Can You Wash A Duvet Cover With The Duvet Inside?

It’s an option to pair your duvet inserts with a cover, but doing so is definitely worth it, because the covers greatly reduce the frequency at which your inserts lose their freshness, which means you now have to wash them far less frequently. 

But eventually, a time will come when you’ll have to wash the inserts.  And when it’s time, should you toss everything from the cover to insert in the washer? Or do you detach the cover and wash both items together? Or separately?

Here’s what you should do

Wash the duvet cover and insert separately because both items have different wash instructions. Covers are to be cleaned using heavy duty modes to eliminate the presence of bacteria and pathogens like dust mites, the inserts on the other hand, require little agitation to protect their internal baffles. 

These are some of the reasons why you should separate duvet covers from insert and wash them separately. Below, we’ll discuss more on the care and maintenance of duvet covers and inserts.

Why it’s a terrible idea to wash duvet and duvet cover together

No proper cleaning

Your duvet cover is more flexible by itself, and when you have something inserted inside of it, it suppresses this flexibility. The consequence for this is poor washing. 

The duvet won’t be able to rub against itself, the walls of the washer and parts of the agitator efficiently, and because of that, some of the stains and dirt that may have accumulated on its surface won’t be removed properly. 

It’s extra work

You might think it saves time and effort to simply toss the cover together with the insert in the washing machine and let it do the job for you. But that creates extra work. You’ll now have to wash both the duvet and the cover which goes against the normal convention for washing inserts.

Duvet inserts hold the baffles that portion the bedding into sections which hold the down or feathers that make up the fillings. Washing it isn’t complex, but one thing you must never do is subject it to a similar wash condition as the cover.

Duvet covers are more sturdy than the insert, by virtue of what the latter contains, and so while you can get away with washing covers in heavy duty settings, and occasionally(for example every two weeks), the same isn’t true for the inserts, and that’s definitely the reason why you should wash them separately. 

Duvet cover should be cleaned often

Duvet covers serve the purpose of protection, not for us, but for the duvet inserts. 

What do they protect them from? The moisture that comes out from our bodies! If you should use inserts without covers, then they’d get dirty quicker, and that means you’ll have to wash them frequently which will definitely wear them down quicker. 

But with covers now, the freshness extends further, and you can get away with washing inserts only once in 3 to 4 months.

Now for the duvet covers themselves, the story is different. Because they now absorb and accumulate all the stains and dirt that are supposed to pile up on the inserts, they must be washed quite frequently, and in a conventional sense, once a week or in two weeks, together with other bedding materials like blankets, bedsheets, pillowcase and flat sheets. 

That isn’t to say though, that when your duvet covers fail the acid test of sight and smell, you shouldn’t wash it. Whenever your duvet smells funky, or looks visibly dirty, wash it. Keeping stains for a long time can set them in and then make them difficult to remove. 

How do you wash the duvet cover?

Washing the duvet cover is simple. First find out the material that makes up the duvet cover from the fabric care label or manufacturers website. It may be cotton, polyester, silk or even a blend of natural and synthetic. 

Different fibers have different wash instructions, and so how you end up cleaning your duvet will depend a lot on the fiber content. 

For cotton and linen duvet covers, they’re okay to wash at 60°C using heavy duty settings or cotton settings. Use a normal detergent and make sure to run an extra rinse to remove any soap residue that can persist and trigger allergic reactions in sensitive members of the household. 

Polyester too can be washed in very hot water (60°C), but because it can shrink with progressive practice, make sure to limit hot water washing to only times when you want to disinfect or perform a heavy duty cleaning. 

A blend of the two, polyester and cotton usually has more percentage of cotton than polyester, and the reason is so as to allow you to be able to wash the bedding in the washer at 60°F without any problems. 

You can also have covers made with a blend of cotton and other synthetic fibers too like viscose and rayon, with more percentages of cotton than the synthetic fibers. These too are typically washable at home in very hot water!

Do you wash duvet covers alone?

You can if you want to, but you don’t have to wash duvet covers alone. Pair them up with clothes of similar care instructions and wash them, so long the clothes do not bleed or are heavy and can cause tears. You can even wash duvet covers together with your flat sheets and blankets and pillowcases, but make sure not to overload the washer as that can result in poor washing.

Duvet inserts only need cleaning once in a while

So we’ve talked about the duvet covers, let’s shift our attention to the insert. How often should you be cleaning your duvet inserts?

Duvet inserts typically do not require regular cleaning as you think, because the covers have done them a favor by collecting all they’re supposed to collect on their very own surface.

Because of this, you can get away with washing duvet insert once in every 3 to 4 months. Sometimes more, like when you don’t put them to use that often.

That’s why a duvet cover is necessary, and if you dont have one, you’re required to at least use a flat sheet underneath. 

How to clean a duvet insert

There’s an extensive guide on how to clean a duvet insert here, but you can find the practical summary below. 

The first thing you want to do is to inspect your duvet for any tears, especially on the shoulder area, as it wears down the fastest. If you find any fault around that region, take it for repair or stitch it up yourself. Putting that kind of duvet in the washer can result in a huge explosion of down or feather.

The second thing you want to do is to treat stains that form on the insert. To know how best to do that, consult the care label for the type of fabric you have, and how sensitive it is. The care label should tell you all these. 

Treat stains using a concentrated mixture of mild detergent and water. Apply the solution on the spot and work it in. Let it sit for sometime, then rinse with warm water and proceed to launder. 

Note that stains are best treated on duvet when they form. Set in stains may require heavy duty products which may not be compatible with all types of fabrics, especially silk or those with a “dry clean only” tag on them. 

Cotton, polyester, viscose and linen might prove game, but make sure to perform a test in an inconspicuous area of the duvet to see how it would react to the solution before using it on the stain area.

Because duvet shells are typically fused to prevent the down from coming out, it makes it easy to remove stains! 

Normally, you can get away with only spot treating your duvet. As most of the time, that’s all they need. So air them outside to dry and freshen up after the spot treatment, and only proceed to clean them in the washer when they smell really bad or look dirty. 

In the washer, make sure to use the delicate cycle, or the permanent press cycle. Opt for detergent specially formulated for duvet or you can use a mild detergent that is enzyme free. Do not use hot water on your duvet unless you’re sure it’s permissible on the fabric care label.

Go ahead and run the cycle and do another extra rinse cycle. That’s three extra rinses, which is needed to remove soap residues that can coat the down or feathers and cause the duvet to weigh down and not perform well with its insulating properties. 

After you’re done washing, put the duvet in the dryer and run it through three cycles. Make sure to remove the duvet after every cycle and fluff it up to de-clump the down and feather filling inside.  

Final Thoughts

It’s not recommended to wash the duvet cover with the duvet inside. Wash both separately as they require different ways for their care and maintenance.

Duvet covers should be cleaned on a regular basis because they have more contact with our skins. The inserts on the other hand should be washed less frequently because they’re shielded from the skin by the cover. They should also be cleaned delicately due to their baffle construction which can get damaged with excessive agitation. 

When it comes to washing your duvet covers, do them together with other items like flat sheets, pillow cases and bedsheets, and make sure to use hot water (except for silk) to achieve disinfection.