Dear Home Ec 101,
I received a duck down comforter as a gift last Christmas. The tag says to have it taken to the dry cleaners, but not only would it be a pain, it wouldn’t be easy on the wallet. Now, I love my comforter. But I’m so terrified to wash it on my own that it hasn’t been washed in a year and a half. I know. I am ashamed. And I need help. On top of that, the feathers continually pop out, so I’m afraid if I wash it, instead of returning to its fluffy state, it will flatten like a pancake. Is there any hope for my comforter and me?
Comfortless in California
You could wash your down comforter on the gentle cycle with an extra rinse and then pop it into the dryer with a couple of clean tennis balls on low. However, there is a trade-off, the lifespan of your comforter may be significantly reduced. As the cost of dry cleaning can vary by region (and local competition) the home care option may or may not be more cost effective.
A high quality, dry cleaned comforter can be expected to last five to ten years. Quite the spread, eh? Har, har. There are home dry cleaning kits, but they are best for spot and odor management and probably won’t get a heavy article like a down comforter as clean as you would like.
If you choose to wash your comforter, carefully inspect it for any small tears before putting it into the washer. A clogged drain line is not the frugal option if you end up having to call a repairman.
My personal experience? I have had a cheap comforter for five years, but it is well past its prime. It creates lovely fuzzy dusty bits that I must enjoy vacuuming or I would have gotten around to replacing it by now.
Finally, a good quality duvet cover will help keep your comforter from needing frequent cleaning.
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