View Full Version : Washing Down

06-08-2010, 19:48
Is it necessary to was detergent out of a commercial washing machine before washing a down sleeping bag. Also does anyone have any experience with spray on dwr for sleeping bags?

06-08-2010, 21:25
Is it necessary to was[h] detergent out of a commercial washing machine before washing a down sleeping bag.

no, I don't think you need to do that. But you should use a special cleaner made for down bags. I just washed my bag at home using "Thunder Down" made by Seamgrip. It came out nice.


06-08-2010, 21:49
Washing out a commercial washing machine before washing down in it? No, I don't think you need to do that.

I hope that you have read the manufacturers guidelines on how to wash a down bag. If not, the Western Mountaineering website has a good description of the process. And, you have a special down laundry cleaning product. I remember reading some cautions about metal zipper parts that can get too hot and damage some light outer shells.Probably a good idea to keep opening the dryer and checking on the shell and metal part temperatures.

Before I washed my down sleeping bag, I had first washed a synthetic bag at a coin operated laundry with front loading BIG washers and BIG dryers.

Then I washed a down comforter that I had used for about 3 or 4 years and never cleaned. It was an inexpensive department store clearance down comforter that had only cost about $38. I read many down comforter washing procedures on the web, and a great many of them were pretty casual about the cleaning products - just mentioning to use a mild detergent or Woolite or Ivory Flakes (soap). I used the down specialty product anyway.

It took forever to wash and dry - especially dry. I used the lowest heat setting on the dryer and it was still several hours. I didn't use "clean tennis shoes" or tennis balls to bust up the down clumps. I just kept getting in the dryer and pulling the clumps apart by hand every once in a while.

Man, the comforter came out great. BIG loft improvement. Smelled great.

When the down goods are wet, they are heavy, and they are so heavy that the wet down can tear out baffles if you don't really treat the wet object like a baby. Support it really well and try not to move fast or drop it down abruptly.

The down bag was by then pretty easy. I knew the ropes. That too came out great but took more than a half a day. It is best if you run it in the dryer till you are SURE that it is completely dry. SURE. Throw in another batch of quarters and run it extra.

Later I found a cleaners in town that does down comforters by washing them, soap and water in big machines and long slow drying. No solvents at all. They were pretty expensive. As a backup, you might want to check that out to get an idea of how much money you could save by doing it yourself.

Good luck.

I don't have experience with applying DWR to the exterior of a down bag shell. Hope someone writes in on that. Including any necessary "activation" by putting it in a dryer.

Feral Bill
06-09-2010, 00:15
As rocketman suggests, you will be spending a LOT of time drying. If you can do this at home you are better off. I just washed a new to me used bag and It took all afternoon to dry. That's lot of quarters at the laudromat.