How to Wash a Down Sleeping Bag

How to Wash a Down Sleeping BagA down sleeping bag is an effective solution to stay warm on camping trips, especially during the cold winter months. But despite a long camping trip, a sleeping bag doesn't need to be washed after every outing. It can be spot cleaned and stored in an air-tight container with some baking powder to keep odors at bay. If you feel your bag needs to be properly cleaned, wash it gently by hand to avoid damage in a washing machine.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Woolite
  • Clothesline and pins
Step 1
Unzip your sleeping bag and shake it out to knock loose any dirt or debris. This also ensures that nothing is caught in the bottom of the bag before washing.
Step 2
Take a damp sponge or cloth and wipe off any visible stains on your down sleeping bag. Start by gently pressing the sponge against the bag. If necessary, rub lightly but do not strain or overwork the fabric.
Step 3
Fill your bathtub with warm water and add a cap full of Woolite detergent.
Step 4
Work the soap through the sleeping bag and let it soak for 20 minutes. Occasionally stir the water around with your hand to mix in the soap and keep it from collecting in the folds and crevices.
Step 5
Drain the bathtub and rinse the sleeping bag with cold water. If you have difficulty rinsing the bag clean, take it outside and drape over a clean clothes hanger or attach to plastic clothespins and rinse with a hose on low pressure. Keep rinsing until the water runs clean and do not wring it out.
Step 6
Consider using a front load washer to clean your sleeping bag. Although hand-washing is recommended by most retailers, a front load washer can be used if necessary. Zip the bag up first and wash it on the delicate cycle.
Step 7
Hang your down sleeping bag over a clothesline or deck and let it air dry in warm weather. Putting down a few towels first will prevent it from collecting dirt again.

Tips & Warnings

Read your sleeping bag manufacturer's instructions before washing.
Air dry your down sleeping bag in the sun for a few hours to remove odors.
Store your bag properly by sealing it in an air-tight container and sprinkling in a few tablespoons of baking powder to remove odors.
Washing your sleeping bag in a washing machine can cause damage to your machine and bag.
A down sleeping bag does not need to be cleaned often. Spot clean before resorting to detergent and water.

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