Washing & Drying a Down Sleeping Bag

It might seem scary to put your beloved down sleeping bag in a washing machine, but this step-by-step guide will help! Down sleeping bags can (and should be) washed to maximize their lifespan. All it takes is the proper machine, detergent, and patience.

Step 1: Read the Care Instructions

Before washing your down sleeping bag, it is important to read the care instructions that came with it. Some sleeping bags may have specific instructions on how to clean them, such as which detergent to use or whether or not to use a washing machine. If you cannot find the care instructions, you can typically find them online or contact the manufacturer for guidance.

Step 2: Spot Clean Stains

If your sleeping bag has any stains or spots, it is a good idea to spot clean them before washing the entire bag. Use a gentle cleaner and a soft brush to scrub the stain, being careful not to damage the fabric or insulation.

Step 3: Prepare the Sleeping Bag for Washing

Before washing your sleeping bag, close all the zippers and fasten all the snaps or Velcro. This will prevent the sleeping bag from getting tangled or damaged during the washing process. It is also a good idea to shake out the bag to remove any loose dirt or debris.

Step 4: Choose the Right Detergent

When washing a down sleeping bag, it is important to use a detergent that is specifically designed for down. Regular detergents can strip the natural oils from the down, which can cause it to clump and lose its insulating properties. Look for a down-specific detergent that is mild and free of harsh chemicals.

Step 5: Wash the Sleeping Bag

We recommend washing in a machine, use a front-loading machine and a gentle cycle with warm water. Add the appropriate amount of detergent and let the machine do the work. Do not use fabric softeners or bleach, as these can damage the down. Do not use a top-loading machine because the agitator can tear the fabric. Depending on the detergent you use and your machine, you may need to run an extra rinse cycle to ensure all suds are removed.

If you don’t have a front-loading machine, you can wash your sleeping bag by hand. Fill a bathtub or large basin with warm water and add the appropriate amount of detergent. Submerge the sleeping bag in the water and gently agitate it with your hands, being careful not to scrub or twist the bag. Drain the water and rinse the sleeping bag several times with clean water.

Step 7: Dry the Sleeping Bag

Drying a down sleeping bag can take several hours, so be prepared to devote some time to this step. Put it in the dyer on the low heat setting and add a few clean tennis balls or dryer balls to the dryer to help fluff the down. The dryer balls are key, so don’t skip that part.

Check the sleeping bag periodically during the drying process. Depending on the size of the sleeping bag, it may take 2-5 drying cycles to fully dry.

Holubar sleeping bag patch

Note that if your sleeping bag has any rips, Tenacious Tape is a great stick-on option to prevent it loosing feather’s in the wash. Otherwise, if you’d like to send your sleeping bag in for professional repairs, learn about our sleeping bag repair service.