As we approach Autumn and temperatures start to drop, we start to think about changing our lightweight duvet for a heavier tog. Many of us will just store our Summer weight quilt in a cupboard without a thought to clean it before we put it to one side until next year. In fact, according to research, over 97% of us in the UK who use a duvet have never washed it!

It may not have occurred to many of you that our duvets and pillows need to be washed and this is an opportune time as we’re doing the seasonal changeover.

Why Should We Wash Your Duvets and Pillows?

There are numerous reasons why it’s important to wash your duvet and pillows:

  1. To keep your bed healthy. We perspire and produce around 200ml of liquid onto our bedding every night,often causing staining and discolouration to the outer casing. In addition, we shed dead skin providing the perfect feeding ground for dust mites. It’s estimated that as much as 10% of the weight of the pillow is composed of human skin, mould, dust mites and their droppings!
  2. The filling in your pillows and duvets can start to clump together, especially feather and down and this can cause the duvet to lose it’s natural loft and feel thinner.
  3. Laundering can breathe new life into your duvet and pillows and expand their lifespan.
  4. A free smelling pillow and duvet is essential to a good night’s sleep.

How to Wash Duvets and Pillows

Before you think about washing your duvet and pillows, you must check the care labels and follow the guidelines given by the manufacturer. Make sure that your washing machine has a large enough drum to accommodate larger quilts. Do not overstuff your machine. There should be room for detergent and water to circulate evenly. If your machine isn’t large enough, then use a launderette.

Top Tip: Squeezing air out of pillows will enable you to wash two at once in your machine.

Before you wash anything, you should take the time to check the seams on your pillows and duvets are intact and there are no holes in the casing. This will ensure that the filling cannot escape and clog up your washing machine, potentially causing some serious damage.

Top Tip: Place your pillow in a pillowcase before washing to avoid snagging the filling.

Your choice of detergent is important. If you are cleaning a duvet or pillow with a natural filling then use an enzyme free detergent as regular detergents remove natural fat from feathers and reduce their natural fluffiness and loft.

If the manufacturer’s care instructions permit, wash your pillows and duvets at 60 degrees C to kill bacteria and dust mites. Run the rinse cycle twice to ensure all detergent is removed.

Drying is Key

Dry on a low heat and remove items from the dryer every 20 minutes and give them a good shake. This prevents the filling from clumping.

Top Tip: If possible, use dryer balls when you tumble dry your pillows or duvets. These help to distribute the filling evenly and make the duvet/pillow light and airy.

If you’re planning to dry your duvet/pillow outside avoid direct sunlight as this can tenderise the fabric and create holes.

Once the product is dry, it’s worth airing it outside or tumble drying with cold air. It’s important that pillows and duvets are dried quickly and not left to dry naturally over a couple of days to avoid the build-up of mould and mildew. Natural fillings, particularly, can hold onto moisture and start to rot. Keep products in a ventilated area for a few days after drying so they can completely dry before they are stored away.

Duvets and pillows that have been dry cleaned should be well aired to get rid of any residual fumes.

How Often Should We wash Our Duvets and Pillows?

It’s recommended that you wash your duvet and pillows at least once a year and preferably twice. It advised not to launder more often as this can cause unnecessary wear and tear.

Top Tip : investing in pillow protectors is an additional measure to prevent dust mites getting onto your pillow. These are easily laundered with all your other bedding.