How do I Clean a Down Blanket?

Sherry Holetzky
Sherry Holetzky
Tossing a tennis ball into the dryer can help the down in blankets from settling in one spot.
Tossing a tennis ball into the dryer can help the down in blankets from settling in one spot.

In order to avoid the wear and tear of washing and drying a down blanket, the preferred method of cleaning is to spot clean stains and then simply air out your bedding. There are times, of course, when washing is necessary, and it is possible to clean a down blanket using your washing machine and dryer.

Whether you use your home laundry or visit the local laundromat, the basic process is the same. Wash the down blanket in cold water with mild detergent. You may have to reset the spin cycle and spin more than once to wring out enough moisture due to the weight of the blanket. You may still have to squeeze out excess moisture.

A down blanket may be washed in cold water with mild detergent.
A down blanket may be washed in cold water with mild detergent.

If using the dryer, it is best to dry on the lowest cycle. Keep in mind that it may take several cycles to completely dry your down blanket. Make sure you launder it when you have plenty of time as it can take hours to dry thoroughly. You don’t want to get stuck staying up all night waiting for your bedding to dry. Adding a tennis ball or sock tied in knots to the dryer may help keep the down from settling in one place.

It is generally not a good idea to hang a down blanket to dry, as the down may clump toward the bottom. However, if you switch the direction regularly it can be done. You may be able hang a down blanket that has baffles or pockets, as the down will stay in the individual compartments. However, you will still need to shake and fluff your down blanket once dry as much of the filling may have gathered in the corners or at the bottom of these compartments.

It is best to use a large capacity washer and dryer to clean a down blanket. If your appliances are not large enough for the size blanket you have, you will need to go to the laundromat. Check inside both the washer and dryer to make sure there is nothing sticky or dyed left behind before using the machines. Make sure you have plenty of change because again, it will take several cycles to dry your blanket.

If you are uncomfortable laundering your blanket yourself, you can take it to the cleaners to be dry-cleaned every so often. To avoid cleaning often, consider covering your blanket with a removable cover that can be washed and dried easily, and air the blanket out during washings.

Discussion Comments


@snickerish - I know this sounds silly but I have tried Dawn dish soap and it seems to work! I also try to make sure it gets thoroughly dry.

My reasoning for the Dawn dish soap in particular was inspired by a commercial they have. In the commercial they showed how they helped cleaning the water fowl following the oil leak in the ocean.

So I felt whether it cleaned my down comforter really well or not it at least I was supporting what seemed to be a legit and meaningful cause!


I have a down feather bed that makes my bed oh so soft, but I had heard that you leave an incredible amount of dead skin cells on your mattress as you sleep. Needless to say I immediately thought of my feather bed collecting all of that stuff.

Now I have another way to try and clean it thanks to this article. I was afraid I would just have to buy another one or spray it with disinfectant and try to make myself feel better about the dead skin cells hanging out in there!

Has anyone tried just handwashing it and found a certain soap works well with the feathers?


There are some really good tips here about cleaning a down blanket. Any time I have tried to clean one, I have not been very happy with the results, so haven't bought one for a long time.

It seems like I could never get the filling to be the same after it was dried. It would have some spots that would be too bulky, and some places wouldn't have any down filling.

I enjoy down blankets because they are so cozy, so if I ever get another one, I will not clean it at home, but take it somewhere with bigger machines.


I always keep some clean tennis balls around for the specific purpose of putting in the dryer when I am drying something big like a down blanket.

I try to spot clean any stains on the blanket, but every so often it just needs a good washing. Even if I take the blanket to a laundromat, I will put some clean tennis balls in when it is drying.

I just keep these tennis balls in the cupboard where I store my laundry soap, so know they are always clean and don't have to go searching for them when I am ready to use them.


I have always loved the feel and warmth of a down blanket, so have cleaned many of them. It seems like no matter how large of a washing machine I have, it is never large enough for cleaning something as bulky as a down blanket.

I will take the blanket and some laundry detergent and go to the laundromat to use one of their commercial size machines. Another advantage of this, is they will usually get the job done very quickly so you don't have to wait around too long.

This works well for the dryer too. If I would try to dry it at home, it would seem to take a very long time and would not get completely dry.

When I use a commercial size dryer, it has more room and doesn't take very long.


Does anyone know if those new laundry machines with the steam setting would be a good idea for a down blanket, or would the steam damage the feathers?

We recently purchased a new heavy duty washing machine and I love that it has so many settings, but I am still getting a handle on what will work best for what.

We also have a setting for a delicate wash, so do you think that might be a better option for a down blanket if it just needs freshening up?

I haven't tried washing our down blankets before, as I always used to have them dry cleaned. It seems to me though that that is getting way too expensive these days.


When I moved away from home one of the gifts my parents gave me was a gorgeous down blanket. I had always loved theirs and was really happy to finally have my own. The one I had was the softest ever and I tried my best to take care of it. Unfortunately I accidentally spilled an entire can of soda on it when I was curled up with it watching TV.

Luckily, down blankets aren't that hard to clean if you need to, they just take awhile to dry. I ended up putting mine in the wash with a bit of bleach and after that was done, I put it in the dryer on the lowest setting. What made everything turn out OK was tossing in a dryer balls to help the blanket stay fluffy.

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    • Tossing a tennis ball into the dryer can help the down in blankets from settling in one spot.
      By: fotopak
      Tossing a tennis ball into the dryer can help the down in blankets from settling in one spot.
    • A down blanket may be washed in cold water with mild detergent.
      By: Ghost
      A down blanket may be washed in cold water with mild detergent.