It's not uncommon to be under our doonas cursing the early morning starts, so the idea of washing that life-sustaining layer may seem outrageous. But you gotta — it’s dirty.
Though sheets offer some protection from your body, your doona is still picking up all your sweat, skin flakes, and other microbes every night as you thrash around, according to Reviewed. A duvet cover needs to be washed regularly as well, if that’s how you choose to protect the doona underneath, but it’s still a good idea to do the whole thing regularly.
They recommend washing your doona at least once a month, and definitely before you put it away for the summer. Moths are more likely to eat it if it’s filthy, which is a very gross thing I just learned. I’ve rarely washed my doona because I fear turning it into a soggy mess, but there is a way to do it safely.
Check the tags
Your doona likely has cleaning instructions on its tags, and you should check those first. Some are so fancy they’re dry-clean only, and you should adhere to that. I’d say check the tags when you purchase your doona, because who wants to take it to the dry cleaner? But respect whatever those tags say, or risk ruining it. There may be specific temperature settings for the washer or dryer as well, and that’s important.
Patch up holes
You don’t want the stuffing inside to escape in the wash - it’ll ruin both the doona and possible the machine. So, patch any holes where bits and pieces have been leaking before you start this whole process.
Give it space
Don’t try to cram anything else in the washer with your doona. There should be enough room for it to move around, so water and soap can reach everywhere. If you’re working hard to push the whole thing inside, it won’t get clean. Take it to the laundromat, where there’s a entire range of machine sizes and usually a nice bench to sit on and reflect.
Reviewed recommends the delicate setting and cool water, unless those all-important tags indicate otherwise. The other exception is if you have dust mites (ew help), which are killed by temperatures of 50C or more. Most people probably do, because the mites thrive in humid conditions (such as bedding), according to the Mayo Clinic.
You should also be using a small amount of gentle detergent intended for delicate materials. Then add two tennis balls. This is supposed to help balance the load, so place them apart from one another.
The tennis balls will follow the doona to the dryer — assuming your doona is dryer safe. Dryer balls will also work to keep the doona from getting bunchy, but you still have to check on it regularly. Set the heat to low, and check every 20 minutes or so to fluff it out so the filling settles evenly. You don’t want a big lump on one end. Most doonas bite the dust after three to six years, so don’t be too precious with them. Better to live with a clean doona for less time than sleep under a foul one for a decade.