View Full Version : How to clean a goose down sleeping bag?

02-10-2010, 15:07
I am just wondering how to clean a goose down sleeping bag? Maybe on the trail and at home? Thanks.

02-10-2010, 15:12
any bathtub. any soap. any dryer. any tennis balls.
or sunlight to dry on trail.

02-10-2010, 15:15
Ideally you don't get it very dirty in the first place. I personally wear my long underwear in camp and to sleep, and only there, so it stays pretty clean and helps the bag stay clean as well. You can also use a liner, although that adds weight that isn't useful anywhere except in the bag. Clean the underwear or liner often, and the bag should stay pretty clean for a long time.

I haven't cleaned anything made out of down yet, but I'd probably do it in the tub. Whatever you do, don't do it in a top loading washer.

02-10-2010, 15:33
Brian - I take it you bought a Down bag this morning. I was going to recommend one, but didn't have time to post. Ideally as was said, the better you can keep your bag clean, the better it will last. Each time you wash it, you theoretically do a little damage to it. I don't usually wash my bags unless I have been out for more than a few weeks straight - Just air-drying is sufficient - Make sure you pull it out at lunch stops and let it air out in the sun.

If you do need to wash it - See if it needs only a spot wash first, if not (Such as if your 4 year old peed in it while camping :cool:), I usually use either Nikwax down wash or Woolite. I have a front loader and can set it to a very gentle hand-wash. If I didn't, I would use the bathtub method, but making sure to clean the tub and any rings out of it first. squish the bag around for 20-25 minutes. then gently squeeze the bag to get mass water out. I wouldn't wring it, you could tear baffles. You can then either hang it over something to drip out and then air dry or put it in a dryer on the lowest setting. I've used tennis balls. I read once about using old sneaker to break up the down clumps, but the sneaker rubber gets warm and the nylon tends to drag on it, causing the sneaker to get wound up in the bag, potentially damaging the baffles..

02-10-2010, 15:34
P.S. As for value, Down is it!!! My oldest down bag is from 1983 and still going string. It leaks a down fluff here and there, but it still keeps me warm and still lofts like a champ.

02-10-2010, 15:38
Best is to keep it clean so you don't have to wash it often. By hand in a tub is best. You can use a large front loading washing machine. Use a mild soap; you can get down soap at outfitters. Be careful lifting it up when it's soaked.

When drying: In a dryer, low heat, put a tennis ball or clean sneaker in to loosen clumps. On a line, be careful to support it well, break up clumps of down by hand as it's drying.

02-10-2010, 16:36
On the trail you can do it in a front loading machine at most laundromats. You'll need to find a general store that sells gentle soap like Woolite and hopefully a can of cheap tennis balls. You'll need most of an afternoon and a pocketful of quarters to get it dry. I had to do this after a cat peed on mine at a trail angel's house on the PCT.

You generally don't have to wash a bag on the trail, with a little care and good luck and no bleeping cats.

02-10-2010, 16:39

02-10-2010, 21:50

What Lyle said and ignore everything else.