You CAN wash a down comforter in the washing machine if the material from which it is made is washer safe.
More Info: It is the fabric from which the down comforter is made and not the down that will dictate if a comforter can be tossed in the washing machine. Some fabrics are dry clean only. The best way to know which type of comforter you have is to look on the tag. Additionally, your washer must be large enough to accommodate the comforter.
What Is Down?
Down is the softest and generally the most expensive of feather stuffing material and comes from the underside of waterfowl. Often mixed with addition feathers from other sources, in order for a manufacturer to label a down item as ‘down-filled' it must be at least 85% down. Down tends to compress and mat so the addition of goose or other fowl feather is often advantageous.
It's the Fabric That Dictates the Washing Care
The material used on the outside of a comforter is what determines if it is washer safe or must be dry-cleaned only. Since down does get very heavy when it is wet, it is also very important to make sure that your washer is large enough to handle the weight. Excessive weight on a washing machine regardless of what is washed in it, can lead to very costly repair bills. Compact washers also can cause damage to the down comforters by allowing them to rub away during the cycles, which will lead to tears, rips, and weak spots in the material.
The instructions for washing any comforter will depend upon the material that the comforter is made from rather than the filling. Read the care instructions carefully. If the manufacturer has given permission to proceed to wash the comforter at home, here are a few tips for best results.
- The washer settings should be set at the highest water level with delicate agitation.
- Add the detergent and fill the washer half way with water. Stop the cycle.
- Add the comforter to the wash load at this point, submerging the entire article under water.
- Continue to run the cycle checking periodically to shift the comforter as necessary to keep the load balanced.
- Tumble dry according to manufacturer care instructions.
Manufacturers do have some suggestions when washing down comforters in a washing machine. They recommend that you check for rips, tears, or weak areas in the outer material prior to washing. This can cause the down to fall out while washing the comforter. They also suggest that you do not wash the comforter excessively. On average, a down comforter should only have to be washed once or twice a year. All manufacturers of washer safe down comforters also stress that it is important to make sure that the comforter is completely dried according to the recommended instructions before storing or replacing it