How to Clean a Down Jacket?
A down jacket is one that’s filled with the down feathers of birds, usually ducks and geese. It’s often used to fill thermal clothing, bedding, and sleeping bags, because down-filled materials are warm and lightweight. Cleaning a down jacket can be a challenge, because the feathers don’t stand up well against harsh detergents, and the garment must be dried fully in order to regain its insulating properties. However, to get the most of your down jacket, you should wash it regularly, but no more than twice a year.
Pre-Cleaning the Jacket
Read the care label. This will tell you if there are any special instructions you should follow regarding the care of your jacket, including washing instructions.
The care label could tell you to hand-wash the jacket, to machine wash it on a special cycle, or to take the jacket to a professional down cleaner.
If your jacket only needs a minor cleaning, the pre-cleaning alone might be sufficient, and you might not need to fully wash or hand wash.
Fasten all clasps and fasteners. Down-filled materials can rip easily when wet, so it’s important to take care of anything that could catch or pull during the washing process.
Do up zippers
Close hook and loop fasteners
Remove items from the pockets and secure the pockets
Remove excess dirt and mud. With a clean, dry cloth, wipe away any dirt, debris or loose mud from the jacket. This will make the cleaning process a little easier, because you won’t be dealing with large clumps of mud or dust.
Spot clean tough stains. To clean and spot clean a down jacket, use a pure soap or a special down soap that won’t strip the feathers of oil and make them brittle. Pour a small amount of soap on affected areas, such as stains, tough-to-clean grime, and patches of oil or sweat. Let it soak for about 15 minutes. Good soaps to use include:
Nikwax Down Wash
Granger’s Down Wash
ReviveX Down Cleaner
Soak the jacket in warm water. Fill a bath tub, wash basin, or sink with warm water. Place the jacket into the water and gently agitate it with your hands. Let the jacket soak for 10 to 15 minutes.
Soaking the jacket before washing helps to remove excess dirt, debris, and soap from the spot cleaning.
After soaking, move the jacket away from the drain and empty the tub. Gently squeeze the excess water from the jacket.
Machine Washing the Jacket
Clean out the detergent compartment before adding soap. Even the residue from regular soaps and detergents can damage down feathers. Before using the machine to wash your jacket, wipe the dispenser with a cloth to remove leftover detergent.
When the dispenser is clean, add the amount of down-safe soap as recommended by your soap manufacturer or washing machine.
To clean your down jacket, use the same down-safe soap that you used for spot cleaning.
When down feathers are stripped of their oil, they can lose their loft, or fullness, which is related to their ability to insulate.
Place the jacket in the washer and set the cycle. Wash the jacket alone, to prevent the material from catching or pilling. Before pressing start, set the machine to cold wash, delicate, hand wash, or wools, and a small load size.
Only use a front-loading washing machine or a high-efficiency top-loader that doesn’t have the center agitator. The agitator can rip the material and destroy the jacket.
Run a second rinse cycle. When the washing machine has finished its washing cycle, run it through a second rinse cycle to fully remove any remaining detergent.
Washing the Jacket by Hand
Fill a large sink with soap and water. For down jackets that recommend handwashing, or if you don’t feel comfortable washing yours in the machine, you can also wash them by hand. Fill a sink with cold water and the recommended portion of down-safe soap.
You can use a large sink, laundry tub, or bath tub to wash your down jacket.
Soak the jacket. Press the jacket down into the water to get it saturated with soapy water. Using your hands, gently agitate the jacket back and forth in the water to release dirt. Then, let it soak for 15 minutes.
When your jacket is wet and heavy, avoid picking it up to prevent damage.
Rinse the jacket. After 15 minutes, push the jacket away from the drain and drain the soapy water from the tub. Without picking the jacket up, rinse the jacket and tub with clean water.
Soak again. Refill the tub with clean water and soak the jacket for five to 10 minutes. Then, push the jacket away from the drain again and let the water out.
Pour some additional water over the jacket to remove the last of the soap.
Squeeze out excess water. Use your hands to squeeze the jacket and remove excess water before picking it up to dry it.
Drying the Jacket
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