How to wash a duvet like a pro: expert tips on what to do (and what not to do)

Person wrapped up in their duvet
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Learning how to wash a duvet is something we should all be doing, and for more reasons than one. Doing so can reduce allergens, kill dust mites, rid unsightly sweat patches and leave your sleep space looking and feeling more comfortable than when you first found it. If you've invested in one of the best duvets, you'll want to keep it clean and hygienic. 

We know that washing a duvet might seem like a monumental task. But that's why we spoke to cleaning experts to understand how you can do so easily and from the comfort of your own home. So no matter whether you've got a synthetic fill duvet or old-school feathers, we grilled experts for the best tips and tricks on how to wash a duvet. Keep scrolling for a happier, healthier and more hygienic sleep space…

Or, if you're in the business of upgrading your sleep setup, head to our best mattress guide or best pillow ranking for a rundown of our top picks. 

Can you put a duvet in the washing machine?

Yes, it's possible to wash a duvet in the washing machine. However, this comes with a caveat. "Standard washing machines can wash most duvets," Ava Wilson, chief editor at expert cleaning website Unclutterer, tells us. "But it depends on the duvet's size and the machine's capacity."

Plus, different types of duvets (be it feather, synthetic or wool) require different care. "Natural fillings like down and feather need a gentle cycle and mild detergent," Ava explains. "Synthetic fillings can usually withstand a regular cycle," she adds. "So always check the care label for specific instructions."

Woman putting laundry into a washing machine

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How often should you clean your duvet?

The majority of advice states that you should be washing your duvet every 3-6 months and this is something Ava agrees with. “However, it depends on your usage and personal preferences,” She says. “More frequent washing may be needed if you sweat a lot, have allergies, or if the duvet gets stained.”

However, Chris Tattersall, sleep expert and managing director of bedding company Woolroom, believes you should really be washing your duvet once a week. "It's important to wash your duvet once a week as you'll be surprised by the quantity of dead skin, sweat, body oils and dirt that build up over time, all of which are the tastiest foods for dust mites," he says. That will be overkill for the vast majority of people, though. 

According to one study, washing your laundry at 55C or greater will kill dust mites and allergens from bedding.

And, if you suffer with eczema or asthma, washing your duvet more regularly could help alleviate any symptoms you may have. To get an idea of how much washing your duvet could help improve your sleep, you could always take a quick look at our guide to the best sleep trackers.

How to wash a duvet

... in a washing machine

  • Check the care label – There are rules of thumb, but ultimately you want to defer to the manufacturer's guidelines. Make sure it's suitable for machine washing.
  • Remove the duvet cover – This should be washed separately.
  • Load it into the washing machine – Be sure not to overfill the machine, or it won't wash evenly.
  • Use a gentle cycle and mild detergent – Check the care label for any specific washing instructions, including the temperature it's suitable to wash at. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Dry – If possible, air dry. If not, most duvets can be tumble-dried on low heat (again, check the care label).

... by hand

If your washing machine is unable to hold your heavy duvet, according to Wilson, you can wash a duvet by hand. To do so, Wilson recommends the following: 

  • Fill a bathtub with warm water and mild detergent
  • Submerge the duvet into the warm weather and mild detergent mix and gently agitate
  • Drain the tub and refill with clean, warm water to rinse
  • Press out excess water
  • If you don't have access to a tumble drier, air dry your quilt on a line with some direct sunlight

How to wash a wool duvet

One reason why some sleepers prefer wool duvets is down to its self-cleaning qualities. "It naturally keeps bacteria and dust mites at bay, meaning washing is not necessary," Tattersall explains. 

Not all wool duvets are machine washable. So before washing, remember to refer to the care label. "However, if you want to wash your duvet to keep it looking fresh from any spills, I recommend washing it at 40 degrees, on a wool cycle with wool detergent which will do the trick." Air dry outside if possible.

How to spot-clean a duvet

If you're in between washes, but have noticed a small stain or spilt something on your duvet, instead of throwing it in the washing machine, you could always try spot cleaning the area. 

"For small stains, spot cleaning can be more convenient and less damaging to the duvet," Wilson says. "Use a mild detergent and warm water to treat the stain. Gently rub the area until the stain is gone, then rinse thoroughly."

Duvet being shaken out

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What are the common mistakes to avoid?

According to Wilson, common mistakes include: 

  • Not checking the care label – Washing it at the wrong temperature can damage your duvet, shortening its lifespan
  • Overloading the washing machine – This can put a lot of strain on your washing machine, and your duvet won't wash properly either
  • Using too much detergent or bleach – this could ruin your duvet
  • Washing or drying at too high a temperature – this could cause them to warp or shrink

Can you dry clean a duvet?

There are specialist services dedicated to cleaning duvets in a safe way. However, most duvets shouldn't be dry cleaned because they use chemical solvents instead of water. While dry cleaning your clothes is fine, these chemicals can be harmful in duvets which are close to your mouth and nose as you sleep. 

For even more ways to keep your sleep space clean, discover our guide on how to wash a pillow and how to clean a mattress. Or, if your quilt is past the point of return, upgrade your sleep with one of the best duvets

Why should I wash my duvet?

You might already wash your bedsheets, use one of the best mattress protectors to shield your bed from stains, spills and bed bugs and pop your pillows in the washing machine. But most people forget about their duvet.

"Maintaining a clean duvet is essential for ensuring good hygiene, reducing allergens, preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and creating a healthier and more comfortable sleeping environment," says Tattersall.

"We sweat up to half a liter to a liter every night while we sleep, therefore regularly cleaning your duvet prevents the build-up of these particles, as well as house dust mites," Tattersall adds. 

Ava Wilson
Ava Wilson

Ava Wilson has more than 25 years experience in the cleaning industry. She is Chief Editor at cleaning website Unclutterer, and enjoys nothing more than educating others about all things related to cleaning. 

Chris Tattersall
Chris Tattersall

Chris Tattersall is a Sleep Environment Expert and managing director of bedding company Woolroom. He has been developing and selling sleep related products since 1997, and is passionate about highlighting the importance of what we sleep on, under and in, by raising awareness about how certain fiber types can impact our sleep.

Becks Shepherd

Becks is a lifestyle journalist who specialises in writing about wellness and home products, from mattresses to weighted blankets and cooling comforters. She loves a good pillow for drifting off easily at night, as well as a snug duvet for cozier sleeping.