How to Wash a Duvet: A Step-by-Step Guide

March 29, 2021 | Casper Editorial Team

If you’re like most of us, you probably don’t keep a cleaning chart with the dates you last washed each piece of bedding and when you should do so again. No, chances are you made your bed this morning and realized you haven’t washed your duvet since you bought it. You’ve probably realized you don’t even know how to wash a duvet at all. 

It’s also quite likely that you’re not even 100% sure what the difference is between a duvet and a comforter. But that’s okay because we created this step-by-step guide so you know exactly what a duvet is and how to get rid of allergens and other gunk in the wash.

What Is a Duvet?

You may have heard the term “duvet” thrown around once or twice before, or maybe you’re just unsure if you have a duvet vs. comforter and vice versa. No matter where you find yourself understanding this seemingly complex bedding type, we have a simple answer for you. So, what is a duvet? 

Simply put, a duvet has two pieces — a cover and an insert — and is typically filled with down, wool, or feather. On the other hand, a comforter is one piece and doesn’t need a cover, works as a quilted blanket, and is made of synthetic fibers. It’s safe to say if you have an insert that requires a cover, it’s probably a duvet. 

How to Wash a Duvet

Tools you need to wash a duvet illustration

Before washing, ensure you have all the materials and tools you’ll need to wash your duvet insert. This includes two or three tennis balls and clean socks, a drying rack or clothesline (optional), and gentle laundry detergent.

To get the best results possible, queen- or king-sized duvets should be cleaned in an extra-large capacity front-loading washer and dryer. You’ll often find these larger machines at the laundromat, although they tend to cost a few dollars more than the average size washer and dryer. 

Because not all duvets are made the same, take a peek at the care instructions on the label before attempting a home wash. Some duvets may suggest professional cleaning or special care instructions. Our guide will walk you through the general approach for how to wash a duvet if you choose to do so yourself. 

1. Pre-Treat Stains

To help your duvet look as new as can be, it’s a good idea to pre-treat stains before washing. Look through your bedding to find any small or large stains that need a little more attention. 

This is also a good time to check for any small rips or tears since the goal here is to clean your bedding, not clean the duvet fill out of your washer. 

2. Put Bedding in the Washer

Before putting your duvet in the washing machine, be sure to remove the duvet cover. You’ll want to spread the bedding out as much as possible within your machine, so if you find that you’re shoving it into the machine, you might want to consider taking it to a laundromat for a larger washer. 

3. Put the Tennis Balls in the Washer

Next, put each tennis ball in a clean sock and tie the sock to prevent the tennis ball from coming out. Put these in the washer with your bedding for extra agitation to help remove body oils, sweat, and dirt from your duvet.  

4. Add Laundry Detergent

Use roughly half a normal load’s recommended amount of soap and pour it into the machine’s detergent dispenser. Avoid using liquid softener and bleach, and don’t pour detergent on the bedding itself.

5. Set the Cycle and Run the Washer

To wash your duvet, set the washer to a gentle, warm water cycle. If your machine has the option, include an extra rinse and spin cycle. 

washing machine settings for washing a duvet illustration

6. Remove and Check for Soap Residue

Remove your duvet from the wash and check for any soap residue. If you feel soap residue or see suds, rewash your duvet without soap, or put it through another rinse and spin cycle. 

7. Transfer to the Dryer

Once you’ve ensured there is no soap residue in your duvet, gently remove it from the washer and transfer it to an appropriate-sized dryer. Set the dryer to a low or air-dry setting and begin the drying process. 

To avoid using the dryer, you can also leave your duvet out to air dry on a clothesline or drying rack. 

8. Check the Dryer and Fluff 

While your duvet is in the dryer, check on it periodically to ensure that the fluff is evenly distributed. You may also want to take it out and hand fluff it, while making sure it doesn’t feel too hot. 

It can take upwards of three or more hours for your bedding to be completely dry so plan your day accordingly. You’ll know it’s dry when it feels light and the fill is spread evenly throughout. If you’re not sure that it’s completely dry, toss it in the dryer for some additional time. Similar to drying a pillow after washing, duvets that aren’t entirely dry risk mildew and odor, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

9. Wash the Rest + Make Your Bed

Once your duvet is thoroughly dry, you can remove it from the dryer and get ready to wash your pillows or work on getting your sheets white again. Once all the bedding you want to clean has been washed and dried, you’re ready to put that duvet cover on and catch the zzz’s in your fresh and clean bedding. 

How to Spot Clean 

spot cleaning a duvet illustration

If you’ve found some stains on your bedding that you’re not sure will come out in the wash or if you aren’t ready to commit to a full wash, it may be worth the effort to spot clean. However, because you should use a cover with your duvet, it isn’t as necessary as it would be on something like a comforter. 

To spot clean, you’ll need a clean (preferably white) rag, a gentle stain remover, and a spray bottle filled with water. Once you have these items, you’re ready to follow the steps below. 

  1. Shake the filling away from the stained area so you can focus on the outer fabric covering.
  2. Wet stain and surrounding area with your water-filled spray bottle. 
  3. Apply your chosen stain remover. 
  4. Pat the fabric with your rag. 
  5. Leave it to sit for about 20 minutes. 
  6. Still there? Rub the fabric together or scrub the stain with a toothbrush. 
  7. Repeat this process until your duvet is ready for the wash. 

If you’re spot cleaning without a full wash, continue with these additional steps: 

  1. Once your stain is gone, spray the area with water to remove any remaining soap. 
  2. Use a blow dryer to dry the area or throw your duvet in the dryer to give it some fluff while drying. 

How Often to Wash a Duvet

Because duvets have a cover, the duvet itself doesn’t need to be washed as often as your sheets or other bedding. However, it doesn’t hurt to wash it every few months. If this seems like too much, at least once or twice a year will do. 

We realize you probably want to live in a clean environment, and knowing how to wash a duvet is one part of that. Having a step-by-step guide to walk you through will make it an easier process, and might just get you motivated to learn how to wash your weighted blanket and quilt as well. 

If, after inspecting your current bedding, you’ve decided it’s time for something new, take a look at our collection of duvets. From humidity-fighting fabrics to down alternatives, we’ve got something for every kind of sleeper.