Yesterday, while Baden, Colleena and I were sitting at the table, enjoying some coloring time, Lily decided to curl up on Baden's bed. She looked at some books, wrapped herself in Baden's blankets and fell asleep. It was so sweet! The only downside to Lily putting herself to bed for a nap was that she was not wearing a diaper... Yup, you might be able to guess where this is going! She peed all over Baden's bed. Now, I am no fool, and one thing I have learned for sure as a parent of young children is that every bed in the house, even ours, should have a waterproof covering. The bed was fine. The problem is that Baden's blanket is a queen size, white, duvet.
It used to be on our bed, before we bought a king sized bed, and I used to have it dry-cleaned on a regular(ish) basis. A few months ago, Baden discovered it on the linen shelf and claimed it as his very own "marshmallow blanket". But, I don't have the money to dry clean it this week, and I had to wash the pee out..soooo I headed to google to see what I could find.
I found several sites that say it's possible, though not advisable, to wash your duvet at home in the machine. Basically they all said to check the tag, and wash it ONLY if the tag did not read "dry clean only". Ok, I have to admit here that I have always been skeptical of dry clean only. I mean, why is a garment dry clean only? Is it so poorly constructed that it will fall apart in my machine? Will it shrink? Whats up with that? I generally avoid clothes marked dry clean only, or if I do have them, I have always washed them anyway. Gasp! I'm such a rebel! Well, I decided I would check the label, out of curiosity to see what it would say, only to see that I had already ripped it off at some point. Oh well!
I decided to give it a try anyway. After all, it's not like I could leave it unwashed, and I had nothing to lose. I don't care that much about the duvet ( which is probably obvious given the fact that I gave a white duvet to my seven year old son!), and if it got wrecked, I could live with that fact.
So, after the necessary warnings, the next step in the instructions is to make sure you do not use regular laundry soap, but to use a gentle, no suds variety. Haha! My homemade stuff will fit the bill nicely!
Next, make sure your washing machine will be able to handle the sheer bulk of a duvet. Well, I have a ginormous machine I bought because we have a large family. The queen sized puff fits very nicely, still with room to spare!
Then, wash on gentle and run an extra rinse if possible. Check and check.
Now, according to numerous internet sites, drying is actually the main reason it's difficult to wash a duvet at home. You have to make sure you dry it thoroughly so the feathers don't moulder, but you can't use too high a heat either. Line drying is not advisable since the feathers can clump together and leave the blanket lumpy and hard. "They" say you should put a tennis ball, or some such object, in the dryer to help fluff the duvet and dry it evenly. Well, since we can't use dryer sheets at our house, I have always used those little spiky dryer balls anyway... suits the bill I'd say!
Ok, yes, I had to dry it for a loooooong time, and I had to keep taking it out and fluffing it, bunching it back into the dryer in different ways so that there wouldn't be any still wet spots in the middle of the blanket. But you know what? It worked. There are no feathers flying around my laundry room, no terrible thing happened to the blanket, and it didn't cost me anything to wash it at home. Just a nice clean, fluffy white blanket I can hand back to my son :)