How to Clean Mildew from a Down Comforter


Kathy asked us: “how do you clean a mildewed down comforter? The down comforter was in storage and got wet from a water leak. The cover (not a duvet) has many mildewed spots. Is there any way to salvage it?

Down comforters are extremely warm and durable, making them an excellent option for keeping warm during the winter months. If your down comforter has been damaged from mildew while in storage, there may be a way to salvage it, depending on the level of damage.

Can It Be Saved?

When determining if it is possible to can clean mildew from a comforter, consider these points:

  • Is the mildew only a few spots on the cover of the comforter? If there is a small amount of mildew and it is only on the cover, you may be able to remove them following the guidelines found below along with the washing instructions found here in How to Clean a Down Comforter.
  • Is there a substantial amount of mildew on the cover (but it has not gotten inside)? In this case, it may be salvageable, but you will likely require the cleaning services of a professional. Consult with a local dry cleaner who is experienced with down to discuss possible cleaning options. Ensure that they will be able to remove the stains on the cover without damaging the down inside.
  • Has the mildew gotten into the down feathers? If this is the case, the chances of removing it are next to impossible. Consulting with a professional cleaner is still an option, but in most cases, it will need to be replaced.
  • Removing Mildew from a Down Comforter Cover

    What You Will Need:

    • Bleach/hydrogen peroxide/vinegar
    • Water
    • Cotton swabs
    • Spray bottle (optional)
    • Soft cloth

    The Removal Process:

  1. Isolate the selected area and gently raise the cover in that area so that it is away from the down filling as much as possible.
  2. In a small dish, mix a solution of one part bleach/hydrogen peroxide/vinegar and two parts water.
  3. Use the cotton swabs to carefully apply the solution to the affected areas.
  4. If larger areas are present, the solution can be sprayed on, but take extra caution to ensure that it does not penetrate into the down filling.
  5. Allow the stain to soak in the solution for a few minutes.
  6. Gently scrub the area with a soft cloth.
  7. Rinse with a clean cloth moistened with plain water.
  8. Repeat as necessary until the stain is removed.
  9. When the stain is removed, wash and dry the entire comforter following the steps found at How to Clean a Down Comforter or have it dry cleaned.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Keep in mind that general treatments for mildew (hydrogen peroxide and bleach) are damaging for down feathers, so ensure that cleaning products do not penetrate and/or damage the feathers.
  • If you are weary of removing stains yourself, consider having a professional dry cleaner who is experienced with down complete the job.


  1. I think the black binding on a quilt has some mildew starting, but I can’t use bleach so guess I will rinse it in vinegar and see how it looks after.

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