Can you tumble dry a duvet? Find out how to maintain its warmth

Planning to wash it but wondering can you tumble dry a duvet? Here’s all you need to know

The White Company Cavendish Duvet Cover on bed with black borders on duvet and pillows and grey wall panelling behind
(Image credit: The White Company)

To keep it hygienic, a duvet needs washing from time to time. But if you’re planning to do this at home or at the laundromat, you’ll be asking can you tumble dry a duvet afterwards? 

After all, tumble drying can ensure the duvet is completely dry, which will avoid the issues with mold and mildew that could occur if it remains damp. Drying it this way will also ensure its filling is lofty and evenly distributed so you’ll stay snug underneath the duvet when it’s back on the bed.

The good news is that you can tumble dry a duvet, but it is important to get savvy about the task before you try this when cleaning a bedroom. Here, we’ve put together all you need to know from the experts to keep it fluffy and cozy.

Tumble dry a duvet: a step-by-step guide

You might be asking can you tumble dry a duvet no matter what the filling? Unlike when wondering if you can wash pillows in a washing machine, the answer is yes. ‘Down and synthetic duvets can both be tumble dried,’ says Wayne Edelman, CEO of Meurice Garment Care

Follow this expert advice for success.

1. Tumble dry a duvet

laundry room with floral wallpaper, washer and dryer

(Image credit: House of Jade Interiors/Kate Osborne Photography)

Before putting the duvet into the tumble dryer, make sure it is free of soapy residue from the washing process. If you take a look and there are suds, put it back into the washing machine for an extra rinse.

Once it is rinsed thoroughly, the duvet should go straight into the tumble dryer. Don’t leave it sitting around damp.

One thing you must be aware of is that the capacity of the tumble dryer needs to be sufficient to accommodate the duvet. How big? ‘A standard full-size washer with a capacity of 4.5 cu ft or more and its matching dryer are plenty big enough to wash a king-size,’ says Elyse Moody, home design and housekeeping expert at Designer Appliances.

As to what this capacity would look like, Wayne Edelman says, ‘It is a good rule of thumb to only fill the machine two-thirds full.’ If the dryer is overstuffed, the results may not be good. ‘It might take forever to get dry, or not dry evenly,’ says Elyse.

Tumble dry a duvet on its own – there shouldn’t be additional items in the same load.

2. Which cycle and heat to select to tumble dry a duvet

Always check the tag of the duvet when selecting the cycle and heat and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Check out your tumble dryer’s controls, too. You might discover it has just what you need. ‘Some washers and dryers have settings specifically designed to clean and fluff up duvets,’ says Elyse. ‘Look for a down or bed linens cycle.’

As for heat, this should be moderate. ‘It’s best to use a low or medium heat setting to extend the life of your duvet, even if it takes longer,’ Elyse says. And there are particular implications for down fillings. ‘Never use hot because it will strip the natural oils from the feathers,’ says Wayne.

3. Ensure the duvet stays fluffy

It’s important that the filling of a duvet doesn’t become bunched up during the tumble drying process. ‘Synthetic filling is much less likely to clump than down filling,’ says Wayne. ‘We recommend drying down duvets with tennis or lacrosse balls to help avoid the clumping.’ Dryer balls are an alternative if you have them.

To ensure the filling is in good shape at the end, it’s a good idea to pause the duvet drying process. ‘Take it out partway through the drying cycle, give it a little shake, and put it back in,’ says Elyse.

4. How long does it take to tumble dry a duvet?

Inchyra gingham bed valance

(Image credit: Inchyra)

Set aside enough time to tumble dry a duvet. ‘The amount of time it takes ranges depending on your dryer,’ says Elyse. ‘A vented dryer will do this most quickly, in as little as 30 or 45 minutes. A ventless dryer can take more than two hours, though it will be gentler on the material.’ Expect a feather duvet to take longer to dry than a synthetic version.

Tumble dry until the duvet is completely dry to prevent the development of mold and mildew. Allow further time after this as well. ‘Even if the duvet feels dry after the cycle, it’s best to hang dry for a few hours to make sure it is completely dry,’ says Gregg Dean, CEO and co-founder of Layla Sleep.

Can you wash a feather duvet?

You can wash a feather duvet, as a rule, although you should always check the tag. However, what’s also crucial is its size relative to the drum of your washing machine. 

A duvet requires a large capacity machine. Don’t despair if yours doesn’t have a large enough drum, though. Many laundromats have large capacity machines for just this task. Another alternative is to take the duvet to a dry cleaner which offers professional laundering services for duvets using machines of sufficient capacity.

Can I tumble dry a duvet cover?

Generally, it is possible to tumble dry a duvet cover. Check the label of the cover for drying as well as washing guidelines. Many are made from sheet-like fabrics which are suitable for tumble drying after washing, but you should always be aware of the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the cover stays in good condition.

Sarah Warwick
Sarah Warwick

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.