This post was most recently updated on May 1st, 2018
If your down comforter is in need of replacement, don’t spend money on a new one – repair it!
Comforters like everything else wear over time. For one reason or another, sections of a down comforter lose their filling, and are no longer as cozy as they once were.
Maybe your comforter sprung a leak, and some of the down spilled out. Maybe you abused your comforter one too many times, and the down fill broke down into dust.
Whatever the case may be, your comforter just isn’t performing like it used to, right?
It used to keep you warm and comfortable at nights – now it just feels like a heavy flat sheet. And maybe you can’t afford to spend $200 or $300 (or more) for a new one.
Have you thought of repairing it? It’s very affordable, and really easy to do – especially if you know your way around a needle and some thread! You’ll just need to purchase some replacement down fill:
In most cases, you can repair each small section of your comforter for around $5 or so in about 30 minutes of time. That beats spending $300 for a new comforter right?
And if you have a down alternative comforter that’s in need of repair, you can follow this guide as well, just use down alternative fill instead of goose down.
Let’s get started. First let’s figure out how much, and what type of down fill that you’ll need to buy.
How much down do you need?
The replacement down is sold in batches ranging from 1/4 of a pound to 10 pound bags. For most comforters, 1/4 pound is enough to fill 4 individual boxes on your comforter.
What are those boxes?
If you look at your comforter, you’ll see a stitch pattern that creates “boxes” on the outside of the comforter. They’re usually 12″ or 14″ in size. Each box holds its own portion of the overall down inside the comforter:
Comforters are sewn like this to prevent all of the down from clumping up. The box stitching keeps the down evenly distributed.
So how much will you need? There are two ways to figure it out.
1.) If you know the original fill weight of your comforter, then just count the number of boxes on the outside of the comforter. Then divide the fill weight by the number of boxes. That will tell you the fill weight of each individual box.
For example, say your original fill weight was 36 ounces.
And your comforter contains 36 total boxes.
36 ounces of down/36 boxes = 1 ounce of down per box.
If you need to repair 4 individual boxes, then you’ll need 4 ounces of replacement fill.
4 ounces = 1/4 of a pound. So…you’ll need 1/4 lb of replacement fill.
For reference, the containers below each contain 1 ounce of down in the labeled fill power.
2.) If you don’t know the original fill weight, then you’ll have to guesstimate.
Here is a good rule of thumb:
- Lightweight comforters – .5 to .75 oz. of down per box
- Medium weight comforters – 1 ounce of down per box
- Heavyweight comforters – 1.25 to 1.5 oz. of down per box
Again, this is a rule of thumb. You can add a bit more or less to an individual box – it won’t make too much of a difference.
For reference – if you are repairing a down alternative comforter, you can measure the required fill amount the same way. Polyester fill is usually sold in larger batches (a few pounds at a time).
What fill power do you need?
Once again, the answer can be really simple, or you’ll have to take a guess – but it’s not rocket science either way.
If you know the fill power of the down fill in your comforter, then just purchase the same fill power. Simple!
If you don’t know or don’t remember, it’s OK. Even if you replace the down fill with a lower or higher fill power, you probably won’t even notice a difference – especially if you’re just repairing a few individual boxes.
Here is a good rule of thumb in figuring out the correct fill power to purchase:
- Lightweight comforters – 500-550 fill power
- Medium weight comforters – 550-700 fill power
- Heavyweight comforters – 700+ fill power
For down alternative comforters, fill power isn’t necessary, as polyester fill does not have a measurement for thermal properties. Polyester fill is all equal – unless you’re using premium stuff like Primaloft. But even then, it’s all the same grade.
We figured out the weight, and the fill power of the down that you’ll need. Now let’s look at how to actually repair your comforter.
How to repair and fill your comforter – 4 easy steps:
1.) Prepare the correct amount of down that you’ll need per box.
2.) Make an incision.
3.) Fill the box.
4.) Sew it back up
Prepare the correct amount of down that you’ll need per box
A kitchen scale, if you have one, can be really convenient for this. Measure out the correct amount that you’ll need for each box that you’ll be re-filling. Place the down in a container.
Down clusters are just like dried dandelion petals. It doesn’t take much to send them all blowing away!
Make your incision
Using a razor blade or X-Acto knife, make a cut on one side of the box, being careful to not puncture through the bottom side.
You don’t necessarily have to cut the entire length of the box, just enough so that you can insert the down fill into it.
Fill the box
Before you fill the box, make sure the down clusters are loosely separated and not clumped up. Then just fill up the box with the appropriate amount of down.
If you’re filling it up with polyester fill, the same process applies.
Sew it back up
You’re almost done. Now you’ll just need to sew up that opening. Don’t worry about making it look perfect – especially if you use a duvet cover. Focus on closing the incision completely so that none of the replacement down fill leaks out.
When you’re done sewing it up, give it a few fluffs to make sure the seam is tight and fully closed.
That’s it. You’re done!
A DIY comforter repair at home is a simply way of saving hundreds of dollars!
Replacement down usually sells for about $20 or so per 1/4 lb. That’s usually enough to repair around 4 boxes on an average comforter. Which means that each box will cost you about $5 or so to repair!
Compared to spending hundreds on a new comforter – that’s quite a bargain.
If you aren’t too handy with a needle and thread, don’t worry. A local seamstress can do the job for you. It might cost a bit more – maybe $20-$25 or so – but it’s still worth it.
A comforter – if well taken care of – should last anywhere between 10-15 years. Repairing it yourself is an easy way of getting the most out of a down comforter.