Washing bulky items like comforters, bedspreads, blankets, pillows, jackets, and coats may seem like a daunting task at first. However, if you follow the tips outlined below, the task will seem much easier and you'll be able to wash these items more frequently, thus avoiding the buildup of dust mites and other allergens.
Read Your Care Label Before You Begin
Although many people ignore care labels, they are there for a reason. If the label says "dry clean only," you would be wise to follow this guideline or risk damaging your bulky items and having to go to the expense of replacing them. Likewise, if the care label says no hot water or dry on low to medium heat only, you should heed these instructions.
Use a Mild Detergent
Many regular laundry detergents contain bleach and/or other chemicals too harsh for washing bulky bedding. The fillings in large bedding items, in particular, will often be damaged if you use regular laundry detergent. This is especially true for down filling.
Pretreat Stains While Still At Home
Because bulky items do not move around as much as smaller items during the washing process, it is very important to pretreat any stains. It is easier to do so before you arrive at the laundromat and this will give your stain fighting solutions a chance to soak a bit before you start the wash. A very effective natural and economical stain remover that will not harm your bedding is a solution of one part baking soda and one part plain white vinegar. After mixing, apply liberally to the stain and let the solution set for at least thirty minutes before washing.
Select "Extra Rinse Cycle" and Use Less Soap
One problem that many people have when washing bulky items is finding the items are still soapy at the end of the wash. Selecting an extra rinse cycle will help remove this soap from your bulky items. It also helps to use less soap. A single teaspoon of soap is really all that is required to get your bulky items clean, especially if you pretreat stains.
Use the Biggest Washing Machines Available
A huge advantage to washing bulky items at the laundromat instead of doing so at home is the availability of larger machines! By using bigger washing machines, your items will be able to move around more freely, allowing the soap and water to be distributed more evenly. This also allows more washing force so your items will come out cleaner. Your filling will come out fluffier too as smaller machines tend to compress the filling.
Repair Any Holes In Your Larger Items Before You Wash Them
Larger items like comforters and blankets often get small holes. This can be due to a sharp toenail poking through while you turn in your sleep or the thread coming lose at a seam. If you wash a bulky item that has a small hole in it, there's a good chance that the washing and drying process could turn this small hole into a larger hole. Therefore, it is a good idea to examine your larger items before you take them to the laundromat and patch any holes you find with a needle and thread.
Load Your Bulky Items Evenly
Loading evenly is very important in both the washer and dryer to ensure your bulky items come out clean and undamaged. One way to ensure you do this with bedding is to grasp all four corners of the item with one hand before you load it. While your bulky items are drying, it is good idea to stop the process every 15-20 minutes, temporarily remove the bulky items, and then reload them in a different position.
Be Absolutely Sure To Dry Thoroughly
If you leave bulky items even slightly damp, mold can easily develop before they dry out naturally! Do not take this risk and err on the side of "over-drying" when it comes to bulky items, especially if you plan to fold your items and store them away at home as this will make it even harder for them to dry out naturally.
Use Tennis Balls Or Dryer Balls In the Dryer
Putting two or three tennis balls or dryer balls in the dryer with your bulky items will help keep them fluffed up and moving around better so they dry more evenly and don't get dryer burn. If you use tennis balls, don't use the hottest setting as the rubber in the tennis balls may begin to break down. You can get dryer balls that are designed so you can put a few drops of your favorite essential oil such as lavender oil or rose oil so your bulky items will smell great!