When Kirk and I got married, he brought with him two favorite down comforters. I’d always chosen cotton and polyester blend bedding; because I let the dogs on the bed, I need to wash the bedding a lot! So I cringed as I saw this lovely pale pink comforter get dirtier and dirtier as Maggie slept on it every night. I know, we could just not let the dogs in the bed, and it’s really only Maggie who gets up there. But she’s such a cute snuggler, I just can’t resist! And Kirk doesn’t tell her no either! She usually sleeps by my pillow every night.
So, I went to the Web for advice on cleaning feather down comforters. It turns out, you can safely wash them in a front-loader washing machine; and I’ve done it several times now. The great thing about front-loaders is that they spin the load at such high speeds, they drive most of the water out of the load with centrifugal force before it goes into the dryer. So, clothes- and down comforters- are almost dry when they come out of the wash! One of the many reasons I love my front-loader so!
I’ve read several recommendations to dry the comforter with some tennis balls, or tennis shoes, in the dryer- to help fluff the feathers via some pounding action. I did this the first time (we have lots of tennis balls for the dogs), and it worked, but have since found that it’s not necessary, at least in my dryer. The only caveat is that the comforter does have a weird smell when wet-exactly like a wet chicken, because it is! But, the smell goes away once dry. It takes a little longer than a regular clothes load to dry the comforter, and I remove it and rearrange it several times during the cycle to make sure all sides get equally dry. But, it’s the same as washing any other large comforter.
I guess this makes sense, after all, chickens dry fine after getting wet, so a feather down comforter should too, given the right conditions. So, hooray, we can keep the down comforters!