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.
- Grangers Down Care Kit
- Front Loading Washer
- Front Loading Dryer
- 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.
- Use one capful (50ml) per wash load, or half a cap if hand-washing. For sleeping bags, use two capfuls (100ml).
- Close all zippers and velcro on garment.
- Wash on a full cycle (wash, rinse, and spin) at 30°C or 86°F. I add an extra rinse AND extra spin.
- 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.