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How to Wash a Duvet: A Foolproof Guide to a Safe & Effective Clean!

large queen size bed with white fluffy duvet, white pillows and a blue headboard

Most of us value our sleep time and try to get in a solid 7-8 hours of uninterrupted slumber. In order for a restful night (or daytime nap), we look to invest in good-quality mattresses, pillows, linen, and duvets. While linen is relatively easy to wash, it takes a little more effort to clean a duvet. This task requires more than just a standard ‘throw it in the machine’ kind of wash; in order to clean your duvet safely and effectively, a few specific measures must be taken. 

Before we get started, it’s important to know exactly what a duvet is; many individuals are not able to tell the difference between a duvet and a comforter while some believe that they are the same thing. Well, they’re not! A duvet consists of two components – the main bedding which is filled with wool, feathers, or down, and is slipped into a cover to protect it (much like a pillow and pillow case). A comforter is made up of synthetic fibers and acts like a heavy blanket.

Now, to learn how to clean your duvet, take a look at the following tips and methods to keep your duvet as fresh and comfy as ever!

What You’ll Need

checkered white and grey duvet fully loaded into a white front loader washing machine ready to be washed

To get started, keep the following tools ready:

  • 3 tennis balls
  • Gentle liquid laundry detergent
  • A pair of clean socks
  • Laundry line for drying (a clothes rack or any surface you can drape it over will suffice)
  • Front-loading washer and dryer (if you don’t have this particular machine, make use of one at your nearest laundromat, a top loader washing machine is impractical for this cleaning method)

Keep in mind that every duvet is different which means they have specific cleaning instructions and care which you will find on their labels or care tags. The cleaning process and tips we are going to discuss are intended for a general method to washing a duvet at home. 

Let’s begin!

Pre-Treatment of Stains and Rips

checkered white and grey duvet half way in a front loader washing machine

 

To start off, remove the duvet from its cover and check for any stains. If found, apply a general stain remover to the area, and pre-soak the duvet for 20 minutes; check the label to ensure that you are soaking the material in a safe water temperature. 

While observing the duvet, check for small tears or rips in the fabric as they will only get worse during the wash cycle. This will likely cause a rather big mess if the stuffing comes out, leaving you with a ruined duvet and the added task of cleaning your washing machine!

Placing the Duvet in the Washer

woman putting in checkered white and grey duvet into a front loader washing machine

Consider the size of your duvet and judge whether it will fit in your washer. The goal is to give the duvet as much space as needed to spread around the inside of the tub for a proper cleanse. If it appears to be filling the entire tub without much room to get tossed around, then it is advisable to take it to a Laundromat where you will have larger machines at your disposal.

The Purpose of Adding Tennis Balls to the Washer

Owing to the size and weight of duvets in general, a regular wash cycle does not provide enough agitation to thoroughly clean the material, inside and out. The tennis balls will solve this problem by loosening dirt, sweat, and body oils from the duvet thanks to the impact they make on the material while being tossed around inside the tub. 

When applying this laundry trick, be sure to place the tennis balls into separate, clean socks, and tie the ends up so that they don’t pop out. Add the tennis balls into the washer one at a time, positioning them in different places around the tub. 

Adding Laundry Detergent

You needn’t use a lot of laundry detergent as half the specified amount is generally sufficient (anything more is usually a sales tactic wherein you run out of the product quickly and need to re-stock). Do not pour the detergent directly onto the material itself but add it into the liquid dispenser instead. Another no-no is liquid softener or bleach whilst machine washing your duvet as it may fade the material.

Setting the Wash Cycle

Most duvet care labels carry instructions for the item to be washed with warm water, and on a gentle setting. Set the machine wash cycle to these specific requirements, and then turn it on. If the washer includes the facility for an extra rinse before spinning, go ahead and make use of that function.

Removing the Duvet from the Washer

When the cycle is done and it’s time to take the duvet out, remove it gently from the washer without pulling or tugging too hard if the material seems to be stuck somewhere. Instead, use your hand to loosen up tight folds/rolls in the material, and then gently pull it out little by little.

At this time, you should also check for any residual soap as duvets generally require an extra rinse to get rid of detergent absorbed by the stuffing. If needed, pop the duvet back into the washer, and run another rinse cycle with plain water.

Loading the Duvet Into the Dryer

checkered white and grey duvet fully loaded into a white front loader washing machine

Once you’ve finally rid the duvet of all soapy residue, it will need to go in the dryer. Try to load the duvet into the dry as evenly as possible by minimizing folds/twists/rolls. Set the dryer to the ‘air-drying or lowest setting, and turn it on.

Keep Watch on the Drying Process

Don’t allow your duvet to go through an entire drying cycle without checking to ensure that it is not getting lumpy. If you find that the filling is not distributed evenly, fluff it out by hand and resume the drying process. These breaks will also prevent the duvet from getting too heated which could damage the material. 

Being a large item, the drying time can be quite lengthy, however, it is critically important to dry your duvet properly as prolonged dampness will facilitate the growth of mildew, and leave an unpleasant odour as well. If the material is still damp, place it back in the dryer for a few more minutes, or spread it over a clothesline or rack to air-dry. Once completely dry, it will return to its light, soft state and you’ll see the fill distributed evenly.

How to Spot-Clean Your Duvet

checkered white and grey duvet folded on a bed with white sheets

If you are pressed for time and aren’t able to commit to a full wash and dry cycle, another way of cleaning your duvet is spot-cleaning. Even with a cover on, there will be times when eating in bed results in spilled food/beverages that require immediate attention. 

To quickly clean up the affected area, keep the following handy items ready – a gentle laundry stain remover, a spray water bottle, and a clean white cloth – then follow the tips below:

  • Lift the dirty fabric away from the filling
  • Remove solid foods or soak up moisture with paper towels
  • Spray water directly on the affected part to soak in
  • Carefully apply the stain remover over the area
  • With your clean cloth, dab the area to work the stain remover into the fabric, and let sit for approximately 20 minutes
  • For a stubborn stain, use a clean toothbrush to scrub the area in circular motions
  • Rinse the tool (cloth or toothbrush), and repeat until the stain has become lighter or disappeared
  • Wipe the area with a clean, damp white cloth to remove soap residue
  • Dry the duvet with a hairdryer (on medium heat), and fluff the filling out thereafter

Since duvets have a cover, it isn’t necessary to wash them too often (unless spills/stains occur). Nevertheless, to keep your duvets fluffy and sanitary, you should wash them every few months, or twice a year at the least. Just be sure to follow Maid For You’s DIY duvet-cleaning method and tips to ensure a damage-free and effective clean!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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