LAUNDRY 101: How to Wash Down Coats and Bedding

Whether you have down-filled comforters, sleeping bags, winter jackets, pillows, or all of these, the right cleaning steps will ensure they stay silky soft and freshly scented.

1. Check labels to be sure your down goods can be machine-washed. Check pillow and bedding seams for durability, and mend any shaky seams. For puffy coats, fasten all zippers and empty pockets.

2. Choose a normal wash and spin cycle (unless otherwise noted by the care label), and add detergent.

3. Submerge items when washer is half full and balance the load by adding a few same-colored towels. Stop the washer occasionally to press air from items.

4. Tumble dry on low with dryer sheet that provides softness and a light airy-fresh scent, plus static protection. (Always check care label for drying instructions before you start, to be sure that your fabrics can be machine dried and at what temperature.) Tip: Include a few clean, dry towels to help speed drying, and toss in some new tennis balls or clean tennis shoes as well to plump the down.