How To Wash Down Jackets With 7 Awesome Steps

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Here are my seven quick tips on how to wash down jackets.

When people attempt to wash down, the most common mistakes are made by a natural drying of the jacket rather than the washing part.

When it gets wet, it forms into clumps; if they’re dried incorrectly, they can be ruined. So proper care must be given. 

If you just got your best down jackets, you must learn to take care of them.

This article will cover how to wash and rejuvenate your jacket without ruining it.

Here are a few tips about washing down jackets and why you should wash your down jacket.

Let’s get to it!

Should You Wash Down Jacket?

First, let’s discuss why you should wash down your jacket. Washing down jackets would help because down can grow mold and bacteria [1].

If not cared for, especially if used in a humid and wet environment, the mold and bacteria are bad because it reduces loft.

The loft is the main factor keeping you warm – that fluff that comes with your jacket. 

The down can also get dirty, which leads to it holding more moisture, which compounds the mold and bacteria problem.

The down jacket needs to be washed and taken care of. 

It’s resilient, and a good wash can rejuvenate a loftless jacket. It can increase the warmth factor that you may have lost.

When To Wash Down Jacket?

You’ll know it’s time to wash your jacket when you notice it has a reduced loft. So it’s not quite as puffy and fluffy as it once was.

You’ll start to notice some discoloration, particularly if it’s a lighter color; you might start seeing some greenish or yellow tinges to it.

If you’ve spent a lot of time in wet and humid environments, you’ll start potentially seeing mold and bacteria problems.

If you’re using your down jacket almost daily, you’ll want to wash it at least once a month, but that depends on your use and how active you are while you’re using it.

Where can you find the instructions for washing down jackets?

So, you’ve hit one of the triggers: your jackets need a wash; what do you do?

There are a few different places where you can get information on how to wash a down jacket.

The first place you should look is on the label of your jacket. There’s usually some information on how to care for and wash it.

So, look at that. That’s the number one place to look.

Secondly, if you have a Down Wash detergent product, look at the label there. It’ll also give you some information on what to do.

Instruction For Washing Down Jackets

4 Items You Need To Wash Down Jacket

Here are the things that you’ll need to wash down your jacket:

1. Your Down Jackets

First up, you’ll need a down jacket or any down product. This system will generally work for that, whether it’s a sleeping bag, quilt, or down pants.

You can use the same process for washing each down item.

2. Specific Washing Detergent

You’ll also need some down-specific detergent. I recommend the Nikwax Down Wash Direct product because it’s worked well.

It’s highly recommended by many different people out there and down manufacturers.

3. A Few Tennis Balls

I also recommend that you grab a few tennis balls. You won’t play tennis, but these are useful when drying the jacket.

It helps break up the clumps. The down jacket may be slightly wet and starting to stick together.

You could use dryer balls for laundry if you don’t have tennis balls.

4. Washer And Dryer

You’ll need a washer and dryer, ideally, a front loader, as the top loader with agitators can damage the jacket material.

That’s it, and you don’t need anything else. You don’t need fabric softener, bleach, or static sheets you throw in the dryer.

All you need is what I mentioned above.

Front loader washing machine

Before You Start To Wash Your Jacket

Before you wash your down jackets, these are three things you need to check:

Make Sure No Residual Detergent

The first thing you’ll want to do once you’re ready to wash your jacket is to ensure there’s no residual detergent in the washing detergent tray.

Just wipe that out because detergent will kill them by stripping off those natural fats and oils.

Next, ensure there’s no residual detergent inside the loader.

Check For Anything Left In The Jacket

You will next want to check your jacket pockets for anything you might have left in them.

You may have accidentally left your money or small things inside your pockets. You might want to check that as well.

Close All The Zipper Pockets

It would be best if you also zipped up all the zipper pockets so nothing can snag on the jacket material.

How To Wash Down Jacket

Once that’s done, you can throw it into the wash. Now it’s time to wash your down jacket. Here’s how to clean your down jacket at home:

Step 1: Wash

Now I recommend putting only two items (if small or medium-sized jackets) into the washing machine. 

If it’s a large item like a sleeping bag, just put that one item in the washing machine.

Step 2: Put The Detergent In

The next step is to put the detergent in. Make sure you’re using a Down-specific detergent. You should follow up on the directions for how much you want to put in.

Step 3: Setting Up The Washing Machine And Wash

Once you have the detergent on, you can set up the settings on your washing machine. 

So, set the settings to delicates because that puts many of the settings it needs into play.

You want to ensure you’re on cold-cooled, low spin, and normal soil level. Then you’re all set. You can press start and then get the washing.

Setting Up The Washing Machine

Note: Your washing machine may have settings different from the image above, but you get the idea.

Step 4: Rinse

When the wash is done, putting the jacket through another rinse cycle is highly recommended once you finish the first wash.

That will help eliminate any residual detergent left in the jacket, and you’ll want to ensure you use the same settings.

So, once you set your washing machine to rinse, make sure the spin is low. Also, make sure the temperatures on cold and soil levels will be normal settings.

Once all that’s set, then you’re good to go. You can start up and get that rinse going.

Step 5: Dry

So the wash is done. Now it’s time to put the jacket into the dryer. Be careful when moving it from the washer to the dryer.

Some jackets are going to be quite heavy because of the water filling. You don’t want to wreck any of the jacket material while you’re moving it. So be a little bit careful.

Step 6: It’s Time For Tennis Balls

So once you get that into the dryer, the tennis ball (or laundry dryer balls) comes into play. Throw two tennis balls into the dryer.

If you wash something bigger, like a sleeping bag, you can put in three tennis balls.

Now, you don’t want to air dry your jacket because air drying will leave clumps all stuck together.

That’s what you want to avoid by using the dryer and the tennis balls.

It might take a few hours for your jacket to dry. You might want to put it in for one hour at a time and check it after each.

Laundry balls in the dryer

Step 7: Setting Up The Dryer And Dry

For dryer settings, you will want a low temperature and delicate tumble. I prefer to set it for sixty minutes and see how it’s doing in an hour.

When the first hour of drying is done, let’s see how your jacket is doing.

If you still can feel a little dampness inside the jacket, even though the outside feels dry, you need to put it in just a little longer.

That’s to ensure all the down inside the jacket is dry. So, you will put it in there and set it for another hour.

Don’t be afraid of over-drying your jacket if you keep it at a low temperature. It’s going to be okay. You can put it in for three to five hours, and it won’t ruin the down or the jacket.

If you have an ultra-light jacket, it usually dries within 2 hours. However, a more oversized jacket or a sleeping bag will probably take longer to dry.


So, washing the jacket rejuvenated the loft, which is excellent! 

You’re going to want to keep in mind that if you have any feathers that have started poking through during the drying and washing cycles, don’t pull them out.

You’re just going to create a big hole. That will have more down come out of it in the future. Try and massage it back into the jacket and push it back into the baffle.

That way, you won’t have a big gaping hole in your jacket.

Washing down jackets is easy. So don’t be afraid to wash your down jacket. It makes a big difference.

You rejuvenate the jacket to get some loft back, and you’re not living in a sack of mold and bacteria.

I hope you found these tips helpful, and please share them with your friends.

Happy washing!

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Hey there, I'm Mac. I love traveling. This site is dedicated to sharing everything about traveling, tips and guides, and reviewing essential travel gear. This will help you. Read more about me .