View Full Version : Washing bags ; Down vs Synthetic

02-01-2009, 17:06
How many wash both by hand in the tub or use a front loading washing machine instead ? Want to get opinons on what works best for you. I currently have a synthetic and have a 20* down on order .

02-01-2009, 18:15
tried washing by hand a LONG time ago, but it's a pia, takes too long, and i never get all the cleaner out. now i just put it in the washing machine. never had any trouble by doing that.

02-01-2009, 18:27
I like to wash my down bags in a front-loading machine using special Down soap and following the manufacturer's instructions. Works very well. I also don't wash bags more than necessary to extend their life. A friend's wife washes her bag after each outing, even after an overnighter!

02-01-2009, 18:41
Hey Kanga , heard you have to be careful with the top loaders because the agitater can mess up the baffles . I take my bag to a laundrymat that has a front loader.

02-01-2009, 19:07
yeah, i had a friend mess one up that way. but i have put ours in the top loader and just put it on gentle and it turned out ok.

02-01-2009, 19:18
Anybody dry clean down after a long outing?

02-02-2009, 01:45
I use a home made silk liner weighing about three ounces, and so only have to launder my down bag about once a year, and this is averaging easily 100 nights of use each year. I wash and rinse it by hand in a tub with Nikwax down soap and lukewarm water. Afterwards, I put it in a front loading washer on a spin cycle to get most of the water out. I then tumble dry it, alternating between low and no heat with a few tennis balls thrown in, stopping once in a while to check on it and carefully separate clumps of down with my fingers. Finally, I use a little Nikwax DWR spray to revive the shell, and I have a fluffy, crisp down bag that's as good as new.

Don't even think about tossing a down bag into a top loading washer. You might get away with it once, twice, whatever, but at some point the agitator WILL shred your bag. Washing by hand is tedious as hell, but does a much better job and you aren't risking your (presumably) valuable bag. My sleeping bag is worth far more than a couple hours of my time, so I take no chances. Down or synthetic, you should only wash your bag when it NEEDS to be cleaned, don't get in the habit of casually tossing it in the wash after every couple uses, as it will DRASTICALLY shorten the lifespan of the bag.

trail ronin
02-02-2009, 01:50
Linky: http://www.featheredfriends.com/Picasso/Headmenu/DownCare.html

and another

From the in the know kinda folks....

02-02-2009, 09:46
Anybody dry clean down after a long outing?

Be careful about dry cleaning down - some of the solvents will strip the natural oils right off of the down, which, I hear, isn't good. All you want to do is to remove the dirt and sweat.

02-02-2009, 10:32
A ripped baffle could be hard to fix so I use a front loader - rarely. Also, a hot spot on a dryer drum could be fatal. I do not wash mine often and only if it really needs it. I have a bag for each season so they get rotated. I have a shelf where the bag "of the season" lays until it goes out again. The others are in giant cotton storage sacks on a shelf - waiting their turn.
There are things that can be done to keep bag clean. Liners, overbags, bivys....I have overdressed enough to sweat at night - I stopped that. I underdress and add clothes as needed. I dry my bag at the first glimpse of sunlight. I always sleep with clean clothes on. Bag never touches the ground. I never build a fire upwind of tent/tarp. I never compress my down bag. As a matter of fact I don't even use the stuff sack they send with the bag - I make one to fit the bottom of which ever pack or use a compactor bag. Blah, blah...I guess there are a lot of things that you can do to protect that fragile peice of gear. I'm no expert, but I do everything I can to prolong the life/investment. Also -- when your gear has been taken care of and it looks like new it makes it easy to sell later.