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How To Wash a Duvet: A Comprehensive Guide

Bedding Resources
Read Time: 7 minutes
FAST FACTS
  • Proper Maintenance for Optimal Comfort: Regularly washing and caring for your duvet is crucial for a fresh and comfortable night’s sleep. Neglecting duvet maintenance can lead to the accumulation of dust, allergens, and unpleasant odors.
  • Machine-Washing Tips: When machine-washing your duvet, use a front-loading, large-capacity machine to prevent damage. Employ a cold/cold wash cycle with a gentle detergent, and add wool dryer balls for efficient drying without clumping.
  • Hand-Washing Guidance: For those preferring hand-washing, soak the duvet in warm, soapy water, agitate gently, and rinse thoroughly. Drying tips include using wool dryer balls, checking the lint filter, and air-drying for the best results. Regular washing every two to three months and proper storage can extend your duvet’s lifespan.

A clean and fresh duvet is essential for a good night’s sleep. However, many people overlook the importance of regular duvet maintenance. In this ultimate guide, we will provide you with step-by-step instructions on adequately washing and caring for your duvet, whether it’s filled with down, feathers, or polyester. Following these tips, you can keep your duvet fresh, fluffy, and free from dust and allergens.

Considerations Before Getting Started

Before diving into the washing process, remember a few essential considerations. Initially, make sure to review the care instructions supplied by the manufacturer. These instructions will guide you on the best cleaning methods for your duvet, whether it requires dry cleaning, cold water washing, or a specific drying technique.

Also, inspect your duvet for rips, tears, or stains before laundering. Mend any holes before washing to avoid a dryer full of fluff. For stains, spot-clean with lukewarm water and a gentle stain remover, or scrub set-in stains with a clean toothbrush.

Machine-Washing a Duvet

Step One: Selecting the Right Washing Machine

It’s important to have a front-loading, large-capacity washing machine to machine-wash a duvet at home. Top-loading washing machines with rough agitation can damage the duvet’s filling and delicate seams. If your machines are unsuitable for washing bulky items, consider visiting a laundromat with industrial-sized machines.

Step Two: Gathering the Necessary Supplies

Before starting the washing process, gather all the necessary supplies. You will need a gentle laundry detergent suitable for sensitive skin, a powdered stain remover for extra cleaning power (optional), wool dryer balls or clean tennis balls, and a few clean colorfast towels. These items will help ensure a thorough and effective wash.

Step Three: Adding Detergent and Stain Remover

Add only one-third to half of the usual detergent when loading the duvet into the washing machine. This ensures that the laundry soap can be evenly distributed throughout the duvet. Adding an extra rinse and spin cycle is essential to eliminate soap residue, as duvet fillings can hold onto soap. Consider adding a powdered stain remover to the designated tray or directly into the drum for stubborn stains.

Step Four: Choosing the Appropriate Cycle

Select a cold/cold wash cycle for the safest and gentlest wash. This setting is suitable for most duvets and fabrics. However, if sanitization is required or you’ve been ill, opt for a warm/cold wash cycle. Adding an extra rinse and spin cycle will flush out all the excess detergent. If your duvet is particularly thick or king-size, take advantage of the washing machine’s “bulky” cycle, which uses extra water and a lower spin speed for thorough cleaning.

Step Five: Ensuring Thorough Rinsing

After the wash cycle, check if the duvet is still heavily soaked. If so, run an additional spin and rinse cycle with clean, dry towels to help absorb excess moisture. This step is crucial for efficient drying later on.

Step Six: Drying the Duvet

When drying your duvet, following the manufacturer’s instructions is essential. Select a low-heat or air-dry cycle in your dryer, or consider air-drying in a well-ventilated area. Add wool dryer balls or clean tennis balls to the dryer drum to speed up drying and ensure even filling distribution. These will agitate the duvet, preventing clumping and facilitating faster drying. Check the duvet’s progress every 30 minutes, untangling and spreading it out as needed. Depending on the size, thickness, and filling density, the duvet may take several cycles to dry completely.

Hand-Washing a Duvet

Step One: Preparing the Tub

If you prefer to hand-wash your duvet, prepare a large laundry tub or use your bathtub. Fill it with warm water and dissolve one-third to half of the usual mild powdered detergent. The warm water and gentle detergent will help effectively clean the duvet.

Step Two: Saturating the Fabric with Soapy Water

Place the duvet in the sudsy water and let it soak for a few minutes, gently pressing out any air bubbles. Wash the duvet by pressing the soapy water through the fabric, avoiding wringing. Agitate the filling in small sections to ensure thorough cleaning.

Step Three: Rinsing the Duvet

Once you’ve washed the pillow, cover the entire duvet, drain the sudsy water, and rinse it with clean, warm water. Continue rinsing until no soap residue remains on the fabric.

Drying a Duvet

Once the duvet is clean, it’s time to dry it properly. Follow these steps to ensure the duvet is dried thoroughly without causing any damage.

Step 1: Emptying the Lint Filter

Before drying any load of laundry, including the duvet, always empty the lint filter. This ensures effective drying and prevents lint buildup inside the dryer.

Step 2: Loading the Duvet

Place the duvet in the dryer, spreading it as loosely as possible. This allows for better airflow through the tumble dryer and prevents the duvet from becoming twisted or wadded up during drying.

Step 3: Adding Wool Dryer Balls

Add up to three wool dryer balls to the dryer drum to aid in the drying process and prevent clumping. These dryer balls allow for better air circulation and help the duvet to dry quickly.

Step 4: Selecting the Cycle and Temperature

Choose the appropriate cycle and temperature setting for drying the duvet. Some dryers have a specific “bedding” setting suitable for duvets. Opt for a “bulky” or “heavy” cycle if not available. Low heat is generally recommended to preserve the fabric when a duvet load is at temperature. However, since duvets take longer to dry, using medium heat with the addition of wool dryer balls can speed up the drying process.

Step 5: Monitoring the Drying Process

Press start on the dryer and let it run for about 30 minutes. After this time, check the duvet to assess its dryness. If necessary, untangle any twisted areas. Repeat this process, checking every 30 minutes until the duvet is completely dry. Remember that duvets can take longer to dry than regular laundry loads, sometimes up to three hours. To speed up the process, consider emptying the lint filter each time you check the duvet.

Air-Drying the Duvet

Once the duvet is 50% to 75% dry, you can remove it from the dryer and allow it to air-dry the rest. Spread it out or hang it in a well-ventilated area. Remember that the duvet may take several more hours to completely dry. Air-drying helps maintain the duvet’s integrity and prevent any potential damage caused by excessive heat.

Time and Frequency of Washing

Washing and drying a duvet, especially one with down or feather filling, can be time-consuming. It can take over four hours from start to finish due to the duvet’s size and density. Therefore, planning accordingly and avoiding starting the process right before bed is essential.

As for the frequency of washing duvets, polyester-filled duvets can be laundered more frequently than natural-filling duvets. Wash your duvet every two to three months to maintain quality and cleanliness. However, washing your duvet is crucial when seasons change or new allergens are present. At a minimum, you should wash your duvet annually to eliminate dust mites, even if it’s stored away.

Tips for Keeping Your Duvet Clean

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In addition to regular washing, there are a few tips and tricks to keep your duvet clean and fresh. When swapping out a thick duvet insert for warmer seasons, wash it and let it air-dry for 24 hours before storing it in a large, sealed bag.

Always use a duvet cover to protect your duvet, and wash it as frequently as your sheets. If the duvet covers or filling migrates to one side, throw it in the dryer with dryer balls or give it a few vigorous shakes to re-fluff.

How Often to Wash Duvets

Knowing how often to wash your duvet is crucial for maintaining cleanliness and hygiene. While duvets do not require frequent washing like sheets, cleaning them every two to three months is recommended. This frequency helps to eliminate dirt, pet dander, dust, grime, sweat, odors, and natural materials that can accumulate over time.

When to Replace a Duvet

Several signs indicate it may be time to replace your duvet. These include:

  1. Stains that cannot be removed: If your duvet has stubborn stains that do not wash out, it may be time for a replacement.
  2. Permanent bunching of fill: If the fill inside the duvet becomes permanently bunched up, it can affect the comfort and functionality of the duvet.
  3. Inability to fluff the duvet: If you find it challenging to fluff your duvet back to its original loft and shape, it may be a sign that it has reached the end of its lifespan.
  4. Lingering odor: If your duvet has a persistent odor that cannot be eliminated even after washing, it may be time to invest in a new one.
  5. Allergic reactions: If you wake up with a dry mouth, sore throat, or itchy eyes, it could indicate that your duvet is harboring allergens and needs to be replaced.

FAQs about How To Wash a Duvet

Can machine washing ruin a duvet?

Machine washing a duvet according to the recommended care instructions should not ruin it. However, it is essential to check the instructions for your duvet, as some may require dry or spot cleaning only.

Can a duvet be put in the dryer?

If the care instructions state that the duvet is dryer-friendly, it can be safely dried in a dryer. However, it is recommended to use low heat to preserve the fabric. If you need the duvet to dry quicker, medium or high heat can be used, but monitor the drying process closely.

How long does it take for a duvet to dry?

The drying time for a duvet can vary depending on factors such as the size of the dryer, the size of the duvet, the heat setting, and the use of dryer balls. A standard dryer can take up to three hours for a duvet to dry completely.

How can you fluff a duvet after washing it?

To fluff a duvet after washing, ensure that it is scorched. Please give it a few vigorous shakes while holding it by two corners. Alternatively, you can run it in the dryer without washing it first to fluff it up and remove any dust. Adding dryer balls can also help to achieve an even fluff.

Conclusion

Properly cleaning and caring for your duvet is essential for longevity and maintaining a healthy sleep environment. By following the detailed step-by-step instructions in this comprehensive guide, you can maintain the cleanliness, freshness, and comfort of your duvet. Don’t forget to consult the manufacturer’s care instructions for optimal results. With regular cleaning and maintenance, your duvet will continue to offer a cozy and restful night’s sleep.

Harrison Wall is Sleep Junkie’s business strategist and sleep analyst. He also authors posts on bedding and mattress accessories. Harrison regularly coordinates with new mattress companies and tests their products to determine what really helps you get better rest and have brighter mornings.

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