Image of the July 2013 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
July 2013 Issue
Home / Articles / Skills

Washing down sleeping bags

Use a front loader to wash your sleeping bag

 To get the best out of your down bag it needs to be clean

It’s that time of the year when the things that keep you warm take on a whole new level of importance. Before heading out on your next winter trip, give your sleeping bag a good check over.

If it has not been washed for a while (or ever) give it a wash. While most manufactures recommend hand washing, it’s a long and labour-intensive process and one with potential to damage your bag.

Here’s the simplest, safest way to wash your down bag:

  • Unzip your bag completely and turn inside out.
  • Machine wash – you will need a modern front loader machine of at least 8-10kg capacity. Synthetic wash cycle with an extra rinse, set the temperature to 30°C and the spin speed to 900rpm. Total wash, rinse and spin cycle should be around 90min.
  • Use a down wash-specific cleaner.
  • When the cycle has finished, high speed spin the bag at least 1200 RPM for 15min.
  • Tumble dry the bag in a modern tumble drier of minimum 10kg capacity. Set it on a low to medium setting. It will take at least 90-120min to dry.
  • Hang the bag and let cool down, check that it is completely dry. If there is any sign of down clumps or you are not sure if it is dry, put it back in the tumble drier for another stint.
  • If you are finding your bag a little cold and there seem to be some baffles that don’t have much down in them, consider getting your bag boosted with some extra down.