How to Clean a Down-Filled Sleeping Bag

Written by chris anzalone
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Washing a down-filled sleeping bag requires some gentle care. Powerful detergents can deteriorate the sensitive surface oils, and many washing machines can damage the delicate fibres. To ensure that you get the most thorough cleaning with minimal damage, you will need to clean your sleeping bag by hand. Although this approach requires more effort than using a washing machine, it will ensure that your bag remains like new for years to come.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Mild washing powder
  • Dryer

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  1. 1

    Fill a bathtub with warm water. Fill the water high enough to completely submerge the sleeping bag.

  2. 2

    Add a cup full of mild detergent or non-detergent laundry soap to the water-filled bathtub. Pacific Coast Feather Company recommends a mild detergent, while REI advises to stick with entirely non-detergent soaps. Whatever you choose, just make sure never to use anything stronger than a mild detergent.

  3. 3

    Lay your sleeping bag flat inside the tub and allow it to fully absorb the water and soap. Squeeze the bag from top to bottom to work in the soap, and allow it to soak for approximately 15 minutes.

  4. 4

    Drain the water. When the tub dries, squeeze the bag from top to bottom to remove additional soap and moisture.

  5. 5

    Turn on the faucet and rinse the bag with cold water. Squeeze it out as you rinse in order to thoroughly remove the soap. Let it soak for an additional 15 minutes and drain the water.

  6. 6

    Squeeze the remaining moisture from the bag. If soap remains, rinse and drain again.

  7. 7

    Place your bag in a dryer. Choose the lowest available heat setting, and set the machine for "tumble dry." Alternately, air dry the sleeping bag outdoors.

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