Fluffy filling in a comforter keeps you warm on even the coldest of nights. Unfortunately, time and improper care both create clumps in the inner material, making the bedding lumpy in some areas and too thin in others. Whether the filling is down, a down alternative or other material, a daily shake-down quickly realigns you comforter's stuffing to keep it feeling plush and cozy. If the comforter is machine washable, dry it with dryer balls or tennis balls to keep the stuffing loose.
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Shake It Up
Grab one end of the comforter and shake it firmly a few times to redistribute its filling. Start at the end that feels the most clumped or bunched up, grabbing the comforter's outer fabric without grasping the filling inside, so it can move freely. Move to the opposite side of the comforter and shake it again. Repeat the process until you've shaken the fabric from all four sides. Perform this ritual every day when making your bed to keep the filling loft as high as possible. Doing so makes the bedding feel warmer and more comfortable as your body warms the air between the fibers, down or feather. Once you've fluffed your comforter, avoid sitting or lying on top of it as this may crush the filling over time.
Fresh and Smooth
Drape the comforter over an outdoor clothesline on a day full of sunlight but low in humidity. Leave it in the sun for an hour or two. A good bake in the sun dries out any moisture that's trapped inside the comforter and freshens it up. Trapped moisture causes comforter filling to clump, and drying it out helps make the lumps easier to remove. After its sun soak, lay your comforter on a clean, smooth surface, such as a hardwood floor, and smooth it with your hands. Run your hands over the fabric in various directions to break up any clumps you feel. Flip the comforter over and repeat the process.
Launder Out Lumps
Read the comforter's care tag to determine if it's machine washable. If so, wash it in a large-capacity front-loading washer when it's soiled, selecting the gentle cycle and mild laundry detergent. Follow the washing instructions, and select an extra spin cycle to remove as much water as possible. Skip the washing and drying if the tag indicates the comforter is not machine washable.
While it's tempting to toss the comforter in a top-loading washing machine, the agitator inside may twist, contort and otherwise damage the comforter, especially if the bedding barely fits in the machine. A commercial front-loading washing machine, such as the type found at a laundromat, is your best option.
After washing, shake the comforter out to loosen any clumps and then place it in a large-capacity dryer -- ideally a commercial dryer -- along with two tennis or dryer balls. Use the lowest dryer setting possible and check the comforter's progress every 30 minutes. Verify that it's not too hot and refluff its filling. If it feels too hot in some areas, select a lower heat setting. Do not store the comforter or place it back on the bed until it's completely dry. Drying a comforter is time-consuming but important, especially if the comforter contains down or feathers that cling tightly to dampness. When the comforter is completely dry, keep it in good shape by sliding it into a duvet cover for extra protection against dirt and moisture.
Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.