Caring for Comforters

Although bedspreads and comforters are mostly used during the cold winter months, many people also use them year round to spice up their bedroom. They are available in a myriad of styles and colors and can be quite costly. Unfortunately, these bedroom favorites are not required to come with affixed care labels, making it more difficult for you to care for them.

Making sure your bedspread or comforter lasts begins at purchase. Read all care instructions prior to purchase. Care instructions may be found on a temporary label, a hang tag, or on the packaging. If you have any questions, feel free to check with us before you buy.

If possible, make sure the bedspread has been preshrunk. Shrinkage of 2-3% can easily occur after cleaning if the fabric was not properly stabilized in manufacturing. This may cause the spread to not fit properly or appear much too small.

Make sure down or fiber-filled bedspreads are well-quilted. Preferably, quilting stitches should run both vertically and horizontally with quilting lines about 8-10 inches apart. Also check the strength of the stitching. Poor construction with loose stitching can allow the filling to shift during a care process.


Check the content label to see what type of batting the bedspread uses. Some bedspreads and comforters contain wool batting, which can shrink and distort if machine washed.

Many bedspreads and comforters contain a special glazed finish called chintz to give them a special sheen and luster. Unfortunately, many of these finishes have a limited durability to cleaning procedures. Once removed, the bedspread fabric may take on a dull, chalky appearance and become susceptible to pilling (the formation of small balls on the fabric surface).

Another problem you may experience is distortion of the filling due to the presence of heat-sensitive fibers. This problem presents itself as noticeable puckering or shrinkage after acceptable washing or drying.

Comforters and bedspreads may also experience shrinkage after a care process. Shrinkage can result if the item was not preshrunk during manufacturing, or if the item contains wool batting or heat-sensitive fibers.

  • Follow the care instructions carefully.
  • Tailored and quilted bedspreads, as well as comforters that are too large for home machine washing, should be taken to your professional cleaner.
  • Clean or launder all matching or coordinated items (pillow shams, dust ruffles, curtains) together to ensure that any color loss will be uniform.
  • Before cleaning, inspect the comforter for cuts, tears, or weak areas. A quilted article becomes quite heavy when immersed in solvent or water and, during cleaning, these small rips, tears, and holes can enlarge.
  • Clean spots and stains quickly to prevent permanent damage to the textile and color.
  • Remember that light exposure, atmospheric conditions, and time alone can affect dyes and cleaning performance.
  • Zip-on covers can be purchased to help protect down comforters. These covers can easily be removed for regular cleaning and slipped back on.

If in doubt about cleaning a comforter, check with us. Through adequate testing and expert cleaning procedures, we can prevent many of these problems.