One of the questions I often get asked here at Webtogs is how do you wash down products like jackets, sleeping bags, vests etc. With all down products they are a little tricky to wash, but it is still possible.
The only thing we would recommend is Nikwax’s down wash. Ordinary detergent will clump your down together and will result in a product that just won’t insulate you any more, so it is critical you use the proper stuff. To the same end you need to ensure that all of the normal detergent is gone from your washing machine. To do this, clean the detergent draw and put the washing machine on empty on a hot wash (90 degrees if possible) to dissolve all of the detergent from around the drum.
Follow the instructions on the down wash for the quantities and put the bag on a delicate wash. Once the wash has finished I like to put it on the same wash again without any detergent which just ensures all of the cleaning agents have been thoroughly rinsed out.
Once the wash has finished the best way of drying it is in a laundrettes tumble drier on the coolest setting possible. I always check to see if there are any sharp bits in the drum first as well, particularly with high end bags that have a thin face fabric. It also helps to put a couple of tennis balls in there with whatever you are drying to help break up any clumps of down. Down always takes a long time to dry and if the down is still clumping within the baffles it is still wet. Once it is completely dry you will be able to break up any clumps by shaking and manipulating the bag.
If you don’t have access to a tumble drier, then you will need to hang it in an airing cupboard or somewhere warm for about a week, making sure you break up any clumps that form to ensure the down dries thoroughly. My top tip for sleeping bags is to always use a bag liner which helps to keep the bag clean. You can wash the liner a lot easier than the bag itself, and it will extended the periods between it needing a wash.
All of this may seem a bit of a long winded process, but you down product will end up in great nick with the down performing as it should!