Can You Wash A Down Or Feather Duvet?

Ofcourse, like any other bedding item, down or feather duvet can and should be washed. At home, you have the option of washing using a front loader or by hand in the bathtub. And if you choose to let your money do the work for you, opt for a reputable dry cleaner or an upholstery cleaner.

Let’s learn below how to properly clean a down and feather duvet at home using machine and elbow grease.

How To Wash A Down Duvet

Before you ever talk about washing a down duvet, there are preliminaries you have to be aware of.

Check the fabric care label first

This can never be overemphasized. You have to check the fabric care label first, before doing any other thing, to find out the highest water temperature you can use on that specific duvet.

Duvet shells (the covering that encase the fillings) are made using different types of fabrics, from synthetic to natural and even blends of them. 

Different fibers have different washing instructions, and while some can be forgiving of mistakes such as using hot water on them, others aren’t! And generally for duvet, gentle agitation is key to avoid destroying the internal baffle construction! 

Check the size of your washer and dryer

It is always a good idea to compare the size of your duvet to that of your washing machine and dryer. If you have a duvet that is an oversized fit for either of the two appliances, then consider other washing options like the bathtub or dry cleaning or laundromat. 

The reason is because cramping up a large duvet in a washer or dryer will result in the poor cleaning, scratching or scorching of the shell respectively. This is the reason why you shouldn’t wash more than one duvet in a washer. Because the cleaning efficiency might be affected. 

And by the way, when it comes to the type of washing machine to use for duvet, opt for a front loader. You won’t suffer air pockets that form and refuse to soak in the washer, which will prevent proper cleaning, and you’d also be doing the internal baffles a great favor!

Remove the duvet from the cover

So after performing the first two steps, next is making sure you seperate the cover from the duvet insert before proceeding to wash. 

Duvet cover should be washed as frequently as beddings are washed, once a week, or in two weeks, whereas the duvet should be washed once in 3 to 4 months so long the cover has been on it all the time, protecting it from dust and dirt. 

Wash the duvet and cover separately

The main purpose of the duvet cover is to protect the insert against sweat stains, dirt, and dust accumulation, and therefore increasing the frequency at which the duvet insert is cared for.

In that respect, the duvet cover will accumulate more soil that the insert, and thus must be washed regularly, i.e as often as every two weeks. 

When it comes to washing a duvet cover, find out the fiber material that it’s made up of, and wash (either by hand or machine) according to the wash instructions for that specific type of fabric.

For instance, cotton and linen can be subjected to heavy duty settings without running into problems, but you dare not try that with silk. You can wash polyester at heavy duty settings too, but it has to be once in a while and when you want to disinfect, for instance once in every two months. 

Treat stains that form on duvet insert

Duvet insert can actually pick up stains that may have penetrated all the way from the cover. You may have a set-in stain, aged stain, or even a fresh stain, and depending on the age of the stain that you have, you may or may not get results with using mild detergent and water with a scrub. 

In that case, you want to go for a product specially formulated to tackle the specific type of stain you have, but before even trying the product on your duvet, make sure it’s compatible with it. 

So perform a test in an inconspicuous area of the duvet using the correct methods of usage from the product manual. Check to see if any changes occur to that specific area, and only proceed when nothing happens after drying. 

If you have stains on a duvet that is quite sensitive like silk, you want to take it to a professional and avoid DIY treatments that can end up destroying the fibers. 

Can you wash a down duvet in the washing machine?

You can wash a down duvet in the washer, preferably a front loader because it eliminates problems like tearing of the internal baffles as a result of excessive agitation and also poor cleaning due to formation of air pockets in the blanket that would refuse to soak. 

To wash a duvet in the washer, do the following. 

Check that there isn’t a tear on the shell

Before you begin anything, make sure there isn’t a tear on your duvet. The last thing you ever want to run into is a wet mess of duvet down after opening the cover of your washer. 

If you notice any tear, it’s best to fix it yourself, or take to a professional tailor to fix it for you. 

Use cold water

With cold water, you can’t go wrong. It’s safe on colors and fibers and wont cause shrinkage. It’s a good idea to check and see if your duvet can withstand temperatures up to 60°C, and if it can, opt for it, as that will offer disinfection of the fabric and even kill dust mites. 

Delicate or permanent press

Duvets are constructed with baffles inside of them which are the barriers that partition the duvet into sections.

If you use a wash cycle that offers too much agitation on your duvet, it can end up tearing the internal baffles which will cause down to move freely, and the blanket to lose its heat insulating properties. 

That’s why a delicate or duvet cycle is preferred when washing a duvet. Delicate cycle uses low agitation as well as low spin speed for cleaning and moisture extraction respectively which will help protect the baffles inside. 


When it comes to the detergent to use, go for something formulated for down, and if you can’t find any, choose a mild detergent like Tide Free. And when adding detergents, make sure to use the required amount to avoid leaving residues in the down which can weigh down the blanket. 

Extra rinse

An extra rinse is extremely important for heavy beddings like a duvet. The extra rinse cycle is necessary to eliminate soapy residue that may have collected in the down which can cause clumping and thus contribute to failed fluffing of the duvet. 

Plus, some people are very sensitive to detergents and therefore it’s extremely important to remove as much detergent as possible so no residue is left that can migrate to the skin. 

Can you put a down duvet in the dryer?

The best way to dry a duvet is in the dryer.  It offers agitation plus heat which speeds up the drying process and also promotes fluffing. 

When machine drying the duvet, you might have to run up to three cycles to get it completely dried. The first cycle should be set at medium, whereas the last two cycles should be at low. 

In between cycles also, you want to take out the duvet and fluff it up gently to release clumps that can reduce loft and even trap moisture which can cause mildew later. 

After the drying session, lay the duvet flat on the bed and let it air dry for some hours. It’s possible some moist spots are still present in the duvet.

Can you wash a down comforter that says dry clean only?

When you have a down comforter or duvet that says dry clean only, it’s best to take it to the dry cleaners. It’s probably made using a sensitive material that can get destroyed in the washer or dryer at home, or, may have specific finishing or structuring that is best handled well at the dry cleaners. 

How often do you wash a down duvet?

You wash duvet covers whenever you wash beddings like flat sheets, blankets, and pillow cases, which is as often as once a week or In two weeks. 

As for the duvet insert itself, use a cover on it regularly to avoid the washer— as that can shorten its lifespan. With covers consistently on, wash your inserts at least once in 3 to 4 months. 

How to maintain a down duvet

Avoid washing frequently, freshen up or spot clean instead

With duvet and all other clothing materials, the less you wash the better they keep quality. Because whenever you wash, fibers are squashed and destroyed! 

So try as much as possible to prevent your duvet from getting into the washer by spot treating stains that form on it, or letting it air dry on a clothesline if smell is the problem. 

Fluff up consistently

It’s important to fluff up duvet consistently to prevent clumps from building into large chunks that are difficult to break up. When fluffing the duvet, do so gently and using your hands. You can also use a clean badminton racket. 

Don’t sit on it or place heavy things on it

Sitting on your duvet for a very long time can cause the down inside to clump together. So also placing heavy objects like briefcases or boxes on it.

Use a duvet cover or a flat sheet

If you’re using a duvet, it’s always a good idea to use a cover with it or protect it from your body using a flat sheet. This will increase the frequency at which you have to wash the duvet which is a bonus for your duvet! 

If possible, always machine dry

When it comes to drying duvet, avoid drying on a clothesline whenever you can because the extra weight with water can pull down on the internal baffles and tear them, causing down to move freely within the blanket. It will also promote the formation of clumps, and moist spots can still persist which can mildew. 

Don’t use fabric softener

Fabric softeners are not good for your down duvets. And the reason is because the fabric softener coats the down or feather filling and therefore reduces the loft of the duvet. Clumping also reduces a duvet’s ability to insulate properly. 

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to wash a down duvet at home, but the easy route is to go for a professional cleaning.

At home, using a washer is easier, make sure to use a detergent specifically formulated for down or a mild detergent like tide free, and opt for a delicate cycle using cold water unless the fabric supports the use of hot water which is beneficial for removing dust mites and other pathogens. 

When it comes to drying, do so using three cycles. The first should be on medium heat while the rest should be set to low