A lot of people regularly wash their duvet covers along with the rest of their bedding. However, many forget to wash the duvet itself, and can go years without washing it.
Duvets should be washed every few months, or at least twice a year. If you don’t wash your duvet, dust mites and their droppings will accumulate, as well as dead skin cells and bacteria.
A study by the University of Worcester found that old, unwashed duvets can harbour up to 20,000 dust mites!
Many people assume that duvets are too large to be put in a regular washing machine, and therefore need to be washed and dry cleaned professionally.
But can you actually wash it in your washing machine at home?
The short answer is, it depends. Read on to learn if you can safely machine wash your duvet.
Can You Machine-Wash Your Duvet?
There are three main factors that determine whether or not a duvet can be machine-washed.
1. Care label
First of all, take a look at the care label on your duvet. It should tell you whether or not the duvet is machine washable, and may give some indication of the size of washing machine you need.
If it doesn’t say it’s machine washable in words, look for the tub symbol, which means you can wash it in the washing machine.
2. Duvet weight and size
Consider your duvet’s weight and size. Large, thick duvets will take up a lot of space in a washing machine, and may not fit safely.
The larger and heavier your duvet, the bigger washing machien drum capacity you will need to cope with it.
3. Washing machine drum capacity
The drum capacity of your washing machine refers to how much dry laundry you can put in the drum.
Most washing machines have a drum capacity between 6 and 12 kg.
As a rough guide, washing machines with the following capacities should be able to cope with the following types of duvet:
- 6 kg – A single duvet
- 7-8 kg – A single or double duvet
- 9 kg – A single, double or queen-size duvet
- 10 kg or more – A single, double, queen-size or king-size duvet
However, you should exercise caution, especially if your duvet is thick. If the duvet takes up more than three quarters of the drum, this means you have overloaded the washing machine, which is a bad idea. In this case, you should take it to a launderette or instead.
How to Machine Wash a Duvet
Before following the steps below, make sure you’re certain that your duvet is machine-washable and your washing machine is big enough to handle it.
1. Stain removal (if applicable)
If your duvet has any stains, make sure to apply stain remover directly onto the area before putting the duvet into the drum.
2. Load the drum
When putting your duvet in your washing machine it is important to leave enough space in the drum so that the duvet is able to move around during the wash cycle.
If there’s a lot of space left over, add some other items such as towels to balance the load.
3. Select the right settings
Check the duvet’s care label for the exact temperature to use. Usually, duvets should be washed at a warm temperature, but not too hot. 60°C will kill bacteria that has accumulated on the duvet.
Add an extra rinse cycle if you can. Otherwise, you may find that the detergent hasn’t been rinsed out thoroughly enough.
Choose a gentle cycle with a slow spin speed. High spin speeds could damage your duvet and cause the washing machine to shake a lot since the heavy duvet will unbalance the machine somewhat.
How to Dry a Duvet
After the wash, it is important to dry it thoroughly. The best way to do this is to leave it in sunlight for as long as possible so as to thoroughly kill the micro-organisms.
The best way to dry a duvet in winter is to put the duvet in your tumble dryer on a low heat and place a tennis ball in the drum with it, so as to prevent the duvet from going lumpy.
To make sure you have removed any remaining bacteria and mites that have survived the wash, run an iron over the duvet.
It is important to remember that if your duvet states that it is ‘dry clean only’ you cannot wash your duvet in a normal washing machine, as it could ruin the efficiency of the material used in the duvet.
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