covers regularly will help get rid of allergens that can trigger irritations and allergy symptoms, which can get in the way of your peaceful slumber night after night.


US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health –

Cleveland Clinic –

Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute –

Research Gate –

American Cleaning Institute –

Sage Journals –

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