How To Wash Your Comforter When It Is Too Big For Your Washer

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

It's important to wash your comforter about every 2-3 months to maintain good sleep hygiene, but having to wash a large comforter can really pull a wet blanket over your weekend plans — especially if it's simply too big to fit in your washer. A standard washing machine can usually accommodate a twin or full-size comforter, but queen and king comforters require a larger capacity machine. If you've ever tried to wash a massive comforter in a standard machine, it probably didn't take long to realize — and hear — that mistake. All that banging and squeaking is a not-so-gentle reminder that overstuffing the washer is a bad idea. Plus, overstuffing won't clean effectively and could seriously damage your machine. 

A professional laundromat may be the best solution for cleaning oversized comforters, but if you're short on quarters or determined to get the washing done at home, rest assured that it can be done. All you'll need is a bathtub, some detergent, and a bit of elbow grease! By opting to wash your comforter by hand, you can accomplish this essential chore without breaking your washing machine or your piggy bank. Here's the step-by-step guide for how to wash your comforter in the bathtub.

What you'll need to wash your comforter by hand

The easiest way to wash your large comforter at home is to do so in the bathtub. However, if your home only has a standing shower, you can also use a large plastic bin. It's best to do this on the floor of the shower or outdoors to avoid damage from any major spills and make draining and clean-up as simple as possible. Essentially, you'll need: 

  • A bathtub or large plastic bin
  • A water source
  • Laundry detergent
  • A place to hang dry the comforter outdoors

For the best results, use an ordinary liquid laundry detergent, such as Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day from Target or All Free Clear from Amazon. A powder detergent can work as well, but liquids tend to do better dissolving and mixing evenly with the washing water. 

Prepare the bathtub

First, make sure the tub is clean and ready to use, then plug the drain and fill the tub about 2/3 of the way with warm water. The water should be hot enough to effectively clean and remove built-up oils, but not so hot that you'll scald your hands or strip the fabric dye.

Add detergent under faucet

You truly only need about one teaspoon of laundry detergent per gallon of water. A half-full tub is about 40 gallons, so this equates to a little less than one cup of laundry detergent needed to wash your comforter. Add the cup of laundry detergent under the running faucet so that the soap can dilute throughout the water. As you're waiting for the tub to fill, take a moment to examine the comforter and spot clean any stains. 

Submerge the comforter

Submerge your comforter in the water, pressing it down until the entire blanket is thoroughly soaked. If needed, you can add more water to the tub now that you know the general volume of the comforter. You won't want the tub to overflow, of course, but make sure there is enough water for the blanket to float in.  

Scrub and wash the comforter

Now that you've soaked your comforter, give everything a good scrubbing with your hands. As you're working the soap into the fibers, keep massaging, turning, and twisting the comforter, being careful not to get too tangled up. You can think of this process like kneading dough!

Drain the tub and rinse

After washing for several minutes, pull the drain stopper and let the tub drain out completely. If you notice that the water is very grayish, yellowish, or has visible dirt particles, you may want to repeat the wash with soap until the water drains more clear. After draining, refill the tub and rinse the comforter with cool, clean water to remove any lingering detergent. 

Remove the comforter and dry

When the water runs clear, you're ready to remove your comforter from the tub. Flip and press your comforter a few times to squeeze out excess water. Here's a helpful tip: place an empty plastic bin near the bathtub before getting started so that you can transfer the wet blanket into the bin and avoid dripping all over your floor. If you have a dryer, you could machine dry your comforter at this point, but if it doesn't fit in your washer, it will likely overload a standard dryer too. 

Instead, consider hanging your comforter to dry. The ultraviolet light from the sun has sanitizing benefits that will make your comforter extra fresh and clean. The best time to wash your large comforter at home is on a bright sunny day, when you can hang the duvet outside from morning until evening. It may take up to 24 hours for it to dry completely, so be sure to check your weather forecast and get started early!

How often to wash your comforter

In general, comforters don't need to be washed as often as sheets because they won't come in direct contact with your skin for several hours every night. With that being said, you may need to wash your comforter more often if you frequently lie on top of the bed, sleep without a top sheet, or sleep nude, as this will expose the blanket to more natural oils. The same goes if you have pets that often sleep in the bed with you. Ideally, you should aim to wash your comforter every 2-3 months with ordinary use. If you feel that your comforter gets soiled faster because of pets, for example, then washing every other month should be sufficient. An easy way to remember would be to schedule a wash once per season, roughly four times throughout the year.