How to Wash a Duvet in Your Washing Machine

Duvets are some of the most neglected beddings. Most of us remember to change our pillowcases, sheets and blankets once a week. However, duvets are usually forgotten because we think that washing the duvet cover is enough. While covers protect the duvet from dirt, oils, sweat, saliva and other nasty things, they can still seep through the cover, thereby contaminating your duvet.

A good rule of thumb is to wash your duvet at least once a year. Duvets are expensive, so taking time to care for them will extend their lifespan. The biggest complaint about washing a duvet is that it is time-consuming and sometimes expensive.

For instance, there are duvets that need to be dry-cleaned. This means taking time to go to the dry cleaners and maybe coughing up the laundry bill. However, if your duvet is machine-washable, you can safely wash it in your own washing machine.

Before Washing

Before washing your duvet, you need to read the tag first. Some manufacturers require you to dry-clean the duvet. In this instance, it is better to follow instructions.

Reading the care label will also let you know how to clean your duvet. Following care instructions will also lengthen the life of your duvet.

For example, a tub or bucket symbol means that your duvet can be washed. The number inside the tub indicates the maximum temperature. A hand in the tub means that you need to hand-wash your duvet. A square with a circle means dryer. Dots in the symbol mean temperature; the more dots, the higher the temperature setting. However, an X in the square means that you need to line-dry the duvet.

Once you know how to clean your duvet, it’s time to get washing. The ideal type of washing machine to use for washing a duvet is a frontloading one. Top-loading washing machines have an agitator which makes it hard for the duvet to move around. The agitator can also damage the duvet as it spins around the machine.

You also need to make sure know that your personal washer is big enough to handle your duvet. Even if it’s lightweight, a duvet can be heavy when soaked in water. You want space in your washer so that the duvet can move around and be washed thoroughly. Generally, a 7kg washer is enough to handle a 10 tog duvet.  

How to Wash Your Duvet

  • First, you need to remove your duvet cover. The cover can be washed with your other beddings.
  • Next, inspect your duvet carefully. Look for any tears and seams that need mending. Sewing your duvet prevents the filling from coming out during the washing and drying cycle.
  • If your duvet is very neglected, you might need to pre-soak it. Pre-soaking an item helps to loosen dirt and stains. Pre-soak your duvet in a large basin or tub. One hour should be enough. A good option is your bathtub. Before pre-soaking, make sure that your tub is clean. Fill it up with water; add detergent and some borax or baking soda. Set a timer.
  • A gentle setting is best for duvets. Use warm (not hot) water, around 30°C, but check the label for the maximum temperature first. Choose a mild detergent, unless your duvet is very dirty. Use the same detergent you used in the pre-soak. If your duvet has hard-to-remove stains, using a detergent with a built-in stain remover is recommended.
  • Use the normal spin setting.
  • Now that your duvet is happily rolling and spinning inside the machine, don’t go too far away. Keep an eye or ear out, especially during the rinse cycle. Duvets are thicker and their fillings make them more absorbent. Detergent and soapy water can be retained because of this. As a precaution, add an extra rinse cycle or two to make sure that all soap and suds are washed away.
  • Some down duvets will look darker after it is taken out of the washer. This is because feathers look darker when wet, and your duvet will look discoloured. Don’t be alarmed. It will go back to its normal colour once it’s completely dried.
  • Some duvets need to be line-dried. So don’t forget to check the tag. Machine drying a duvet is trickier. You need to find a big capacity dryer to ensure that it’s dried completely. Follow instructions on the maximum temperature for drying. Depending on the tog, it can take several hours for your duvet to dry completely. Low heat is a good option for most types of duvets.
  • During the drying process, stop the machine from time to remove the duvet and fluff it. Throw in some dryer balls or tennis balls to redistribute filling and prevent clumping.
  • It can be hard to tell if a duvet is truly dry. To prevent mould and other bacterial growth, line-dry it outside for 24 hours. This will allow the last bits of moisture to evaporate and prevent musty smell and mildew.
  • Slip on a duvet cover once it is completely dry before using it.
  • Arrange on the bed and enjoy.

Can You Wash Duvet at Home?

Sometimes, so long as you follow the care instructions, you should be able to wash it. It’s tempting to wash it at home especially if you have a big washer and dryer. However, the first step is to always check the care instructions first.

Obviously, king- and queen-sized duvets need bigger washers and dryers, so going to a launderette that can accommodate these sizes is more practical. Use your common sense. If it says dry-clean, then follow instructions. If it is machine-washable, follow instructions too.

Duvets are bulky and hard to wash. However, keeping them clean should still be a priority. Not only will it extend its lifespan, but it can also contribute to your health. Duvets should be washed at least once a year. This will keep them fresh and in great condition. When it comes to duvet maintenance, the label or tag is your best friend.