You're making the first steps in an effort to improve your sleep habits. You’ve established a nightly routine and set a regular bedtime. Now you want to invest in some down bedding to keep you cozy all night long. While a bedtime routine quickly becomes habit, your down bedding is going to need a little mindfulness on your part to ensure the level of comfort you need to keep you snoozing through the night.
Quality bedding is an investment in both comfort and style. But like any investment, it is important to know what you’re getting for your money, and how well you treat your comforter can be the deciding factor in longevity. The key to extending the shelf life of your down is to avoid damaging it. If you can do that then that comforter will be keeping you warm for years.
Know What You’re Buying
There are plenty of down comforters, down pillows, down blankets, and more out there on the market, but they aren’t all luxury, or even well-made bedding. To know that you’re getting a down comforter that will last, there are a few things you want to look at:
- Construction: If you want to keep your down from clumping, you need a well-constructed comforter. Look for bedding where the top and bottom layers of the comforter have been sewn together in horizontal and vertical lines to form boxes that range from 4-18 inches. This design, called Sewn Thru Box construction, is the ultimate in eliminating down shifting in the comforter.
- Fabric Shell: With down, the fabric that makes up the shell is also critical. It’s what keeps your bedding’s fill from leaking out in the night and, if you aren’t using a duvet cover (which we recommend to prolong the life of your comforter), it’s what you’ll be in direct contact with through the night. You want a fabric with a tight weave, to keep down in place, and higher thread count, for a smooth touch.
Treat It Well
Once you have the right down comforter, you need to establish some ground rules to keep them safe (and bust some poor sleep habits you may have picked up through the years). The bed is where you sleep. Not where you eat or drink. It is not a snack table or somewhere the kids can color. Take steps to keep your new comforters free of spills and other stains.
Shake your comforter out every day (or at least once a week) to restore loftiness and use a duvet cover to extend the lifespan of your down and protect it from wear. If you prefer not to use a cover, make the bed up with a top sheet. This protects the down from skin oils and moisture. Without it, you are exposing the down material to mildew and oils that can ruin it.
Think of it as a pillowcase for your comforter. You can wash a sheet or a duvet cover regularly without worrying that you may be damaging your bedding
When you do need to wash your down, which should only be about once or twice a year, DIY is best. The chemicals used in dry cleaning can actually strip the oils from down leaving it less lofty than before. But that doesn’t mean you can just throw your comforter in the wash and be done.
- Place your comforter inside a front-loading washing machine (It might be necessary to take it to a Laundromat to use an industrial-sized machine).
- Set the machine to the gentle or delicate cycle.
- Add a small amount of mild dish detergent. Regular laundry detergent or too much soap will damage the down.
- Let the machine run through the rinse cycle twice to ensure all the soap is out.
- Dry the comforter on low. It will take longer to get the moisture out, several hours, but be safer for the material.
When it feels dry, shake it out and hold it up to the light. If you see clumps, there is still moisture inside. Put it back into the dryer until the down is spread evenly though the blanket. A couple of tennis balls in the dryer with the comforter helps keep the down from clumping, too.
When well-cared for, quality down comforters can last a lifetime. Proper handling and the right washing technique are all it takes to extend the life of your comforter.