How to clean Down Sleeping Bags

Date Posted:19 October 2021 

How to clean and store a Down Sleeping Bag

Down sleeping bags are an expensive investment because they are a highly technical piece of equipment designed and manufactured for a specific reason. But just like anything that we use over time body oils and dirt will build up, after all we are using these sleeping bags outdoors. And since you have spent, what one can assume is a considerable amount of money on this amazing piece of equipment, it needs to be cared for properly. A Down Sleeping Bag can last for years when looked after.

Cleaning Down Sleeping Bags

Down sleeping bags need to be washed with a specialised Down Cleaner like Nikwax Down Wash or Grangers Down Wash Kit as regular washing detergents can a have a detrimental effect on down. A specialised Down Cleaner is designed to clean the fine feathers and restore the water repellence.

What you need to wash a Down Sleeping Bag

  1. Down Cleaner – just like caring or your wool items by using wool wash, to wash Down, use a Down Wash, avoiding conventional detergents.
  2. Front Loading Washing Machine – for most people this will involve a trip to your local laundromat. A front-loading washing machine is gentler on items then top loading washing machines, and you need a area big enough that the bag can efficiently cleaned with enough water and detergent circulating around. Similarly, during the rinse cycle, enough water needs to flow in and around the bag to rinse the detergent from the sleeping bag.
  3. Drying – Find the biggest dryer you can, if you are already at the laundromat, chances are they are going to have exactly what you need. If you use a small dryer, you may end up doing damage to your sleeping bag, by it not drying correctly or too much heat being applied in certain circumstances, because drying drums do get very hot.
  4. Dryer Balls – This tip is great for anything that is down filled, whether it is a sleeping bag, a down filled vest or jacket. If you don’t have access to specific “dryer balls” then a couple of tennis balls will do the trick. As the sleeping bag tumbles around it the dryer the balls help to keep the Down from clumping as fluffing it as it dries, they also help to speed up drying times.
    • Hot tip, tennis balls help with reducing wrinkles when drying most garments (jeans, sheets, and t-shirts) in a tumble dryer.

How to store a Down Sleeping Bag

While on the trail your Down sleeping Bag can be stored in its stuff sack, but once you are home and the bag has been cleaned how do you store it?

A Down Sleeping Bag usually comes with a storage sack, here the sleeping bag can be stuffed, slemi-lofted (half fluffed up) and put in a cupboard, the storage sack provided with your sleeping bag is usually perforated to allow for ventilation. Don't be tempted to store it in a heavy plastic bag or jam it in a small space. Unfortuantly a down sleeping bag does take up a bit of space at home when not in use.

Check out the video below for more info!


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