How To Whiten A Yellowed Down Comforter?

Comforters are heavy pieces of bedding that add a layered look to your bed. They're thick and fluffy. It's not tough to see why many people love them. However, they can yellow over time. If you need help reviving the color, we have some suggestions!

There are a few ways you can tackle the issue. The method that guarantees results will take more effort on your part.

On the other hand, the alternative approach will require a big enough washer.

Regardless of the method, you'll need three items: hot water, detergent, and a laundry booster.

Before you start the process, it's essential to know why a comforter becomes yellow over time. This way, we know what's causing the problem. Once we find the culprit, we can tackle the issue with the correct tools. To learn more on this topic, keep reading.

Warm and confortable folded white quilt on white, How To Whiten A Yellowed Down Comforter?

Whitening A Yellowed Down Comforter

There's a noticeable problem with cleaning a comforter. It's a large item! Thus, some people may have to put in more effort to clean one. 

However, the important question is, what exactly are you cleaning? If you've attempted to clean it before, there probably wasn't any color change afterward. There are many factors at play here. 

The yellowing is a surface-level symptom of a bigger problem. We can attribute the color change to years of dirt build-up.

New mattress sheets, comforter and pillows

Why Comforters Turn Yellow

Dirt build-up is a vague term. But, it includes a wide variety of things that can cause color changes in your comforter. Some culprits are not easy to avoid.

For example, you can consider sweat as an offender for yellowing comforters. Sweating is a natural body function. It's an aspect that's out of your control. 

However, other offenders are within your control. Many people use body lotion or creams to maintain soft, moisturized skin. Those products end up on the comforter as you sweat and turn around at night. 

There are also other factors to consider. Maybe you let pets lay on the bed. Babies are also repeat offenders who unintentionally make the area dirtier. 

In any case, the crucial point is that there are many sources of dirt. Some are within our control while others aren't. The type of dirt also matters. We're dealing with years of sweat, body oils, etc. Therefore, using bleach alone won't solve the issue. 

Tackling the Issue

The problem with comforters is their size and thickness. Its size makes it difficult to clean manually or through a machine. In addition, its thickness means there's dirt deeply embedded inside the fabric. 

We'll need some tools to drive the dirt out. As mentioned, three products can help in our case. Hot water is a natural way to release deeply embedded dirt. 

However, hot water alone can't tackle all of it. Therefore, we'll also need a detergent and a booster. Using these three will hopefully let the comforter regain its white color. 

Let's start with the more labor-intensive and accessible method.

Cleaning The Comforter Manually

Woman's hands washing white color clothes in the basin

We'll need a large enough area to do our work. The two preferable areas for this job would be a bathtub or a large enough utility sink. Fill either one halfway with hot water. 

Add half or a full cup of a laundry booster to it. OxiClean and borax are two universally loved options. 

Click here to see this product on Amazon.

Click here to see this borax on Amazon.

Don't forget to include your preferred detergent. One or two tablespoons of it should suffice. Before you start, put on a pair of large gloves. Wear clothing that protects your skin too. 

Click here to see these gloves on Amazon.

You're working with products that are irritating to the skin. Some are potent enough to dissolve fingernails. Therefore, it's not a job you can do with your bare hands. 

Soaking the Comforter

Take the comforter and start working it inside the bathtub/utility sink. You want to saturate the whole thing with detergent, laundry booster, and hot water. This way, the dirt inside can rise and come out of the comforter. 

Squishing the comforter in the sink is another way to agitate the deeply embedded dirt. In any case, don't stop working it until the entire thing is soaked. 

Then, leave the comforter in the tub for an hour or more. Check on it periodically. Since there are years of dirt build-up, most of it is bound to come out. The color of the water might change drastically. 

Depending on how much the water changes, drain the tub. Refill the tub with clean hot water, detergent, and laundry booster afterward. You may need to repeat this process as you wait. 

The longer you wait, the more time you let the detergent and laundry booster do its work. Keep this in mind to determine how long you should keep the comforter in the tub. 

Rinsing the Comforter

Now it's time to rinse the whole thing. Start by draining the tub. Then, rinse the entire thing with water to get most of the detergent out. Grab a trash bag and put the comforter inside. 

Transfer it to a dryer. Put some dryer balls inside to help fluff the comforter again. How long you dry depends on the size of your comforter.

In any case, your comforter should look as good as new again!

Using A Washer

folded laundry on a washing machine

If you're fortunate enough to have a roomy washer, you can do the final steps a bit differently. You'll have to follow the same process of rinsing the comforter in the tub. But, once you finish letting it sit in there, transfer it to the washer.

Use a trash bag to do this. This way, water won't drip all over the floor. You don't have to rinse it before you transfer it over. At this point, the comforter is soaked with water, detergent, and laundry booster.

Therefore, you won't need to add more of these products once it's in the washer. Run the machine on a hot or warm water cycle. This step focuses more on getting rid of the detergent and booster. 

It's less labor-intensive because you won't have to rinse it in the tub by hand. Once the cycle finishes, transfer it over to the dryer. Of course, include some dryer or tennis balls to encourage fluffing. 

Can I Bleach a White Comforter?

Bleach is a common product that many people love to use. It whitens, brightens, and removes a variety of stains. There's a way it goes about doing this.

It converts dirt into colorless, soluble particles. This process helps detergents and water do the rest of the work. Since bleach is handy in other loads of laundry, would it help in whitening a comforter? 

Unfortunately, it won't help in this case. As mentioned, the yellow color comes primarily from body oils and sweat. Bleach doesn't react well to sweat stains. 

In the worst case, it can make the stains worse. More specifically, it can make them yellower than before. Though, this negative effect is relevant to chlorine bleach. 

Oxygen bleach is less destructive and more effective for removing sweat stains. If you're using OxiClean to whiten your comforter, you're already using a form of bleach. It contains 50-60% active oxygen bleach.

pouring some bleach

Can You Put a Comforter in the Washing Machine?

The answer to this question depends on the size of the washing machine. Most comforters will do fine in a washer. However, you'll need enough space to clean anything inside efficiently.

Unfortunately, most comforters won't fit inside without cramming them. If this describes your situation, it would be better to go to a laundromat instead.

Jamming the comforter into the washer isn't recommendable, as you'd be compressing the filling. So, some areas will get exposed to water and detergents. But, some sides won't receive the same treatment.

In Closing

Warm and confortable folded white quilt on white

It hurts seeing a white comforter turn yellow. What was once a bright addition to your bed is now a reminder of how dirty it can be. Fortunately, there's a way to regain the brightness it once had. Hopefully, the method above works for your situation.

Before you go, do you have other laundry concerns? Are you considering mixing white with black clothing in the washer? To learn more on this topic, check out:

Can You Wash White With Black?

Are you struggling to whiten your carpets? We can also offer advice in that area. For more information, check out:

Can You Bleach Carpet To Make It White? [And How To]

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