A DoItYourselfRV reader asked:
Need help, we have a tiffin phaeton and want to know if the comforter can be machined washed? Of course there is no tag. All these motorhomes comforters are pretty delicate looking.×
How to Tell If You Can Wash It at Home
The company that makes an item usually has to list only one way to clean it. If the comforter says ‘dry clean only’, then you should dry clean it.
If the label says simply ‘dry clean’, dry cleaning is just the recommended method of washing, and you could also machine or hand wash it.
As a general rule, these are the fabrics that should be dry cleaned:
And those that can be washed in your RV or at home:
Test the Fabric First
It’s OK to machine wash most down-alternative comforters. Since yours doesn’t have a tag on it saying that machine washing is safe, it’s best to do a couple of tests first.
Dip a Q-tip or cotton ball into a bit of mild detergent and dab it on a hidden piece of fabric. The inside of a seam is a good place to check this.
Check to make sure no color comes off onto the cotton ball or Q-tip.
Next, check that there’s no detailing on the comforter that could come out during the wash process. The care label sometimes has the words ‘exclusive of decorative trim’.
When they make the comforter, the company sometimes outsources the trim pieces (lace, beads, etc.) to a different manufacturer. The wash label only refers to the main fabric and not this ‘after market’ trim.
The important thing here is that these trim pieces are stitched on and not just glued. If you see stitches, you should be OK. Also make sure the trim fabric is color safe by using the Q-tip or cotton ball test above.
How to Wash the Comforter By Yourself
Once you’ve decided that you could save a few bucks by washing the comforter yourself, consider the below.
- Go to the laundromat. If you decide to machine wash the comforter, take it to a local laundromat instead of cramming it inside your personal washing machine. Even a large sticks and bricks washing machine will compress the fluff inside. Use cool water and the gentle setting.
- Buy a gentle detergent. Never use bleach as it may damage the fluff inside or the outer decorative fabric.
- Avoid using the dryer. If possible, let the comforter air dry (Note: this may take a long time). If you must use the dryer for time reasons, set it on the coolest temperature. You might also want to put a few clean tennis balls in the dryer to help ‘fluff up’ the comforter. Overstock.com also says not to use dryer sheets as they will leave a residue on your comforter.
- Consider hand washing the comforter. A full size bath tub would be the best place as it’s clean and large enough that you won’t have to smash the inner fluff during the washing process.
While you can clean your RV comforter by yourself, it can be a pain.
Many RVers don’t like the hassle of dealing with the bedspread that comes with their RV.
They’ll make sure it’s clean, place it in a big plastic garment bag, and store it until they sell the rig. This way you won’t have to pay for dry cleaning or wash it yourself.
If you do routinely use a comforter, make sure to place a sheet in between your body and the underside of the comforter. Even if you take a shower twice a day, your skin releases natural oils while you sleep.
Over time, these oils and tiny flakes of dead skin will dirty the comforter. It’s much easier washing a single sheet than a big, fluffy bedspread!