Washing a down jacket is a task completed by some with no doubt, while others prefer to leave it to the professionals. If you want to wash your jacket at home, follow these steps for the best results.
You Will Need:
- Washing machine without center agitator
- Down detergent, such as Miele or Nikwax
- Clean tennis balls
Steps to Wash the Down Jacket:
- Begin by emptying all of the pockets and dusting off any loose dirt and debris.
- As you wash the jacket, it’s important to protect the down and keep it from clumping.
- Fill the washing machine with warm water. It is important to use a machine that does not have a center agitator. This center agitator can damage the down pockets. If your machine has a center agitator, take the jacket to a laundromat for washing.
- Add the jacket to the water and allow it to wash in plain water. Use the delicate or gentle wash cycle. This removes the dirt and debris that may be present.
- Remove the jacket and gently squeeze out the excess water by hand.
- Inspect the jacket to determine if further washing is necessary. If not, skip to step 12.
- Refill the machine with clean water.
- Add the appropriate amount of down detergent. (Do not use regular detergent on down products. There are specific detergents made for down, such as Miele or Nikwax. These detergents can be found online or in some specialty fabric shops, such as a quilting supply store.)
- Add the jacket back into the water for a complete gentle wash cycle.
- Run a second rinse cycle to remove any remaining soap residue that can break down and damage the down.
- When finished washing, remove the jacket and gently squeeze out the excess water.
- Lay it on a towel and press gently on top with a clean towel to absorb excess water.
- Place the damp jacket into the dryer on low heat for 15 minutes. Clean tennis balls can be added as well to fluff the down as it dries.
- Remove the coat every 15 minutes to fluff any clumps of down that may have developed. Return it to the dryer for another 15 minutes of drying.
- Continue to alternate hand fluffing with machine drying until the jacket is nearly dry.
- Lay the jacket flat or hang to finish drying completely.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Avoid applying stain removers to down-filled garments. These can cause damage to the fabric as well as to the down.
- If your down jacket is white and needs to be brightened, add a little chloirne bleach to the wash. Do not do this regularly, as it may damage the fabric or down, however it should be safe as a one time remedy.
- Check the care instructions prior to washing. Some down jackets are designed to be machine washed, while others should be dry cleaned. If the instructions say to dry clean, that should be done over machine washing. However, if the jacket is machine washable, the above method should be safe for an effective cleaning.
- There are home dry cleaning kits that some have found effective for cleaning dry clean only down jackets.
- Proper storage is just as important as proper cleaning. Follow all manufacturer instructions to keep your down jacket in good condition for years to come.