How to Wash A Down Jacket

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
  • Clean tennis balls

Steps to Wash the Down Jacket:

  1. Begin by emptying all of the pockets and dusting off any loose dirt and debris.
  2. As you wash the jacket, it’s important to protect the down and keep it from clumping.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the jacket to the water and allow it to wash in plain water. This removes the dirt and debris that may be present.
  5. Remove the jacket and gently squeeze out the excess water by hand.
  6. Refill the machine with clean water.
  7. Add the appropriate amount of down detergent (do not use regular detergent for down product).
  8. Add the jacket back into the water for a complete gentle wash cycle.
  9. Run a second rinse cycle to remove any remaining soap residue that can break down and damage the down.
  10. When finished washing, remove the jacket and gently squeeze out the excess water.
  11. Lay it on a towel and press gently on top with a clean towel to absorb excess water.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Continue to alternate hand fluffing with machine drying until the jacket is nearly dry.
  15. 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.
  • 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.

Comments

  1. Lynn says:

    You’ll ruin it! If you get something on it, wipe it off with a damp cloth. If you can’t get it off, take the jacket to the cleaners and let them clean it right.

  2. Lynn says:

    You can wash a down jacket at home. Do it on cold water gentle and then dry on fluff or very low heat, the way you’d dry a sweater. You can dry if flat if you need to, but putting it in the dryer will fluff up the down.

  3. Lynn says:

    You can get a home dry-cleaning kit that works in your dryer. It smells funny, but it works.

  4. Lynn says:

    I heard that you were only supposed to machine wash down-filled clothing in a front loading washer. Something about the post in the center of a top loader beating the down pockets up too much.

  5. Lynn says:

    They make special detergent just for things that have down in them. My mom always did it right in the regular washer.

  6. Rebekah says:

    Well, I washed my down jacket and all the feathers are stuffed into the corners; it looks like it is RUINED. Is there any way to fix this total mistake???

  7. Erin says:

    My jacket came with instructions to wash. They say tumble dry several times on medium heat with 6 tennis balls and the down will fluff up again. I have not tried it yet.

  8. Rachel says:

    Drying with tennis balls is what I do. It will fluff it right back up!

  9. Ann says:

    I can only find colored tennis balls. Won’t this stain the fabric of my down jacket? It’s a light gray. I can’t find any white ones unless I bleach out the colored ones.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  10. Billy Bob Joe says:

    I think you just take it to the dry cleaners; my instructions are in Korean.

  11. Joyce says:

    Mine washed beautifully. I used a delicate detergent, on a small load, dried in dryer with two yellow tennis balls (no color rubbed off). My machines happen to be front loaders, though.

  12. Jacintha says:

    My jacket from Zara went totally flat. I put it in the dryer but it’s still flat. Its like there’s no feathers left at all. Dont know what to do?

  13. Helen says:

    The tag on my white down coat say that I can’t use bleach on it. I washed it once, following the instruction. Now, my coat has yellow lines by the seams. Any ideas how to get rid off those yellow lines? Thanks.

  14. Carl says:

    Modern washers have a “hand wash” cycle. I found that this works great on my best down equipment. I used regular detergent and it worked well. After the wash, I take them out of the front load washer and just hang them near my air-tight wood stove. After they have dried, I put them back in my dryer with zero heat and let them tumble. This spreads out any down that was clumped. I did this procedure about five times now for my best down-filled clothing and I had zero problems every time!

  15. Melanie says:

    Helen,
    Look at the tag to find out what fabric the coat is made with and then research the best way to whiten that material.
    For example, my down coat is 100% Polyester. So, I would first try to whiten the yellow with diluted lemon juice. In your case, I would probably use a Q-tip to apply the diluted lemon juice just along the seams, then let the coat dry in the sun and repeat the process until the seams are restored. The same process is recommended for Nylon.
    I would also recommend that you read the ingredient list for your current laundry detergent – it may be that your detergent contains chlorine and that is the cause of the yellowing. Try switching to a different laundry detergent, and you could try using a stain-removing laundry detergent to whiten the yellowed seams as well.
    Source: Mama’s Laundry Talk – Have Your White Clothes Turned Yellow
    Source: HowToCleanStuff.net – How to Whiten Yellowed Nylon

  16. Melanie says:

    Ann,
    I often put three yellow tennis balls in the dryer with my beige down jacket or white down comforter and have never had a problem. I had never considered that they could transfer dye (good call); maybe I got lucky and bought tennis balls that don’t bleed easily. Try tossing the tennis balls in with a couple of old towels first to see if any dye transfers. My three tennis balls are for laundry use only, and after about a dozen dryer cycles, they are still bright yellow.
    Another idea is to treat the tennis balls with a dye fixative, such as RIT (available at Walmart).
    White tennis balls are available online from MyGrannary, as well as from Home of Poi. I found both via Google Shopping.

  17. Emma says:

    My one says wash at thirty, but do not tumble dry and do not dry clean? So, how am I meant to dry it?

  18. Melanie says:

    Emma,
    You can hang the jacket to air dry, or lay it flat to dry.

  19. Ruth says:

    I’ve washed my North Face jacket several times, with no problems. Just use mild detergent on a wool cycle. I havn’t got a tumble dryer so I just put a bit of effort into refluffing it by pulling apart the clumped down while it dries, giving it a good shake, etc.; it’s fine! The jacket is five years old now and hasn’t lost any of its volume or warmth, and big bonus, it doesn’t smell!

  20. Philippa says:

    HELP. I have a lovely Macpac feather jacket. I have been in Rarotonga for 4 months and took it with me to have when going back to NZ in the winter!
    It has been hanging up with plenty of air, but is covered in mold!!!!!! : (
    I don’t have a front loader washing machine or a dryer…… can I hand wash it in mild eco wash? Would appreciate any help. : )

  21. Laura says:

    I’ve washed my down jacket as instructed on the care label and dried with tennis balls on the lowest setting. I followed everything exactly and even researched a bit before doing so as I was a bit apprehensive. So why has the color run onto the inside lining of my jacket? I can’t get it out and now it’s ruined!!

  22. Chloe says:

    I washed my boyfriend’s puffy North Face jacket in the washing machine, took it out and all the features inside were all stuck together and flattened. How do I get it back to normal??

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