how to wash a down jacket

Winter is FINALLY over!!!!! In order to extend the life of your down jacket, and remove the funky smell it has accumulated, it is important to wash your down jacket.  Many people are scared to do this since a good down jacket usually costs a pretty penny.  Before putting my jacket away for the season, I will explain the steps necessary to wash a down jacket SAFELY in a machine.

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You will need a few things to successfully wash your down jacket:

  1. Nikwax Down Wash (a specialized down detergent that won’t ruin your feathers)
  2. 3 clean tennis balls
  3. Front loading washer (The agitator in the top loader can damage your jacket.)
  4. dryer

Here’s what you do:

  1. Before washing your down jacket, close any zippers or velcro and close any flaps. If possible, turn the jacket inside out.
  2. Use Nikwax Down Cleaner to wash your jacket.  There are certain oils on the down, in addition to coatings on the fabric of your jacket that can be damaged and removed by regular detergents.  This is very important.
  3. Set the washing machine to a cold wash on a delicate or wool cycle (or the equivalent gentle setting). You want a gentle cycle to wash your jacket.  You also want to set the machine to do an extra rinse cycle.  This will help remove any detergent residue on your jacket.
  4. According to the directions on the bottle of Nikwax, pour in the appropriate amount of cleaner into the detergent compartment. Begin your wash.
  5. A down jacket needs to be dried in a dryer for best results. Otherwise, the feathers will clump together and ruin your jacket.  Your down jacket should be tumble dried at no or the lowest heat. Do not set the drier to a high heat, because you will risk ruining the fabric and feathers in your jacket.  You will need to patient with the drying process as it does take a long time.
  6. Add 3 tennis balls into the drier before starting the cycle to dry your jacket. This stops the feathers from clumping together and helps to regain the loft, or fluff, of the down.  Remove the jacket every 10-15 minutes of the cycle and shake to help re-fluff the down.  This will allow the loft to reset itself. Make sure the jacket is completely dry.  Otherwise, your jacket might start to smell and become musty.  This drying process might take an hour or more.

That is it!  It is not a hard process, just time consuming.

****Double check the washing instructions of your particular jacket to ensure there are no specific instructions.



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2 Comments on How to Wash a Down Jacket (without ruining it!)

  1. Ahhh even thought I do not have a front loading washer this is good to know, my poor down jacket is FILTHY ick. Thanks for linking up at the HappinessIsHomemade Party this week! 🙂