It's subtle, but the comforter is getting dirtier every night. It collects sweat, skin flakes, and other debris with every tossing and turning. But before deciding to wash the comforter, carefully check the laundry symbol tags on the comforter.
There's a good chance the tag says to dry clean a comforter. Then, how long does it take to dry clean a comforter? It takes three to four hours to dry clean a comforter, whereas a machine wash takes relatively less time.
Despite that, why must a person dry clean a comforter and not simply have it machine washed? Read further to know why dry cleaning a comforter is a better option.
What Is Dry Cleaning
Dry cleaning is gently cleaning a garment with an organic solvent without using water. The absence of water while laundering is the reason why it is called 'dry cleaning.' Most dry cleaners use a chemical solvent like perchloroethylene, or perc, to remove stains and debris from the fabric.
Dry cleaning is for materials that require gentle cleaning. Materials like wool, silk, or cashmere that may not survive the machine wash and harsh detergents (even the mild ones) can distort their shape or cause dark colors to fade.
That being said, why should a person dry clean a comforter?
Should You Dry Clean a Comforter
The care tags determine the method of washing for the comforter, and there's a high chance that a comforter is dry clean only. And even with a wide range of comforters, all from cotton, silk, and wool, the company may recommend dry cleaning to preserve the fabric and its fluffiness.
However, unlike cotton or wool, which may get damaged in the washer, some comforters do not necessarily require dry cleaning since each material has its maintenance process. Then what about the down comforter? Can you wash a down comforter?
The answer is yes, you can. However, it must be done correctly, with mild detergent and in a commercial washer and dryer. Or else it could potentially get damaged.
The Dry Cleaning Process
Dry cleaning is a process without water that preserves the material, so can I take my comforter to the dry cleaners? Yes, getting the comforter professionally dry cleaned is much better than doing a half-baked process at home.
All things considered, how long does dry cleaning typically take? Although, it may take a few days before a person can pick up their comforter from the dry cleaners. However, even at the dry cleaners' it takes around three to four hours to complete the whole process. The process is composed of five detailed steps.
A professional dry cleaner inspects the whole thing before starting with the dry cleaning. The examination is to keep an eye out for additional stains, loose threads, tears, and holes that the customer is unaware of and to look for the care labels that come with most of the comforters. These labels give precise instructions for the right cleaning method.
The stains found during the inspection are manually spot cleaned. Since the spots may not come off immediately after washing, spot cleaning lifts the stains before the thorough cleaning.
After the spot cleaning, it's time to dry-clean the comforter. During this process, the comforter is placed inside a special drum. It is a dry cleaning machine with five special parts: a solvent tank, a solvent-distributing pump, filters, and a housing cylinder, which assist in dry cleaning. As previously mentioned, a chemical solvent is added to the tank, which removes dust, mites, and bacteria.
The next step after dry cleaning is to dry the comforter at a specific temperature as per the care label's instruction. The drying temperature usually ranges between 77 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is too hot, it may damage the comforter; and too cool may cause it to wrinkle.
After the whole cleaning and drying, the comforter is examined once again for any tears, holes, and loose threads. They are then mended, pressed and neatly folded, and covered in plastic.
How to Properly Machine Wash Your Comforter
As mentioned before, machine washing takes fewer hours than dry cleaning. A washer requires one hour, while dry cleaning requires three to four hours. However, there are a few tips and measures to remember for the safety of the comforter before roughly tossing it in the washer.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
Spot cleaning manually before the thorough wash guarantees the bold stains won't permanently settle. Baking soda and vinegar are the best spot cleaners.
First, lightly coat the stain with distilled vinegar and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Next, sprinkle the baking soda over the vinegar-coated area and leave it for an hour or more. Lastly, vacuum off the baking soda.
Is your Washing Machine Huge?
The comforter needs to fit into the washer and dryer comfortably, with some room to spare for it to tumble around. Otherwise, it may not get cleaned or dried properly. Besides, the comforter's filling may get compressed as well.
And it's worth noting that if the comforter needs to be forced into the washer, better make a trip to the nearest laundromat instead. They usually have commercial-sized front-loading machines and extra-large dryers.
Wash Your Comforter on a Delicate Cycle
The delicate setting of the washer will prevent the beddings from tumbling around aggressively, and the extra rinse cycle will remove any remaining debris, body oil, or soap residue. This will maintain the shape and fluffiness of the comforter.
Avoid Washing Your Comforter in Hot Water
Hot water washing is notorious for shrinking fabrics. Besides, the care tags usually recommend either washing in cold or warm water.
Tennis Balls or Wool Dryer Balls
There's a high chance for the comforter to wrap itself into a ball during the drying process. Placing three tennis or wool balls into the dryer with the comforter prevents that from happening.
Dry Your Comforter on a Low-Heat Setting
Although the low-heat drying will take a few hours, it will prevent the comforter from getting damaged. And after the low-heat drying, hanging the comforter in a sunny area will get rid of any remaining dust mites.
That being said, how often should you wash your comforter? Since everyone sleeps differently, the washing requirements depend on the usage of the comforter.
If the person uses a duvet, the comforter must be washed/ dry cleaned several times a year. But if the person does not use the duvets, the comforter must be washed every two to three weeks.
To get a long-lasting and clean comforter, one must follow the meticulous instructions on the care tags. And although it may take a few days for the comforter to be dry cleaned, it essentially takes just three to four hours to dry clean a comforter.
However, if dropping and picking up from the dry cleaners seems like a job, machine washing is also an option. But only if done correctly by incorporating the above measures, in which case it requires a lot of patience and time. And if not properly cared for, the comforter could get damaged and need to be replaced, costing a lot more than the dry cleaner's.