IKEA Down Comforter Question: Will it get obliterated in the wash?
May 6, 2014 9:12 PM   Subscribe

Last year, I bought a $20 synthetic MYSA STRA (warmth rate 1) comforter from IKEA. It fits perfectly inside my duvet, but it became a lumpy mess the first time it was washed. Granted, I only wash the comforter a few times a year, but still... it's a lumpy mess. I'm tempted to try the down MYSA VETE comforter, but I'm worried it'll also become a lumpy mess after one wash. I've never owned a down comforter before. Surely some of you own it. I'd appreciate any thoughts. Is it worth $90?

The care instructions say:
"Machine wash ,hot 140°F (60°C).
Use 1/3 of the normal amount of detergent when washing.
Do not bleach.
Tumble dry, normal."

So, clearly, it can be washed... but will down become a lumpy mess, or is that more of an issue with synthetic fill?
posted by 2oh1 to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Did you try rewashing it and then air drying it with lots and lots of intermittent fluffing during the drying? In my experience the lumpiness is because dryers are too small.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:24 PM on May 6, 2014

Okay, sorry - the edit window isn't working for me, but I wanted to clarify that I misread your question. So just adjust my answer in terms of your future down comforter. Yes, they can be washed. The drying can be tricky.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:26 PM on May 6, 2014

In not sure about washing it because I just don't. I air it only. But my issue with the mysa vete is that it rustles. It is really loud whenever you turn over or move. I think it's because the filling is partly feathers as well as down and the stalky bits of the feathers make noise when they slide around. I would probably buy the synthetic one if I could go back and change my mind.
posted by lollusc at 9:27 PM on May 6, 2014

I was just about to ask whether you'd been washing it at home--or at a laundromat with the giant dryers, which is where I always learned to wash such things. I don't have one of those, but currently I do my comforter at the laundromat and run it through the dryer with pauses every six minutes (one quarter's worth) to rearrange the thing.

That said, if you've already got a duvet cover on it, I never washed mine while I was using a cover, I always figured the whole point of the cover was to keep from having to do that.
posted by Sequence at 9:32 PM on May 6, 2014

I have never washed a down duvet. That's not necessary unless you aren't using a duvet cover or spill something on it. Buy a new one and don't wash it.
posted by amaire at 9:35 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: "...or you spill something on it."

Indeed. The "or" is the point. There are times when a comforter needs to be washed, few and far between though those times may be. But my question isn't about why I had to wash it. My question is, will the down comforter I linked to become as lumpy after a wash and dry as the ultra-cheap synthetic one did? The care instructions say it can be washed and dried, but I'm not convinced. Air drying isn't an option.
posted by 2oh1 at 9:47 PM on May 6, 2014

Look, it comes down to how you do it. You can wash it, if you do it right, neither the synthetic filling nor the down filling will get lumpy.
Here is a nice writeup.
posted by travelwithcats at 9:51 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

You need to wash down comforters in a large washer with a couple of tennis balls in the machine. Then you tumble dry on a heatless or lowest heat setting with those same tennis balls in the dryer. This prevents the clumping.
posted by elizardbits at 10:02 PM on May 6, 2014 [8 favorites]

Instead of tennis balls, use a new pair of store-brand Keds ripoff shoes. The stomping in the dryer is loud as shit, like insanely loud, but it stomps the duvet even as it fluffs, giving you a pretty even fluff-stomped texture. If you only have an apartment-size dryer, do it at a laundromat or a friend's house.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:08 PM on May 6, 2014

I hate synthetic duvets and these days I only have down ones. The kind where you can feel the stalks of the feathers inside.

I disagree that you never need to wash duvets if they have a cover on. My duvet cover is thin cotton, and sweat etc. most certainly is going to soak through the cover and get into the duvet over time. I wash my duvets at the end of every winter, before storing them.

So yes, they certainly can be washed without going lumpy like the synthetic ones do. I wash mine by itself in a normal, domestic washing machine with gentle liquid detergent, shake vigorously and dry flat over a line outside. If line-drying isn't an option, putting the duvet in a large commercial dryer by itself and removing to shake every so often should do the trick.
posted by Salamander at 10:57 PM on May 6, 2014

I've found lumpyness to be a big problem in top loaders, but less in bottom loaders.

If you are handy, I would just use first one, and sew some lines to keep the filling in place.
posted by troytroy at 11:05 PM on May 6, 2014

My grandmother, while ill, *needed* to wash her down comforter several times. We took it to be dry cleaned, at a reputable dry cleaners (not a laundromat) and it was fine. No lumps. So that's always an option too.
posted by jrobin276 at 11:32 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've owned down and feather filled comforters for years, and have never had any trouble washing and drying them. They generally have "pockets" or "compartments" sewn in the them already, to stop the feathers from settling down the bottom of the comforter like a sausage, thus roasting your feet while your shoulders freeze. You can line dry them, but they dry fluffier (and faster!) in a drier, especially with something else in there to bounce around as previously mentioned. I don't have any comforters from IKEA, but I do have a feather and down pillow that rustled a lot when it was new, but the rustling did stop (I didn't notice when). Some synthetic filled thing wash fine, and some don't. I'm not sure what dictates washing success, having had comforters and pillows of differing qualities and price points randomly be fine, or go all clumpy in the wash. I think feather or down are a lot more forgiving, over all.
posted by Kaleidoscope at 1:36 AM on May 7, 2014

The only time i ever did this with a down comforter and had it come out ok, i used a really REALLY large commercial dryer. Like, one of the ones you could sit down inside of and not even really have to lean forward or curl up much.

be prepared to pump in most of a roll of quarters, while the thing runs on the lowest setting. i feel like it took something on the order of maybe 3 or 4 hours to dry, i forget. I watched the better part of a season of a tv show on my laptop so it might have been even longer.

I have never, ever unlumped a synthetic comforter(or most pillows for that matter, grrr). Down comforters are easily unlumped though in my experience through fluffing+air as mentioned above with the shoes/tennis balls/etc in a large enough dryer.
posted by emptythought at 2:32 AM on May 7, 2014

I've had several Ikea down comforters, but I'm not sure of the models. I've always washed and dried them at home with no special treatment and haven't had any issues with them becoming lumpy messes. Our washer and drier are nowhere near laundromat-sized.
posted by jshort at 3:28 AM on May 7, 2014

Agreeing with tennis balls or dryer balls. You need something in there to fluff the innards of the comforter during the dryer cycle. I had a down jacket once and tennis balls mentioned in the cleaning label. Worked on both my jacket and comforters.
posted by PJMoore at 9:17 AM on May 7, 2014

I washed a couple of IKEA feather/down pillows this week, following the instructions you listed. Then I put them on the feather setting (who knew such a thing exists!!!) in my domestic dryer for one cycle. They were very fluffed up but not dry after that and I just took the fluffed up pillows and let them air dry on my airer. Very nice fluffy pillows and all clean now. I would not hesitate to wash my IKEA duvet should the need arise and I'd fully expect it to come out nice and lump free.
posted by koahiatamadl at 12:18 PM on May 7, 2014

My question is, will the down comforter I linked to become as lumpy after a wash and dry as the ultra-cheap synthetic one did?

I have the IKEA down comforter one level up and it washes and dries beautifully. Front loader washer and big front loader dryer. I use half the normal amount of normal detergent and no dryer sheet. Takes a while to dry, and you just fluff in between and/or use the tennis ball trick. I wash mine about every year or so. I wash the duvet cover at the same time as the sheets.

I'm on my second IKEA down comforter in 13 years and I am a huge fan. I'd never go back to synthetic. I think synthetic lumps because those little strands tangle and melt.
posted by mochapickle at 6:54 PM on May 7, 2014

We have one of those Ikea comforters. We also have a (much more expensive) German goose down comforter that is so thick it makes our mattress look twice as tall as normal. We use the lighter weight one in spring and fall, the heavy one in the depths of winter. We have never had issues with either getting lumpy, but we don't wash them at home. Instead, we watch for local dry cleaning specials; the place down the street from us did a $30 comforter deal a while back so we got both cleaned for a very reasonable price. We found it best to wash at end of season, then store the clean comforter in the dry cleaning bag until next fall.

We do also have a smaller down blanket from Ikea. It's more of a throw blanket than anything, but it fits our son's child-size bed, so he used it the last two winters. Because it is smaller, we have thrown it into the wash at home. It always comes out fine. Once dry, a few good shakes gets rid of any uneven spots and fluffs up the down again.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:30 AM on May 8, 2014

"I have never, ever unlumped a synthetic comforter"

Fluffing won't help, you have to kinda rip the lumps apart while not tearing the shell. If you do it long enough (and I mean watch-TV-while-you-do-it-long-enough) it will be usable again, though maybe not as fluffy as it originally was. If it fails the human-fluffiness-test use it as a pet bed or make a draft stopper.
posted by travelwithcats at 6:29 AM on May 8, 2014

Response by poster: "I'm on my second IKEA down comforter in 13 years and I am a huge fan. I'd never go back to synthetic. I think synthetic lumps because those little strands tangle and melt."

I think you're right.

Following the advice above, I spent some time ripping the clumps apart in my current synthetic comforter, and hey, it worked well enough for now. Granted, I'd tried that before, but this time, I really put some serious effort into it. Like I said... it worked well enough for now, but eventually, I'll spring for the Level 1 down version.
posted by 2oh1 at 3:35 PM on May 9, 2014

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