How to Wash a Down Jacket

When I started this bloggy thing, I never expected it to be a place where I bared my soul. But I’ve made a few confessions here that most ladies wouldn’t share amongst friends, let alone strangers.

But you know how they say, ‘confession is good for the soul’? Well, here goes another one:

My first down jacket!

My first down jacket!

I bought my first down jacket about two years ago on a ski trip to gorgeous Queenstown in New Zealand. It was a memorable week when the town was blanketed from a massive snow dump and with the airport closed for a week, the mountains in white-out, the Speight’s running low – what else could a gal to do but go shopping!

So here’s the confession bit … I washed it for the first time about 3 weeks ago.

I’d like to argue that it was because the manufacturers say to only wash when necessary or that as long as my multiple base layers underneath the jacket are washed regularly (they are), then that justifies it. But the truth is that I was nervous about washing it! I’d never owned such a puffy delight before and was scared that I was going to ruin it.

Well, check out my video for step-by-step instructions on How To Wash a Down Jacket and see me conquer my down washing demons!*

Here’s the rundown:

  1. Follow the manufacturers instructions
  2. Use ‘Pure Soap flakes‘ – (It’s a bit of an old fashioned product and one I’d never used before. When I opened the box, I was struck by the childhood memory of the smell of my Nanna’s laundry).
  3. Work to the instructions on the pack
  4. Dissolve 1 and a 1/2 cups of soap flakes in boiling water
  5. Add mixture to a bath 1/3 full of warm water
  6. Immerse the garment fully in the water, give it a good swish
  7. Soak for 10-15 mins
  8. Drain the bath and rinse the garment thoroughly, 2-3 times in cold water, until the suds disappear
  9. Lay flat in the sun/freshair to dry in its natural shape
  10. Place in clothes dryer for 2 cycles to ensure it’s fully dry and down has fluffed up again

I cheated a bit with some extra tips:

  • Put in the spin cycle of your washing machine after the bath to remove excess water before drying flat outside.
  • Add 2 tennis balls to the dryer to help create movement and extra fluffiness amongst the down inside.

*That’s 1 1/2, one and a half, one point five, 1.5… not 15 cups!

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Comments

      • Ken says

        One important point with sleeping bags is that they have a lot of down which is heavy when wet, and delicate baffles inside, so a lot of care needs to be taken in handling them otherwise they break and the down will move around more than it should.

  1. Col Isaac says

    For those of us who are just as nervous about washing a gortex jacket do you have any suggestions?

    Your article about loosening the boot laces for better toe space has been magic for me. No longer do I suffer toe joint agony bush walking. Enjoying the Bush even more.

    Thanks

    Col

    • says

      Ah, you’ve set me a challenge Col! I’ll add it to the list of updates to come.
      As always though, check with the manufacturers about what they recommend. There are so many different jacket fabrics on the market these days, eg. eVent, Goretex, Hydronaute, etc, that it’s important to get the care instructions right.
      Heck! Rain jackets are an investment piece, so you want them to last :-)
      Thanks for stopping by.
      C

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