How to Wash and Care For a Down Jacket To Make It Last Longer

How to Wash and Care For a Down Jacket To Make It Last Longer

Your down jacket deserves recognition for its invaluable contributions. It shields you from shivers during lengthy chairlift rides, provides warmth while belaying on challenging climbs, and enhances the enjoyment of evenings spent stargazing during alpine backpacking expeditions.

However, neglecting proper maintenance can lead to a decline in its insulation capabilities as the loft diminishes over time. To preserve the functionality of your premium down jackets, as well as those filled with synthetic insulation, check out these down jacket care tips to ensure they remain effective in combating the cold season after season.

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The Care Label

How to Wash and Care For a Down Jacket To Make It Last Longer

Check the washing instructions on the care label of your down jacket. If it shows a washing machine or hand-washing symbol, it's safe for home cleaning.

Avoid washing jackets marked with symbols indicating they cannot be washed at home. Note that some jackets may have outer fabrics unsuitable for hand-washing.

Modern down jackets often offer home-washing capabilities, which can influence your choice.

How to Wash a Down Jacket by Hand in the Tub or Sink

As the cold season comes to a close, it's essential to perform a more comprehensive cleaning to remove accumulated grime, snowmelt, sweat, and any forgotten spills. This ensures your jacket feels fresh and ready when you retrieve it in the fall.

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Prepare the sink or tub.

Use lukewarm water to fill a clean bathtub or a large sink.

Use a mild soap for washing.

While the water is filling, add a capful of gentle laundry detergent or a cleaning product specifically designed for down items.

Wash gently.

Immerse the jacket and allow it to soak for a few minutes. Next, gently scrub the jacket with your hands.

Drain the excess water.

Empty the tub or sink and squeeze out as much water as you can from the jacket. Avoid wringing it aggressively. Instead, press the material against the side of the tub or sink.

The jacket will remain damp. Lay a bath towel on the floor and flatten the jacket on top of it. Roll up the jacket inside the towel, then gently step on it to remove excess water.

Dry the down together with tennis balls.

Even after hand-washing a down jacket, it's best to dry it in a dryer to ensure clumps are broken up, as hanging alone may not restore full fluffiness. Remember to zip up the jacket before loading it into the dryer and add tennis balls or dryer balls to aid in breaking up clumps. Run the dryer on low heat, and if the jacket is still damp afterward, repeat the drying process on low heat until fully dry.

How to Wash a Down Jacket in the Washing Machine

How to Wash and Care For a Down Jacket To Make It Last Longer

Perhaps due to the numerous warnings regarding the dangers of wet down, many individuals seem hesitant to wash their down jackets. Despite this apprehension, down material is surprisingly resilient.

While wet down loses its insulation properties, it remains unaffected by moisture. Washing a down jacket is as simple as washing a pair of jeans. All you'll need are three things: down soap, a front-load washer, and a dryer with consistently low heat.

RELATED: How to Wash Synthetic Fabrics the Eco-Friendly Way

Use a front-load washing machine whenever possible.

A front-loading washing machine is typically more gentle on garments compared to a top-loading counterpart due to its lack of a central agitator, which poses a risk of tearing the jacket during the wash cycle.

For those limited to a top-loading washing machine, it's advisable to use a mesh bag to safeguard the jacket. This precaution prevents sleeves from snagging on the central agitator. Before placing the jacket in the washer, ensure to eliminate any harsh soap residue and clean the detergent dispenser if needed.

Use a mild detergent or one made for washing downs.

When washing a down jacket, certain detergents can be overly harsh, potentially stripping the natural oils from the down feathers. It's wise to invest in a cleaner designed specifically for down materials. However, if such a product is unavailable (or if you're washing a polyester puffer jacket), go for a gentle laundry detergent instead.

Prepare your down jacket.

Once you've ensured there are no forgotten items left in the pockets, zip up the jacket and close any pockets. Next, turn the jacket inside out before washing it either with similar down products or separately.

Choose the right settings.

Adjust the water temperature to cold and select a gentle or normal spin cycle. For top-loading washing machines, choose the gentle setting. If you're washing only one down jacket, set the load size to small.

Dry the down jacket on low heat.

Drying your down jacket is crucial but requires patience and caution. High heat can damage it, so choose the low heat setting on a home dryer, and beware of hot laundromat dryers. Adding clean tennis balls helps break up down clumps and speeds up drying, but manual fluffing is also recommended. If air drying, lay the jacket flat on a towel in a warm, dry area, periodically fluffing and flipping it.

Ensure it's completely dry before storing as down absorbs water and can lead to mildew if stored wet. Avoid storing it stuffed, especially when wet, to prevent damage to both the down and the jacket.

How To Store a Down Jacket

Ensuring the proper storage of down jackets can significantly prolong their lifespan and preserve their insulation effectiveness. Below are some recommended techniques for storing down jackets:

Make sure that the down has been thoroughly cleaned and dried.

Before storing, it's essential to thoroughly clean the down jacket. Follow the provided cleaning instructions, utilize a specialized down jacket cleaner, or enlist the help of a professional dry cleaning service. Ensure the jacket is completely dry before proceeding with storage.

Avoid compression.

The insulation performance of down jackets depends on the loftiness of the down. Avoid excessive compression during storage to prevent damaging the loftiness and elasticity of the down. Choose a dedicated down jacket bag for storage to maintain its integrity.

Choose a well-ventilated storage area.

Choose a dry, well-ventilated storage area, avoiding exposure to direct sunlight and damp conditions. If utilizing a down jacket bag, choose one equipped with ventilation holes to uphold the dryness and breathability of the jacket.

Air out the down regularly.

Even during periods of non-use, it's advisable to periodically remove the down jacket and allow it to air out, restoring its loftiness. This can be accomplished in a cool, well-ventilated space.

Do insect-prevention.

During storage, down jackets are prone to insect infestations. To prevent this, you can utilize insect repellents or incorporate natural deterrents like dried flower petals or camphor balls.

Stay Warm in a Down

Down and synthetic insulation jackets are investments deserving of care and attention. Knowing how to wash a down jacket and store it properly ensures that it stays clean, shiny, and fully lofted. It will remain warm and stylish for every occasion, whether you're in the backcountry or at the brewpub.

Elevate your winter style and warmth with any selection from our Jerseys & Jackets collection, ensuring a fabulously fashionable look even in the coldest weather.

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