No doubt many of us are wrapped in down this winter. It’s so warm and comfy, whether it’s a jacket, pillow, sleeping bag or comforter.
But down items—filled with fine bird feathers typically from ducks or geese—are often overlooked in our laundry rituals, perhaps because they’re too large for the standard home washing machine. Some also believe they require dry cleaning.
So we use them for the season and put them away, forgetting that they, too, need to be cared for and cleaned.
Great news is cleaning your down items is easy and can be done at home, for the most part. But before you get to work, be sure to read the instructions on the tags. Most items don’t require professional cleaning, but if they do, you’ll want to know.
Consider the size. Smaller items can be cleaned at home but queen or king-size comforters require larger washing machines that are easily accessible at your local laundromat. Or have a professional launder (not dry clean) the item. In fact, dry cleaning chemicals are harsher and not recommended.
Check for stains. If you notice anything in between washes, spot clean with a gentle fabric cleaner and dab with a white cloth. To treat the tougher stains, we recommend using a natural, chemical free stain stick such as SoulShine Soap Co. pure coconut oil stick.
Set gentle and warm. Let the mild detergent dissolve in the water before adding your item. If your duvet is white, it’s OK to use non-chlorine bleach, however, for a chemical-free option vinegar is a great alternative.
Check placement. Be sure items are evenly positioned around the agitator to avoid tears.
Rinse and repeat. Before the spin cycle, rinse a second time to make sure all of the soap is removed.
Be patient. LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls are a must! They'll help the drying along and prevent the down from bunching up. Use air fluff setting and check often to ensure item is drying thoroughly. This could take several hours. If it is still damp, it’s not time to remove. Periodically remove item from the dryer and shake out any clumps.
Experts suggest washing down items with a cover every three to five years; every year or two for those without covers.
Slip comforters into duvet covers and pillows into protective covers to prevent stains. Allergen-barrier options will help keep out dust mites.
Look for flying feathers. This is a sign there may be a rip in your comforter. Close it up with needle and thread to avoid more tearing.
Fluff duvets every day or so to redistribute the feathers and avoid clumps. Avoid using fabric softener or scented dryer sheets - the chemicals used in these products coat the down reducing their fabulous fluff!
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