Whilst most duvet covers are cotton, the filling can be made out of a variety of very different products including feathers silk, hollowfibre and down. Consequently, just as is the case with clothes, there is no hard and fast rule for how to care for and clean all duvets.
Before going into any more detail and whilst we’re happy to pass on the benefit of our experience, we do have to issue the obvious caveat: ALWAYS CHECK THE LABEL!
Silk duvets, for example, rarely need a thorough wash as they don’t retain bacteria or sweat. Removing targeted stains with soapy water and giving them a natural drying and airing should suffice. Hollowfibre duvets in contrast do need to be properly washed and dried on a more regular basis. Down duvets sit somewhere in between on the washing frequency scale.
Most duvets are pretty sizeable and so a professional dry cleaning service is often recommended. They have both the washing and drying equipment required to get the job done quickly and efficiently. Although always make sure that they’re intending to wash them and not use chemical solvents – these are damaging to the environment and you really don’t want to be breathing them in all night either. Please note that we would not recommend dry cleaning silk duvets.
Dry cleaning can be expensive – if you’ve got synthetic duvets it may well be cheaper to buy a new one each time rather than get them washed regularly.
Washing at home?
It is possible to wash your duvet at home if you have a washing machine big enough and the duvet is no bigger than double duvet or single duvet size. The chances are that it will have to be the only item you wash in that particular cycle and it’s imperative that once it’s clean you allow it to dry thoroughly before using. We’d recommend a low heat to dry it out slowly. Once it’s dry, give it time to have a good airing, preferably outside, and give it a generous shake before putting the cover on. Read our article here about how to get the best results for washing down and feather duvets – Anyone for tennis?
It’s up to you how often you think your duvet needs a clean but we’d recommend every 6 months or so on average. Much more often though if you suffer from dust-mite allergies. For allergy sufferers, all bedding should be washed at 60 degrees, so check the duvet can be washed at this temperature when you buy it.
The cover will protect it to a degree but it won’t completely shield it from dust and other dirt. If you change your duvet with the seasons ie you switch from a summer to a winter tog, then that’s as good a time as any to give it a service.
Another thing to consider is flipping your duvet every so often ie once a month. It’s not dissimilar to a mattress in that it will remain more uniform and last longer if it is rotated on a regular basis.
Assault on Allergies
Whilst on the subject of hygiene, for feather and down duvets I also look out for NOMITE and DOWNAFRESH labels, as this means these products have been prepared with high density fabrics to form a natural barrier to dust mites and the filling has been previously washed with water and dried to meet the highest hygienic requirements in line with European standards. Duvets with these accreditations can be found in John Lewis, The White Company and House of Fraser amongst others.
Don’t forget the most important thing to remember when caring for your duvet : ALWAYS CHECK THE LABEL!