How to Wash Down Filled Sleeping Bags

Wash Down Filled Sleeping Bags

Down sleeping bags are made from the plumage that lies underneath the exterior feathers of geese and ducks. Down insulates by trapping body heat in high-loft clusters. It is also breathable, wicking moisture away when the temperature rises.

When you’ve been out in a camping tent, your down sleeping bag will indeed become soiled.

Washing down sleeping bags is important making sure they remain clean and the down retains its loft and warmth. This guide will show you how to wash a down sleeping bag in your washing machine or by hand.

If your down sleeping bag is past its best, take a look at these.

Do not dry clean down sleeping bags even if the instructions or tag says you can! Ignore it.

Dry cleaning will reduce the loft and softness of down feathers and decrease its warmth.

As I do, you will be wondering why the tag is there in the first place.

The manufacturer probably thinks it’s better to have it slightly damaged at the dry cleaners than totally ruining it when washing it yourself.

However, you will not ruin it when you do it with the tips listed below.

Machine Washing Your Down Sleeping Bag

Your washing machine should be front loading since a top loading agitator machine will tear a sleeping bag to pieces. If yours is too small, go to a laundromat for larger front-loading washing machines. This method is less fatiguing than hand washing in your bathtub.

Your washing machine should be able to hold 22-pounds of material.

  • Open the zippers and Velcro® having the bag lay out flat.
  • Place the down sleeping bag into the washer.
  • Do not use regular detergents that you use for clothes as it will damage the dNitwax Down Wash Directown filling.
  • Use Nitwax Down Wash Direct® to restore warmth and loft while removing dirt and grime on your sleeping bag.
  • Use the delicate cycle with cold water. If you see suds remaining after the washer has finished, give it another rinse cycle to remove the residue.
  • The bag and feathers will be quite wet when finished.
  • Put your down sleeping bag into a front-loading dryer on the lowest possible heat.
  • Put a few clean tennis balls into the dryer to prevent clumping of the down feathers.
  • It can take several hours to dry your down sleeping bag on a low-heat setting.

Hand Washing Your Down Sleeping Bag

Hand washing is a hard job to do and I only did it once!

Wash a down sleeping bag by handTo wash a down sleeping bag by hand, you will need to use your bathtub. It’s a good idea to carry the washed bag in a plastic tub to avoid dripping water all over the place. You can even press the bag into heavy bath towels to absorb some of the moisture.

  • Open the zippers and Velcro® having the bag lay out flat.
  • Be sure your bathtub is clean.
  • Fill with lukewarm to cool water.
  • Add the down cleaner and mix into the water.
  • Place your sleeping bag into the bathtub and be sure it’s covered with the water.
  • Let the bag soak for an hour or two.
  • Gently squeeze the bag with your hands as agitation to remove dirt.
  • Leave the bag in the tub and drain the water out.
  • Refill the tub with water again and squeeze the bag to remove soap.
  • You might have to do this several times.
  • Do not wring the bag out or squeeze it to remove water.
  • Press down on the sleeping bag to remove as much water as possible.
  • Tumble dry in your dryer on low heat or let it air dry that will take time. A few electric fans would help circulate air to dry the sleeping bag.

The easiest way to clean down sleeping bags is at the laundromat where the machines are large enough to hold the bulk.

How to Wash and Dry a Down Sleeping Bag demo video.

How to Wash Down Sleeping Bags and Jackets demo video.

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