Spring Cleaning Winter Comforters To Extend Their Life
As the days grow warmer and windows are opened to welcome the spring breezes, many people will begin deep cleaning their homes – donating unneeded items, scrubbing every nook and cranny, and packing away winter items to make way for lighter, airier pieces. “Spring Cleaning” should include Spring cleaning winter comforters, which have spent the last several months gathering dirt, sweat, dust mites, and other allergens.
How can you make sure your bulky bedding is actually getting clean and prepared for storage? The first step in any laundry endeavor is read the label. The manufacturer’s label will provide guidelines for the particular fabric you’re washing. To ensure your winter comforter is ready for hibernation, follow these tips from our laundry experts:
Start with Stain Removal
Since hot water and dryer heat can set stains, it’s important to treat any stains on your comforter before washing. Treat all stains with your stain remover of choice, and be sure to allow at least 15 minutes for it to work before starting the wash process. If you’re not sure how to remove a stain, never fear, Martha Stewart has created an online guide for removing some of the toughest stains.
Next, Proper Washer and Dryer Usage
The main reasons we suggest using a large capacity washer for comforters are that overloaded washers can cause soap buildup, which can lead to irritation to the skin, burns on your fabric where soap has built up, and a shorter life of your fabric. They can also cause the machine to be unbalanced, creating wear on your washer’s bearings and also result in an incomplete spin leaving your comforter wet and heavy.
When loading a front load washer, allow room for the washer to do its job. You should be able to place a football between the top of the comforter and the top of the washer. Proper loading will give you a fall of 11 and 4 – meaning the comforter will rise to the 11:00 position in the washer and fall to the 4:00 position when wet. This fall is the same principle as beating clothes on a rock and will ensure your comforter is getting washed and not just wet.
Some other washing machine tips:
Typically, comforters are washed with a mild detergent on the delicate cycle, but double check (and follow) the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Use the correct amount of detergent. More detergent does not mean your comforter will be cleaner; it can actually cause a buildup that could burn or discolor the comforter when it goes into the dryer.
Select the hottest temperature recommended on the label to ensure germs and dust mites are eliminated.
The extra rinse cycle offered on commercial machines ensures complete removal of soap residue.
When it comes to drying, air flow is what essentially will dry your comforter, and heat will speed up the process. Overstuffing the dryer decreases airflow, causing the outside of the comforter to get hot and the inside of the comforter to stay wet. A properly loaded dryer means you can see the top half of the back of your dryer. Set the temperature to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Other drying tips:
- If you are drying a down comforter, add tennis balls to help increase airflow and speed up the drying process.
- If you have the time and space, hang the comforter on a clothesline after removing from the dryer to eliminate any dampness and freshen up the fabric even more.
Final Step: Storage
Before storing away for the spring and summer, make sure the comforter is completely dry. Always store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. A cotton bedding bag will allow your items to breathe while protecting from dust and moisture. These can be stored under your bed or in a trunk, bench, drawer, or closet. If space is limited, consider using a vacuum seal bag, where you zip the bedding in the bag and suction the air to reduce the overall footprint to make storage even simpler. When next winter arrives, give your comforter a good fluff and enjoy your fresh, clean bedding. There’s nothing better!
Since washing a comforter in your home machine is not recommended, bring yours to a Spot laundromat where the machines are large enough to do the job right. You can even let the professionals at Spot Laundromats do the dirty work for you with our drop-off and pick-up services at one of our locations in Maryland and West Virginia.