Dry Clean Or Machine Wash: What’s Better For Your Bed Comforter?

A comforter is cozy and fluffy bedding that transforms your bed into a perfect sleeping space. With time, your white comforter could collect dirt and require a good wash. Unlike snuggling inside a comforter, washing the bulky and delicate bedding is often not enjoyable. A question you may have is whether to machine wash the bedding or take it for professional dry cleaning. 

To properly care for your comforter, you must clean it, including deciding whether to dry clean or machine wash it. To determine, check the manufacturer’s washing instructions on the tag. It will tell you if the comforter should be dry cleaned or machine washed, along with specific instructions.

Because a comforter is bulky, this complicates the washing process. While most comforters are machine washable, read the manufacturer’s care instructions that come with every comforter before you do it. Cleaning your comforter in a washing machine is easier and more affordable, but dry cleaning also has its benefits. Let’s take a look at the best care practices for your comforter. 

What is a Comforter?

Double bed in loft loft

A comforter is comfy and bulky bedding that features insulating material secured between two covers of fabric. The filling has insulating qualities to keep you warm and promote better quality sleep.

When buying a comforter, you have a choice of various filling materials. Manufacturers fill their comforters with goose down, warm and breathable wool, soft cotton, lofty synthetic fibers, or silk. To secure the filling and maintain an even look to the comforter, manufacturers quilt or stitch the filler material. On top of the filling is a moisture wicking shell made of fabrics such as cotton, silk, or polyester. 

Each of the filling materials has unique qualities. Down is the most common filling material because of its lightweight, fluffy, and easy-to-wash qualities. Wool comforters are warm and breathable but require special care. Silk filling is comfy, breathable, and has excellent moisture-wicking qualities, but these comforters are expensive and difficult to wash. 

To protect your comforter, consider using a cover. An easy-to-wash cover collects dirt and prevents your white colored comforter from staining. If you want to spruce up your bed, you can change or wash the cover.

Still, your comforter requires a wash after some months of use. This is because the outer shell collects dirt and dust. Washing your comforter also refreshes the interior filling to help maintain the natural fluffiness of the bedding. 

Can You Take Comforters to the Dry Cleaners?

When the time comes to clean your comforter, you can take it to the dry clearers. If the manufacturer’s care label on your comforter recommends dry cleaning, follow the instructions. Dry cleaning is a specialized cleaning process for garments using other liquids other than water. Water and harsh detergents damage fabrics such as wool, cashmere, leather, and silk.  

Dry cleaning is an alternative to water, and the process uses chemical solvents to clean fabrics and reduce the risk of damage. Traditionally, the dry cleaning process used flammable liquids such as benzene, turpentine gasoline, kerosene, and petroleum to clean fabrics. Over the years, less risky synthetic solvents such as perc have replaced these earlier solvents.

By dry cleaning a comforter, you avoid some harsh chemicals in detergents that might damage the delicate filling. The harsh laundry detergents strip natural oils in goose down and ruin the fluffiness of your comforter. Dry cleaning preserves fabric for longer and saves you the cost of buying a new comforter. 

During the dry cleaning process, a professional at the laundry service inspects your garments for tears or stains. If they find any stains or tears, the professionals repair the damage and pre-treat them before dry cleaning.

After pre-treating the comforter, the laundry expert loads the bedding into a dry cleaning machine that has a solvent tank and other components. The solvent goes through filters to remove any impurities before reaching your garment. After every cleaning cycle, the solvent goes through the filters to remove the dirt collected from your comforter. 

After cleaning, the laundry professional dries your comforter in a dryer to remove dust mites and kill contaminants. In the final stage, the professional laundry presses the comforter to remove any lumps and give the bedding a neat look.  

While dry cleaning has some benefits, use the washing process if the comforter’s manufacturer instructs so. The solvent used in dry cleaning might ruin the down filling if the care label doesn’t recommend the washing method.

Most comforters are machine washable, and you can comfortably clean the bedding at home. Alternatively, wash your comfy bedding at a laundromat to save time and effort. The commercial washers and dryers at a laundromat handle the bulky bedding easily. 

How Much Does It Cost to Dry Clean a Comforter?

The cost of dry cleaning a comforter depends on various factors. The cost varies from one location to the other, with dry cleaners in bigger cities charging more than in smaller towns.

Another factor that influences the cost is the size/bulk of your comforter. Large, bulky comforters cost more to clean, and the cost goes up if there’s some damage or pre-treatment required. 

How Do You Dry Clean a Large Comforter at Home?

Bed comforter or bed cover on a background

If you don’t want the hassle involved in using a dry cleaning service, learn how to dry clean your comforter at home. Start by confirming the manufacturer’s washing instructions for your comforter.

If there’s a “dry clean only” label, buy a home dry cleaning kit from the local store. In the kit, you’ll find a protective bag and specially formulated cloths soaked in a chemical solvent. Your kit may also contain a stain pre-treatment spray, which comes in handy if you have a stained comforter. 

Before you dry clean your comforter, pre-treat any stains and put the bedding inside the protective bag provided. Put one of the clothes provided in the kit into the bag and zip it as instructed.

Load the comforter into the dryer and set the machine to medium heat. After the dry cleaning cycle, remove the load and take your comforter from the protective bag. To finish the drying process, hang the comforter on a clothesline. 

While dry cleaning is a gentler method of cleaning your comforter, the process can ruin some fabrics. Any fabrics with plastic, polyurethane, or PVC aren’t fit for dry cleaning.  

If your comforter has cashmere or wool filling, avoid dry cleaning because these fabrics will shrink and ruin the feel and look of your comforter. To decide whether to dry clean your comforter at home, read the care tag attached to the bedding.

How Often Should You Clean a Comforter? 

Whether you use a cover for your comforter or not, the bedding collects dust and other allergens. If you use a top sheet, you only have to clean your comforter two to three times a year since the bedding isn’t in contact with your body.

If you love the feel of a comforter and use it without a sheet, clean the bedding every week. Regular washing not only freshens the bedding but also makes it healthier by eliminating bacteria and allergens. 

During the colder winter months, your bed can become cold and affect your quality of sleep. A comforter adds much-needed warmth to your bed to improve your quality of sleep. Washing the bulky bedding maintains its condition and optimizes your sleep experience.

To clean your comforter, choose between dry cleaning and machine washing. Before you choose the method, read the care label provided by the manufacturer. Follow these care instructions to protect your comforter and maintain its qualities.