How to dry a comforter – and retain its fluffiness and warmth

Knowing how to dry a comforter properly will ensure it remains in optimum condition

How to dry a comforter – bedroom ceiling light with crystal chandelier
(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

Its size and weight when wet could leave you asking how to dry a comforter, but drying it thoroughly is essential.

The material inside can harbor dust mites and other airborne particles that can trigger allergies, so making space in your laundry room ideas for drying a comforter after it’s been laundered will make life easy.

There are plenty of options to help make the process of drying your comforter simple and fuss-free, and these are the best methods.

How to dry a comforter

Like washing a pillow, cleaning and drying a comforter isn’t the weekly task washing bed sheets is. But your comforter does need a deep clean once or twice a year, and even washing a down comforter is possible.

Bear in mind that it’s crucial to know how to dry a comforter correctly because otherwise it can lose volume and its fluffy appearance. These are the steps to take.

Check the type of comforter before drying

The most important thing to do before drying a comforter is to check the laundry symbols on the care label. 

Most comforters are filled with feathers, a mix of feathers known as ‘down’, cotton or fiberfill. All of these materials can be cleaned in a washing machine and dried in a tumble dryer.

Some, more inexpensive comforters may consist of a foam filling, which could be problematic when washing and drying as the foam may lose its shape.

How to dry a comforter in a tumble dryer

Whilst it is possible to dry most comforters in a tumble dryer, in the same way as you can tumble dry a duvet, approach with caution as many items will lose their loftiness. There are simple ways to avoid this happening.

Sophie Lane, product training manager at Miele, advises removing the item from the machine several times throughout the drying process to ‘hand fluff’ it. ‘This will help prevent the filling from matting together or clumping,’ explains Sophie.

When the drying programme has finished, give the item a good shake and final fluff.

If the filling is still clumping, that’s a sign that the comforter still has wet spots inside. You may need to repeat the drying cycle until all the moisture is out of the comforter.

Due to the size and weight, it is likely to take several hours to dry your comforter in a tumble dryer. However, some models have built in technology to make the process easier, as Sophie Lane explains. ‘Miele tumble dryers use intelligent sensors that monitor the water content within the drum and automatically adjust the drying times for you.’

Plus to avoid the all-important uneven filling problem, there are a few professional tips that can help:

Adding tennis balls to the tumble dryer will help evenly distribute the filling.

Another tip is to put a towel in with the comforter, it will absorb lots of the moisture, allowing the comforter to dry faster.

And finally, if you want to freshen the smell of your comforter, a spokesperson for Procter & Gamble, whose brands include Lenor and Febreze, recommends using dryer sheets. They will ‘keep laundry smelling amazing even through the heat of the dryer’.

How to air dry a comforter

If yours contains delicate fabrics or a mix of fibers, you may prefer to dry a comforter naturally.

Once you have washed the item, shake it out to make sure the feathers or filling are evenly distributed, then find a suitable place to hang it.

Drape it over a bathtub or a drying rack – anywhere it is suspended and can dry as quickly as possible to keep mold and mildew from growing. If you can, open windows and place a large fan next to it because this can help speed up the drying process.

If you have a garden or a balcony, drying the comforter out in the sun is the best-case scenario.

A clothes line is ideal, but drying racks will be more than sufficient if you spread your comforter between two. Be sure to check the forecast - a hot, sunny day with a light wind will make the best weather conditions.

Remember drying outdoors can allow for certain types of seasonal allergies to be transferred to the comforter, so be mindful if anyone in your house suffers from these.

Whatever method you choose to dry your comforter, ensure that it is totally free from moisture before you place it back on the bed. A damp comforter can lead to mold and mildew forming inside the material.

Dry a comforter at a laundromat or dry cleaners

Taking it to a dry cleaner is an alternative to cleaning and drying a comforter at home. Online bedding retailer Buffy advises finding a dry cleaning company that avoids harsh chemicals. ‘We would suggest somewhere that doesn’t use the chemical perchloroethylene in its process,’ says a spokesperson.

If your comforter is particularly large, or you are worried about your tumble dryer's capacity and age, dry the comforter at a local laundromat.

Can you put a comforter in the dryer?

You can put a comforter in the dryer as a rule, but always check the tag first. The size of the tumble dryer is also crucial. ‘The dryer needs to have a large enough capacity to accommodate the comforter,’ says Lucy Searle, global editor in chief of Homes & Gardens

Can I dry my comforter on high heat?

Don't dry a comforter on high heat. ‘Make sure to use a low setting,’ says Lucy Searle, global editor in chief of Homes & Gardens. ‘Using high heat could damage the filling.’ This does mean that drying a comforter correctly will take time, but it’s worth it to keep it in good condition and ensure the filling will be lofty and warm when the process is done.

Stephanie Hendries
Stephanie Hendries

Steph Hendries is a freelance journalist who has contributed to many different interiors websites including Homes & Gardens, Ideal Home and Livingetc. She has also worked on a range of social content for property brands such as Zoopla and Boomin. Steph writes for Homes & Gardens Solved section, concentrating on DIY, how to, cleaning and organizing content.