Hiking | Top tips for washing down jackets

It can be stressful putting an expensive hiking essentials, like your down jacket, into the washing machine. We need to clean them with specialised products that don’t ruin the unique feather construction – but not too often. Otherwise we risk damaging them. Oh, and we also need to deal with drying. No need to panic though; just follow these easy steps to keep your items in great condition…

Washing down jackets is not just about getting rid of marks and odours. It should also rejuvenate the insulating properties of the filling.

Step 1

Brush off any mud or debris – by hand will do – and secure zip fastenings and pockets. Once it’s zipped up, turn it inside out. This can protect the outer layer from ripping in the washing machine.

Step 2

Soak in down-specific cleaner for about 15 minutes.

Step 3

Clean the detergent compartment of your washing machine as residue of  regular soaps can damage down jackets. Then, wash without mixing with other clothes so it doesn’t get caught up with anything. Fill the drawer with your chosen cleaner.

Step 4

Cold wash and select the ‘delicates’ or ‘hand wash’ setting.

Step 5

Don’t let your jacket sit idle for too long or it’ll start to smell! – run a quick rinse cycle to remove any remaining cleaning fluid.

Step 6

Dry the jacket by running a couple of spin cycles, and then gently squeeze any excess water out by hand, careful not to squish the feather filling too hard.

Step 7

You can air dry the jacket, but a tumble dryer will guarantee best results.

Set your tumble dryer to the lowest heat setting and add your down jacket along with 2 drier balls or clean tennis balls. As the balls bounce around in the drum, they fluff up the feather filling, stopping them from sticking together and losing insulation. It’ll take a couple of hours to completely dry, and it’s recommended to interrupt the cycle every half an hour to shake the jacket out and make sure the feathers aren’t clumping.

You’ll know your jacket is dry inside and out when it feels light and fluffy.

 

Top tips

1) If you wear your down jacket weekly, try to wash it at least every other month. For seasonal wearers, twice a year should do the trick

2) Don’t be tempted to let old cleaner remain in the drum. Normal detergents can strip feathers of their natural oils, making them weak and brittle – we want them strong and fluffy to keep you warm! It may also impair the water-repellent shell exterior

3) Don’t ever iron your down jacket – it will melt!

4) Always store your jacket – and anything filled with down for that matter – in a cool dry place, and hang it up rather than scrunching or folding it into a bag

 

 

Fear not buying down jackets not knowing how to wash it. Now you can invest!
 

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