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How to Clean A Down Jacket or Sleeping Bag

Why wash your down jacket or sleeping bag? 

When you clean your down jacket or bag, it does more than just get rid of the pong.  

Washing away dirt helps to restore warmth and breathability and - whilst you’re at it - you can treat your garment with reproofer to improve performance in damp conditions. Finally, tumble drying your down properly works out those clumps that form naturally when you get caught in the rain.  

Washing your down can be intimidating, but it shouldn’t be! In fact, it’s quite easy to wash your down kit – especially with our handy how-to.   



Machine washing down 
  1. For jackets, a 7kg household washing machine should be big enough to clean your down jacket. For a sleeping bag you’ll need a 10kg capacity washing machine.  

  2. Only use agitator-free washing machines (such as front loading washing machines). 

  3. Run an empty was to flush out all the soap residue, clean the detergent dispenser. 

  4. Using the recommended quantity of Down Wash, wash at 30˚C and select the slowest spin cycle possible.  

  5. Rinse the bag thoroughly in clean water until the water runs clear. 

Handwashing Down  
  1. Ensure your bath is clean. 

  2. Fill with lukewarm water and add down wash or pure soap flakes. 

  3. Put in your down item and press gently to submerge. 

  4. Soak for around 30 minutes, gently agitate every now and then. 

  5. Drain water, refill the bath with clean lukewarm.   

  6. Gently massage the item in the water to remove all the soap until all the soap water is gone (use a shower head if you have one). 

  7. Drain the bath, gently press down on the item to get as much water out of the down as possible.  

  8. Rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear. 

NEVER wring or squeeze the down garment/sleeping bag. 



For starters: NEVER hang your down garment or sleeping bag on the line to drip dry, it will end up very clumpy and a bit useless. 

Tumble drying (recommended) 
  1. Tumble drying is the most effective way of drying your down. When reproofing garments, the heat helps to cure the waterproofing to the fabric quicker. 

  2. Set your tumble dryer to the lowest temperature. 

  3. Throw in your item with a couple of clean tennis balls (these will break up the wet clumps of down and restore loftiness) 

  4. Leave on until the garment is dry and restored to full loftiness 

Flat dry 

This can take up to a few days. If left unattended, the down will clump together and lose its fluffy loftiness. (That’s why we recommend tumble drying) 

  1. Lay open your garment or bag in a dry, shady area. 

  2. Frequently massage and separate the drying down until it is dry and fluffy once more. 


Waterproofing (optional) 

Make your down more effective in damp conditions by reproofing it. 

After washing (and before drying) wash your garment or sleeping bag as above, but use a down reproofing treatment such as Nikwax Down Proof.

Please remember: this does not make your down waterproof, but makes it more resilient in damper conditions. 


Storing down items 

  • To help your down to retain its loft, store your down garments and sleeping bags in a clean, dry, ventilated area.  

  • We recommend hanging your jacket up in the wardrobe or laying it on top of the wardrobe. For your sleeping bag, we suggest a large cotton or mesh bag. 

  • Do not store you down items in compression sacks or squeezed into a draw.  

Updated: Mar 23, 2011

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