How To: Wash Down Garments

A step-by-step guide on how to wash down garments.

There is an old adage that goes a little something like this: “Never wash down, you’ll ruin it and it will never keep you warm again”. Well, it’s time to debunk that falsehood. Dirty down significantly reduces your garments’ performance, so cleaning your down garment (jacket, sleeping bag, etc.) ensures it performs its best, continuing to keep you warm.

For demonstrative purposes, I washed a VERY dirty Patagonia Down Sweater Hoody using the Grangers Down Care Kit  ($16.50); an all-in-one kit that includes a 2-in-1 down wash detergent with water repellant and three reusable drying balls.

When I say my down jacket was dirty, I’m talking about 10-years of acquired filth. This poor jacket was covered in stains and had lost its loft. After washing and drying with the Grangers Down Wash Kit, following the step-by-step instructions below, it has been restored to what it once looked like hanging in the Patagonia store I originally bought it from a decade prior; however, maintaining the memories from hundreds of adventures its been on since ripping its tags.



Supplies Needed

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Wash empty load on a full cycle (wash, rinse, and spin) at 30°C or 86°F to remove any lingering detergent from previous wash loads.
  2. Use one capful (50ml) per wash load, or half a cap if hand-washing. For sleeping bags, use two capfuls (100ml).
  3. Close all zippers and velcro on garment.
  4. Wash on a full cycle (wash, rinse, and spin) at 30°C or 86°F. I add an extra rinse AND extra spin. 
  5. Add all three dryer balls to the dryer for the duration of the drying process. Dry down garment as per its care label instructions, always tumble dry where possible. Dry on a air dry or low heat for two to three hours, or until the garment is completely dry. Every hour or so, remove down item to manually break up any clumps, and continue this process until down item is 100% dry. Resist the temptation to call it quits any earlier than 100% dry.

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Raised in the ocean lined landscape of Southern California, Ilana now calls the rocky mountains of Colorado home. Ilana is a mother to an adventurous daughter, an accomplished rock and ice climber, skier, snowboarder, mountain distance runner, avid adventurer, and a Registered Trauma Nurse. A recent, near fatal accident in May, 2018, has left Ilana with a new disability; bringing her biggest life challenge to head, adapting to continue her pursuit of long, hard days in the mountains and share it with the generations to come. Ilana is the founder of Thrillseekers Anonymous, a seasoned event speaker, and has been featured in various media outlets including the February 2015 issue of ‘Climbing’ magazine, December 2013 issue of ‘Rock and Ice’ magazine, December/January 2013 issue of ‘Gripped Climbing’ magazine, Canyoneering: A Guide to Techniques for Wet and Dry Canyons (How To Climb Series) by Dave Black and Pasadena Magazine as well as a Climbing Expert on MTV’s Parental Control (Season 7 – “Heather”).

Ilana has written 119 articles for Thrillseekers Anonymous.

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