How To Wash A Silk Duvet And Comforter?

Duvet shells can be made using a variety of fibers, and even the fillings inside aren’t limited to down or feather, there can be fiber fillings too! 

And when it comes to fibers, you know exactly what it means. Different washing instructions! 

When you have a silk duvet, you can’t just toss it into the washer on any setting and call it a day, it will get ruined. Wash silk duvet safely by hand in the bathtub by soaking it for 30 minutes or more depending on the degree of soiling, then pull and plunge continuously to remove soiling. After washing, dry silk duvet only outside and let UV rays do the magic. 

The above is a brief summary on how to wash silk duvet at home by hand. Keep reading to learn how to wash silk duvet in the washer, and also the other alternatives you have aside hand washing. 

Why washing silk in the washer is a terrible idea

Silk, by composition, is a delicate material. It cannot withstand rough agitation in the washer and still maintain its integrity.

The fibers will get destroyed, specific finishing on the silk can get ruined, and dyes on the silk can also run off. 

Because of that, silk isn’t advised to be washed using a washing machine. If it must be cleaned at home, hand washing is recommended. 

If however, you still decide to machine wash your silk duvet, then make sure to use cold water (no more than 30°C), and make sure to use a mild detergent and permanent press cycle, delicate mode or a silk cycle. 

Additionally, it’s best to wash delicate items like silk in a front loader as opposed to a top loader, especially when the top loader has a central agitator. The agitator can cause damage to the internal baffles of the duvet causing the duvet to lose it’s evenness in spread, and therefore insulation properties. 

After washing your silk duvet, you want to take it to a shaded area to dry instead of putting it in the dryer.

You could try hand washing

When it comes to cleaning a silk duvet at home, the best way to do it is using hand washing. 

The handwashing technique is a lot gentler than machine washing because you have greater control over the amount of agitation you put on the duvet as opposed to the washing machine which is programmed by default to give a certain agitation.

You’ll find that even the delicate cycle of the washer is sometimes hard on clothes. And because silk can be delicate to very delicate in its mode of construction, this can affect it in the various ways that we have mentioned above.

Hand washing a silk duvet is quite easy, all you have to do is create a solution of mild detergent and water (in a bathtub) and make sure to incorporate the detergent into the water properly. The water should be no hotter than 30°C. 

If you do not have a mild detergent, you can use baby shampoo for that purpose. But make sure to use only a small amount as shampoos can create so many suds that can be annoying to deal with especially when hand washing.

After creating the solution, soak the silk duvet in it for 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the level of soiling and stain. 

If you have a really dirty silk duvet or one smells terribly bad, you can leave it to soak for up to one hour. If you have a silk duvet that has a complex combination of dye finishing on it, it’s most likely going to bleed, and as such, avoid soaking it for longer than 30 minutes as the fibers can end up releasing the dyes attached to them.

When the silk duvet has soaked for long enough, pull parts of it from the wash water and plunge it back inside to facilitate soil removal. This is the substitute for scrubbing which is terrible for items like duvet that have fillings inside of them. 

You can also move the duvet continuously in the wash water for this purpose.

When you’re done lightly beating the fibers to remove the soils, collect the duvet on one end of the tub and drain the wash water underneath. Let the duvet fall flat, then press against it to release more of the wash water that is held back. 

When you’ve removed as much water as possible, add fresh water to the tub and rinse the duvet using the “pull and plunge” technique mentioned above. 

Feel free to replace the water for a second or even a third time (for king size duvets) to remove as many suds as possible to prevent them from causing the filling inside to clump. 

After that, you want to take the silk duvet outside to dry in the shade. Make sure to fluff up the duvet properly after drying to get back the loft of the insert again. 

Remember, you can have a silk duvet with a shell made up of different fiber, whereas the fill consists of silk. If you have this type of duvet, still treat it the same as a silk shelled duvet.

Dry cleaning is best

For silk, and generally, large items like duvet, dry cleaning is the best option. This is because dry cleaning uses less agitation compared to washing machines, and the solvent doesn’t get absorbed into the fibers like water is, which prevents fabrics from stretching and therefore changing shape.

Dry cleaning solvent, since it isn’t absorbed, also doesn’t knock off dyes from the fibers, and so clothes that are dyed heavily or with fancy patterns, no matter how complex they are, will not suffer dye loss. 

Most of the time, when you check the fabric care label on silk duvets, you’ll find that it recommends dry cleaning or handwashing.

The dry cleaning instruction can be printed in either of two ways. It could be written as “dry clean”, or “dry clean only”.

The “dry clean” instruction basically means that dry cleaning is an option, but other methods can be used to wash the duvet, for instance hand washing or the washer.

“Dry clean only” on the other hand is strict, and it means you should ONLY dry clean that duvet and avoid experimenting with machine or hand washing, as it can get damaged. 

Always make sure to follow the instructions printed on your duvet’s fabric care label to learn how best to clean it. 

How to wash other types of duvet and comforter

When your duvet shell is made up of cotton, you have more flexibility when it comes to washing. You can wash at low, moderate and even very hot (60°C) temperature which is perfect for killing dust mites. 

Polyester shells are also durable and can be washed in the normal cycle or cotton cycle, although never put the polyester shell in hot water (consistently) because it can shrink with continued practice. 

For linen, feel free to wash it at temperatures up to 60°C at times when you need to disinfect. Linen is just as durable as cotton and therefore you have nothing to worry about when it comes to washing it with hot water. 

Final Thoughts

Duvet made up of a silk shell and silk filling is best cleaned by dry cleaning, although you should check the fabric care label to learn the specific instructions for cleaning that particular duvet. 

That said, most silk duvet can be washed by hand and the less delicate ones can even be cleaned in the washer in a delicate cycle using cold water and a gentle detergent.