Duvets used to be a luxury item. Made from feathers and natural fillers. You invested, you looked after it and probably had it for decades.
Now duvets can be picked up with your weekly shopping and are the price of a night down the pub. When it is stained, it is easier and cheaper to buy another rather than getting it professionally washed or cleaned.
The trouble is, what do you do with them when they are past their best?
- You are unable to sell them, as no one wants a used duvet.
- No charity wants them.
- No rubbish tip will take them for recycling, only for landfill
- If they are purely Polyester you cannot dye them for reuse.
So what can you do with an old duvet?
- Wash it! If you don’t have a large Washing Machine then someone you know or a laundromat will have one. We have a 10Kg drum and wash our Super King-size duvet in there with no problems. Use a duvet cover to prevent repeat washing.
- Our 100% Polyester duvets became fillers for the dog beds as you cannot dye polyester easily, and we made a note not to repurchase them.
- Our single Cotton Duvet was dyed a turquoise blue to go in the lounge as a throw for the winter months.
- Our super king size duvets which were fine for use, but so grubby were dyed a dark green. As a Kingsize duvet weighs more than the maximum (1kg) for 2 pots of dye ( the maximum you can put in a washing machine and one time) they actually came out a beautiful sea green in a tie-dye pattern. Sound odd, but they look gorgeous thrown over our bed.
- Our teenager is rubbish at putting his duvet cover on after it has been in the wash. So I dyed his duvet to match his room.
Fabric Dye: Now, Fabric dye is not perfect, and there are environmental concerns with using any fabric dyes. I looked for a machine dye that I considered to be the most environmentally friendly and I came up with “Simplicol” as it stated it used a non-toxic formula, non-irritating, no chemical smell and hyper allogenic. I felt more confident using Simplicol rather than Dylan as the product specification available was clearer.
I looked into using natural dyes, and the issues that I came up with were:
- A fixative is needed for the colour, and while the actual colour is environmentally friendly, the fixative is thought not to be.
- Natural dye cannot be used in the washing machine. The fabric has to be simmered on the stove/hob with the stain for a couple of hours. Not really doable with a king-size duvet.
So we made the decision for the next duvet that needs replacing we would buy one with a natural filling. It might cost a bit more, but it should last a long time or be able to be refreshed to extend its life. Meanwhile, we have several different duvets stained in various bright colours, and it works well!
Next: How we chose a natural duvet that was cruelty-free.
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