View Full Version : Need to wash my down sleeping bag any tips

08-04-2014, 17:02
Think it's time to wash my Montbel down jacket as well as my marmot helium sleeping bag any helpful tips would be appreciated thanks... I have a container of Nikwax tech wash can I use that or do I need to get the specified downwash....

08-04-2014, 17:14
All I can say is hope for long dry sunny days when you can hang that bag on a line and turn it over and fluff it periodically. Down takes quite a while to dry when soaked.

08-04-2014, 19:03
I would follow manufactures instructions. Marmot has instructions on there web site for all there sleeping bags. I'm sure Montbel is the same.

08-04-2014, 19:44
I take my sleeping bags to a Laundromat to use the big front loading machines. I also use Nikwax Downwash instead of laundry detergent I have 3 down bags and a down quilt. All directions (for my bags) say to use a front loading machine. They do not all specify to use Nikwax Downwash.

I paid too much for my down bags to not follow directions.

08-04-2014, 19:50
Thx all...I have nikwax teck wash but guess I'll go buy the down wash...I agree paid to much to screw up!!

08-04-2014, 19:58
All I can say is hope for long dry sunny days when you can hang that bag on a line and turn it over and fluff it periodically

i wouldnt do this.....

while it may work----it will take a long time.....and potentially the down may get moldy.............plus it won't get back it's loft....

follow the instructions....

what i did for my down bag after washing it, was put it in a front loading dryer, at dry at lowest temperature...

and get a roll of quarters as you'll need em.....

and put tennis balls in with it...........they will help break apart the clumps of feathers.....

and then, get a book and sit back and read as it will take multiple cycles to dry...........

08-04-2014, 22:36
Want it done right? Send the bag to Rainy Pass in Seattle. They are Pros.


08-04-2014, 23:38
Don't runi your street cred like that let it stank

08-04-2014, 23:58
Don't runi your street cred like that let it stank

Haaaa ... I would but my son had a accident in it!! As well as dog funk...it's had about. 3 years of use... Think it's time:)

08-05-2014, 01:34
I've spent too much $$$ to screw up my down sleeging bags/quilts and apparel pieces. I now prefer Revivex Down Wash over Nikwax Down Wash. Use a front loading washer and dryer! If going to a laundromat patronize one with new machines and has a clean atmosphere. ie;stay away from places with beat up ancient dirty machines, weird smells, and obviously inebriated characters that stomp out their cigs on the floor and look like they just rolled out of a Salvation Army clothing dumpster. Move on. There are plenty of laundromats available. You might get away with washing your Marmot Helium sleeping bag and Montbell jacket together but I personally would clean each separately by themselves with nothing else through both the wash and dry cycles. Zip up all zips, snap snaps, tie cords, etc. Wash on gentle/delicate cycle. Use correct amt of Down wash as your product label advises. More is NOT always better. Nikwax Down Wash, especially when I've used an excessive amt(beyond what the label suggested), seems to me to leave some kind of film through one long rinse cycle. ie; use too much Down Wash and it may not all rinse out with one rinse and then you get into unnecessarily rinsing your down pieces). Check dryer making sure their are no sharp metal projections, open metal seams/weldings, sharp screws, pen caps/paper clips/bent metal staples/tacks(yes I've found all these things in dryers right before I was about to dry my down pieces!), or even sharply raised tiny dryer venting holes, etc in the dryer or dryer venting holes. After the wash(on the proper Delicate setting), before gently placing item into the dryer(it's not a fragile piece of glass but you don't want to wring a wet down piece for example) again check the down piece making sure all zips are zipped, snaps are snapped, velcro is vecroed and not clinging to anything else, draw cords aren't wrapped up in anything, no damage has been done in the washer(you prolly don't want to dry a down piece in the dryer that has a ripped baffle seam or has a hole in it for example, this recently happened to me), etc. Again, I would dry each item separately on delicate or permanent press settings. Be mindful that all dryer heat settings are not equal in regards to exact heat output. Don't rush the drying part. I find it's MUCH better, and it's universally recommended, to dry slowly taking longer at a lower heat setting than cooking your down garments too fast on too high a heat setting not to mention you can damage the down and/or piece. Stay with your gear checking to see if the dryer temp setting is too high and you have to go to a lower temp setting. Also, down pieces are pricey items so for any thief in the know they make plump theft targets. Had two different friends have $$$ down pieces snatched from public laundromats. It's not difficult to wash your down gear. I just make it sound hard with all the details I've included. BTW, be very careful IF you decide to let someone in Fla wash you down gear. They don't have much experience washing $$$ down pieces.

08-05-2014, 05:42
Many of the new top loader machines are made without the agitator, and they wash very gently. It's not likely you would find these in laundromats, but we now have one at home. They are perfect for washing down items.

08-05-2014, 07:04
Western Mountaineering has a great care-and-feeding video on their website. I've followed it exactly many times. Drying it completely, on low heat, and then spreading it out for a few days to make sure it is completely dry and clump free, is really important. I chose a large capacity front-loading washer and dryer with hand-wash cycles specifically with my sleeping bags in mind. I don't think I would have the patience to sit in a Laundromat for as long as it takes to do it right.

08-05-2014, 09:09
I wash my bags only very occasionally (like after maybe 50+ nights of use, like after a thru) manually in a bath tub (since I don't have a front loading washer) using very modest amounts (a key) of Down Wash, and rinse it many, many times. I screwed up the first time I washed a bag by not rinsing it enough and when dried, the down clumped badly, but no permanent damage, just rinse it a bunch more and all good. For drying, I just use my regular dryer on medium heat and run it a really long time, occasionally taking it out and de-clumping the down manually. Do not put an old shoe in with it! That could damage the bag. A tennis ball is OK, but I found that using nothing works.

When done, they are like new, super-fluffy and not smelly! It is a bit of a chore, but overall easier, and certainly cheaper than shipping it off IMHO.

08-05-2014, 09:09
Thanks for all the great advice. I would think the sleeping bag should be open so it can clean the inside is this incorrect?

08-05-2014, 10:42
Thanks for all the great advice. I would think the sleeping bag should be open so it can clean the inside is this incorrect?More like inside out perhaps? That's how I wash mine, at least.

08-05-2014, 10:46
Thx... Will fo

Just Bill
08-05-2014, 12:41
Tech wash is fine- Downwash a bit better. You can also use Diaper wash if you do cloth diapers.
Add Calgon if you have hard water.
The main thing is a soap that doesn't leave any perfumes, residues, ect.

Comercial washer as others have said- or hand wash a load in the bathtub.
Fill it with all your goodies and cold water- hand aggitate for a bit- then soak for an hour.
Drain, rinse with showerhead, fill again and let soak one more time.
Drain, rinse with showerhead- let it drip dry- don't wring it out.

Front load commercial dryer on no heat (test it to verify with a wet rag- sometimes the no heat doesn't work). Add a few tennis balls to the machine.
Or wait for that perfect sunny day as suggested.

Washing inside out is good- as is a bit of an extra scrub at the foot and head areas to remove skin oils. Fels-naptha soap is decent for this, so is Doc Bronners.

08-05-2014, 12:52
Thx I'll spring for the down wash to be safe.... I have xl size front loaders... Will give a shot

08-05-2014, 15:45
You pays your money and takes your chances. Rainy Pass wins.


Don H
08-05-2014, 20:56
I sent my Feathered Friends bag back to them for washing. It seemed to me to never be quite as warm after that. I now avoid washing bags by using a liner.

08-05-2014, 20:58
I've left outside to side to air out for few days and seems less stank....

08-05-2014, 21:48
I prefer to wash at home in a top loader w/o agitator. The main reason is that I can soak it before it goes into the machine. I've found that If I don't soak and squeeze out the air, parts of the bag fill up with air and consequently do not get washed, floating above the water line in the washer.

I've also found that in an HE front loader the bag tends to stay at the bottom of the washer and isn't washed properly. Most people use front loaders but it didn't work well for me.

I've only ever used Nikwax down wash.

08-05-2014, 21:51
Think I may wait on washing.......y'all scared me away!!!
$300+ marmot helium
$200+jacks r better quilt
$200 montbell ul down parka

They don't smell much after sitting out in the sun for few days......dam sure smell better than my stinky arse after a day or two in the woods!