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Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Down Jacket: Tips for Proper Care and Maintenance

Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Down Jacket: Tips for Proper Care and Maintenance

Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Down Jacket: Tips for Proper Care and Maintenance

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Cleaning a down jacket requires a gentle approach to preserve the loft and insulation of the down feathers. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean a down jacket effectively:

Materials Needed:

  • Mild detergent specifically designed for down (Nikwax Down Wash or similar)
  • Front-loading washing machine (or a large, clean bathtub for hand washing)
  • Tennis balls or dryer balls (for machine drying)
  • Clean, dry towels


  1. Check Care Label: Before proceeding, check the care label on your down jacket for any specific cleaning instructions or recommendations from the manufacturer. Always follow the care instructions provided.
  2. Prep the Jacket: Close all zippers and fasten all buttons and snaps on the jacket. This helps prevent stress on these components during the cleaning process.
  3. Washing Machine Method: If your jacket’s care label allows for machine washing, follow these steps:
    • Use a front-loading washing machine, as agitator-style machines can damage the jacket.
    • Add a small amount of mild down detergent to the machine according to the detergent’s instructions.
    • Place the jacket in the machine and select a gentle cycle with cold water.
    • Run an additional rinse cycle to ensure all detergent is removed.
    • After washing, gently press out excess water without wringing or twisting the jacket.
  4. Hand Washing Method: If machine washing is not recommended or available, you can hand wash the jacket in a clean bathtub or large basin:
    • Fill the tub with cold water and add a small amount of down detergent.
    • Submerge the jacket and gently agitate the water to distribute the detergent.
    • Let the jacket soak for about 20-30 minutes, then gently agitate the water again.
    • Drain the soapy water and refill the tub with clean water for rinsing. Repeat until all detergent is rinsed out.
  5. Rinsing and Drying: Whether you used the washing machine or hand washing method, the rinsing and drying steps are the same:
    • Gently press out excess water from the jacket without wringing or twisting.
    • Lay the jacket flat on clean, dry towels and gently roll them up to absorb more moisture.
    • Carefully transfer the jacket to a drying rack or a flat surface. Avoid hanging the jacket, as this can cause the down to clump.
    • If using a dryer, add a few clean tennis balls or dryer balls to help fluff the down as it dries.
    • Use a low heat setting in the dryer and periodically check and fluff the jacket to ensure even drying. Drying may take several hours.
  6. Finishing Touches: Once the jacket is completely dry, gently shake and fluff the down to restore its loft. If you notice any clumps, gently break them apart with your fingers.
  7. Storage: Store your clean, dry down jacket in a cool, dry place, preferably in a breathable storage bag. Avoid compressing the jacket for long periods, as this can affect the loft and insulation.

By following these steps, you can effectively clean your down jacket while maintaining its quality and warmth. Always remember to refer to the care instructions provided by the manufacturer for the best results.

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