How to wash a down jacket?
Washing down clothes is important in order to guarantee the functionality of the product. If you don’t remember to wash the down jacket, it collects sweat and dirt. Sweat and dirt stick to the loose structure of the down, so the jacket does not work in the best possible way. Clean down binds heat well, so it always works better than when dirty!
These down jacket washing and care instructions also work when caring for a down sleeping bag. Washing down products requires a lot of space, so you should make sure that your washing machine is large enough so that the down product can spin freely in the machine. If you have any doubts about washing a down product, you should take it to the laundromat.
How to keep a down jacket in good condition
Remember to air and fluff the jacket regularly. If dirt or stains get on the jacket, you should first wipe them off with a damp cloth, for example. One of the simplest ways to keep any jacket clean is to be more careful with it. For example dropping a jacket to the ground often will definitely make it dirtier faster. As a climber who uses a down jacket for belaying I know that its often hard to avoid getting it dirty, but paying attention to where you place it helps.
How often should a down jacket be washed?
If the down jacket is in active use, it should be washed at least once a year. Many people prefer to wash the jacket after the winter season, when the jacket has been in active use and washing ensures the functionality of the jacket for the next season as well. If the jacket is also used during the summer, it is worth considering whether the jacket should also be washed after the summer season. In most cases, washing the coat once a year is sufficient.
Can I wash the down jacket at home? Does the down jacket need to be taken to the laundry?
Even down can be washed at home, especially if you have a tumble dryer. You don’t need special skills to wash the coat, but if you are anxious about washing your expensive down jacket, you can very well take it to a professional to wash it, in which case a good and fluffy end result is guaranteed. The most challenging part of washing a down jacket is drying it and returning the feathers to all the compartments of the jacket.
What should I consider when washing a down jacket?
First of all, remember to check the washing Instructions for your down jacket and follow it. Most of the time, the instruction says to wash at 30-40 degrees, with a long rinse. When washing, you must definitely use a detergent intended for down, and you should not use ordinary detergents or fabric softener. Remember to be careful with the amount of detergent, because too much detergent can stick to the down and cause clumping. About ⅓ of the normal amount of detergent is enough.
When you put your jacket in the washing machine, remember to close the zippers and turn the jacket inside out. A delicate wash program with a generous rinse and an efficient, long spin is suitable for washing a down jacket.
Drying a down jacket
When you catch the down after washing, don’t panic even if your jacket looks like it won’t be the same as it was in the beginning. Down flattens and clumps easily when wet. Trust me, when you dry the down carefully, it will return to its own shape and the feathers will spread back over the entire area of the coat!
The easiest way to dry the jacket is to use a tumble dryer. With the help of a tumble dryer, the feathers of the coat do not clump as easily as with flat drying. However, remember to check primarily on the jacket’s own washing instructions whether the jacket can be tumble dried. Some use a few tennis balls in the drum during drying, which fluff up the down during drying. However, you should be careful that no part of the jacket or outer material breaks when using the balls.
Allow enough time for drying, because even down can take at least 2-4 hours to dry (with tumble drying, even more without). The drying time should therefore be long and the temperature low so that the heat does not damage the down. Stop the tumble drying at regular intervals and fluff the down jacket carefully on all sides so that the down starts moving properly and spreads everywhere when drying.
If you don’t have a tumble dryer at home or according to the jacket’s instructions tumble drying is not recommended, dry the jacket horizontally in an airy place (please note that the air in the drying room must be dry, for example a damp bathroom does not work here). Even in level drying, the jacket should be fluffed at regular intervals. The drying time is longer than drum drying, even a few days. You might feel tempted to put the jacket out into the sunlight to dry it quicker, but this should be avoided as the sun’s UV rays can damage the materials.
When the jacket is dry, finish it by fluffing and patting all the down into each compartment of the jacket.
Down jacket storage
Remember that the down must be completely dry before it is put into storage. Always store your jacket loosely in a dry and airy place. Do not pack the down jacket in its own small bag for storage, even if the jacket has its own storage bag (e.g. the jacket may be packed in its own pocket or contain a small packing bag). These bags are meant to be used for easier packing, not for longer times in storage.