Last Updated on April 13, 2023
Comforters like everything else, of course, wear over time.
For one reason or another, sections of a goose-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, to sum up, your comforter just isn’t performing like it used to, right?
It used to keep you warm and comfortable at night – now it just feels like a heavy flat sheet. And maybe you can’t afford to spend $200 or $300 (or more) on 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 you’ll need to buy.
How much down do you need?
Replacement down is sold in batches ranging from 1/4 of a pound, for example, 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, for instance, 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 the goose 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.
If You Know The Original Fill Weight
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.
If You Don’t Know The Original Fill Weight
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. Don’t use mending tape, specifically, the goose down will singe!
That’s it. You’re done!
A DIY comforter repair at home is a simple 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. This 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.
Additionally, 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.
14 thoughts on “How to Repair & Fill a Down Comforter at Home”
I have a queen size down comforter it’s got many many many holes and leaky spots how much would it cost to refinish it seal it?
Thanks for the post, Vaheh! I’m wondering if you have any tips or recommendations on selecting down-proof fabric when transferring down from an old comforter into a new casing. Many thanks!
My favorite DIY comforter shell is the 230TC shell from Downlite. They also make a 400TC shell – but the added thread count is neutralized in a duvet cover, so I don’t see a need to spend extra on it. We have the 230TC shell available for sale in the link below:
Downlite DIY 230TC Comforter Shell
How come no one mentions using a syringe for transferring down?
Thank you for the comment! You can certainly use a syringe if the capacity is large enough – goose down doesn’t weigh much, but it does take up a lot of volume. You’d definitely still need to sew up the hole though.
Hope to hear from you again,
Vaheh – Sheet Market
Where can one find a large enough capacity syringe for transferring down from an old shell to a new shell? Any other tips for this home sew project? (I have sewn Frostline kits in the past.) Thank you. Cheryl Studer
I have a cuddle down queen/king 70-90 size comforter It does NOT have boxes. It has cloth type buttons every 8″. I need to fill in one end about 35-40″. Can you help me determine how much down to order
thank you pat massey 951 440 7623
No problem! Do you want an all-season comforter? Or do you want something extra warm, or light?
My comforter lost the stitches which make for boxes. What do I do?
Would you happen to know where in the SF Bay area, I could get someone to refill my goose down comforter? Please advise. Thanking you in advance.
I live in the Bay Area too, and would love to know if you found someone local!]
Have you tried contacting Mulberrys Garment Care? They handle a wide variety of cleaning and alteration services – including bedding and linens.
I have several comforters where the fabric is getting old and tearing. I would like to find a way to reuse the down and put it into a new cover. I found the downlite cover you recommended but before I purchase I would love to find instructions on how to transfer the down. I have sewn down products before and know what a mess down can make when it escapes it’s covering. Can you help me with that? thanks
Goose down is tricky, since it’s so light. It’s just a mess waiting to happen, right?
Manufacturers use a blower to fill comforters (something similar to a leaf blower with a hopper full of goose down).
In my experience, a manual version of that works best. First, I’ll carefully empty the goose down from the comforter into a large trash bag.
Then, I’ll take a length of wide hose (like a dryer duct hose) and tape the trash bag around one end. You’ll definitely want a good seal here.
Then I’ll use the other end of the hose to fill the new comforter. This is much easier with 2 sets of hands!
Filling the comforter isn’t the hard part obviously. Getting the down out of the old comforter is the challenge – at least doing it without making a mess.
I’ve seen people vacuum it out, and then transfer the down from the vacuum canister into either the comforter, or another container – like a trash bag. This method works well, especially if your vacuum has a hose attachment.
But, if your comforter is very old, and you think the goose down won’t fair too well, I wouldn’t recommend this method. I would suggest either scooping out the down, one handful at a time, or cutting one baffle at a time, holding the comforter vertically, and let gravity do the work, and dump the goose down into a container.
Hope to hear from you again,