How often should I wash a comforter? Experts explain

While we may wash our bedding religiously our comforter is often forgotten about. Experts explain how often you should be washing this vital piece of bedding

A comforter beside a bedsheet
(Image credit: Unsplash / Jason Abdilla)

Although we always  wash our bedding, how frequently do we think 'how often should I wash a comforter?' While many have a protective duvet cover on top, our comforters can quickly accumulate dirt, sweat, and bacteria, meaning our beds are never truly clean. 

Luckily, learning how to wash a down comforter is simple and can be done at home. How often you need to wash a comforter, however, can vary depending on the time of year and whether or not you have a cover. 

Here, bedding and cleaning experts share how often you should be refreshing your comforter for a clean bed and a comfroting night's sleep. 

How often should I wash my comforter?

White bedding in a white bedroom

(Image credit: Sheridan)

Even the best duvet inserts need semi-frequent washing to keep them clean. In one study conducted by the University of Worcester in the UK, the average comforter carried up to live 20,000 dust mites if not washed at least every six months – making it even more difficult to get rid of dust mites from your home.

'A duvet should be cleaned every three months as it is protected by the linen on the cover,' explains Georgia Metcalfe, founder of French Bedroom. 'Despite this, previous studies have shown that thousands of dust mites can live on an insert after a few months, and more in fall and winter due to the heating being on. 

'A comforter should be cleaned slightly more often as it often doesn’t have the same protection, once every two months should be enough. Sweat evaporation often can’t penetrate through the depth and layers of the duvet or comforter which allows it to be washed less often. Despite this, it’s vital they are aired often.'

It is also recommended to wash your comforter more frequently in the warmer summer months as we are more likely to sweat during the night. Increased sweating means our comforters may not fully dry through each day, so hanging them to air between washes is essential for keeping a cleaner bed. 

While frequently washing a comforter can be tedious, especially when we have to wash all of our other bedding at the same time, it is still one of the most common bedding mistakes made by households along with not washing a pillow from a bed.

A neutral bedroom with thick comforter

(Image credit: Albion Nord)

Washing the best luxury bedding can be a chore, especially if you are worried about running it. 'Although many can be machine washed, getting a professional clean is far safer, especially if made from a sensitive material such as down feathers,' Georgia recommends. 'If cleaned at home, wash by itself and choose a delicate cycle, if possible choose an extra rinse.

'For those that are made out of natural filling such as feathers, it is essential to take extra care of the comforter or duvet because it takes longer to dry and is more likely to hold on to the moisture inside which can cause it to rot. This is why I recommend a professional clean.'

'Always look on the label for care instructions,' adds Sara San Angelo, professional cleaner and founder of Confessions of a Cleaning Lady. 'If it can be machine-washed, you should use a commercial washer at your local laundromat.  These are heavy-duty and made for large loads.  This will give your comforter enough room to get it washed correctly and will save your washer at home from breaking from the undo stress of large loads.'

Wicker rug, wreath in frame, candle

(Image credit: The White Company)

One of the main reasons people are put off from frequently washing their comforter is the time it takes to dry such a large bedding item – after all, it can be hard enough getting a jumper to dry at the best of times! Knowing how to dry a comforter properly is the biggest obstacle to overcome when trying to create a good comforter washing regime.

'You should try to line dry a comforter or duvet as the heat from a tumble dryer can weaken fibers over time,' Georgia continues. 'If it is dried in a tumble dryer then use an anti-bacterial detergent to deter mites for longer. Make sure there is no excess water inside a duvet or comforter in the tumble dryer to prevent issues.

'Bedding needs a large surface area to dry quickly so drape wet sheets around the banister to maximize indoor space and allow the fabric to breathe,' she suggests. 'Many will use an airer, but these can be too small to work efficiently for large sheets.'

'I like to hang my comforters from my clothesline at home,' says Sara. 'This gives it a freshness that a dryer can not. Be sure to check the weather before you wash it to make sure it will not rain that day. If you do opt to use a dryer, use a commercial dryer at a local laundromat as this will give it room to dry properly. Always tumble dry on medium to low heat,' she warns.

Will washing my comforter ruin it?

If you wash your comforter correctly it will not ruin it. As comforters can be delicate, it is important to use the properly sized laundry machine, mild temperatures, and correct detergents to make sure your comforter comes out better than it went in.

How can I freshen my comforter without washing it?

While you should wash your comforter at least occasionally to keep it clean, you can quickly freshen up a comforter between washes by placing it in a dryer on low heat with some tennis balls for 20-30 minutes. This will help to fluff up the comforter and make it smell fresh for its next use.

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.