How to Care for Comforters

May 16, 2023

Now that the weather is warming up in Boston, it’s the perfect time to do some spring cleaning. When was the last time you washed your bedroom comforter? Comforters don’t need to be washed weekly like sheets, but they do tend to accumulate dirt and dander, especially if your furry friends like to lay on them or even sleep under them. So how do you clean your heavy bedroom comforter? 

cat sleeping under a big comforter

Your Washing Machine May Not Be Big Enough

The obvious answer to how to clean your comforter would be to throw it into the washer. Right? Well, if you happen to have a large capacity washing machine with a bulky cycle, then, by all means, wash it. (Be sure to check the label for specific care instructions first.) However, most standard machines we use at home are too small to wash a large heavy comforter. You may have to take it to a local laundromat or dry cleaner nearby

How to Machine Wash Your Comforter

If you do have a washing machine big enough to fit your comforter, then check the care label before attempting to wash it. Some comforters come with a temporary label, so it is important that you save it.  If there isn’t a dry clean only warning, then it should be safe for machine washing.

You may need to pre-treat stains before washing, especially if they are older or set-in stains. If there are no specific instructions for water temperature on the label, opt for cold water and a delicate setting. It is also a good idea to use slightly less detergent than recommended since it can be harder to rinse the suds from the delicate fibers. In addition, it is a good idea to wash bedding of matching colors at the same time so that the color of the comforter doesn’t fade more than the shams, for instance.

How to Dry Your Comforter

Once your comforter is washed, drying can be tricky. Because some comforters may have delicate or intricate fabrics or designs, you would need to shake off excess water before placing it in the dryer. Always dry on the lowest heat setting and remove immediately to avoid wrinkling. Make sure the comforter is completely dry before storing it to prevent mold or mildew.  You can store comforters in plastic containers and keep them in climate-controlled areas of your house.

If you’re unsure if your comforter is washable, or it won’t fit in your washer or dryer, take it to Utopia Cleaners. Take advantage of our free laundry pickup service. We would be happy to pickup it up from your house, clean it, store it during the summer season and deliver it back to you next winter!

Shrinkage of comforters

The other day, a customer asked “I washed a comforter that shrank. What happened?”


Well, some natural relaxation shrinkage can show up after cleaning household items such as comforters, bedspreads, and blankets. There is usually a fullness of the backing or shell fabric, causing a puckered appearance. Also, any piping borders, quilting stitches, and seams may be rippled or distorted.

Although many factors can contribute to this type of shrinkage, the major cause is the original fabric not being properly preshrunk or stabilized before the article was constructed. When this occurs, the latent strains of relaxation will appear during any acceptable care procedure.

Some slight shrinkage (approximately 2-4 percent) is to be expected on all household items, but on properly cleaned items that shrink excessively, the manufacturer should be held responsible.

Color Fading in Comforters

Unfortunately, comforters, quilts, bedspreads, and other household items can sometimes fade during dry cleaning. In most cases, the surface color has a streaked or frosted appearance. There may also be an overall lightening or complete change of color. Sometimes this type of color change or fading may not be noticeable until the bedspread or comforter is compared with other matching components in the bedroom ensemble.

Fading of this kind occurs when the dyes or pigments applied during manufacturing are not colorfast to dry cleaning solvent. Unfortunately, as dry cleaners, we have no way of knowing whether the dyes will fade during acceptable cleaning procedures.

bedding and comforter cleaning

When you bring in a comforter or bedspread for cleaning, tell us that you want it tested for color fastness prior to cleaning regardless of the label. Testing should also be done to determine which care process laundering or dry cleaning would be safest for the color. In some cases, bedspreads that cannot be dry cleaned may be laundered safely. However, there are bedspreads and comforters, especially prints, that cannot withstand washing or dry cleaning procedures without fading.

If tests show that the colors may fade, you will need to decide how or if you want us to clean the bedspread, which may result in fading of the colors. If you decide you still want it cleaned, you should have any matching components cleaned as well to ensure that the color will be consistent. You will need to sign a release. Most of all, you should remember that once a bedspread or comforter has faded, the colors cannot be restored.

Save time for more important things! Let Utopia Cleaners help you care for your household items. Just call our laundry pickup and delivery service at 617-247-8886 or email