How to Clean a Down Filled Sleeping Bag

How to Clean a Down Filled Sleeping Bag
Down sleeping bags are a great piece of camping gear. They can be quite warm and famously comfortable. Unfortunately, this comfort comes at a price. The feathers inside a down bag are delicate and can easily be damaged by harsh or excessively frequent washing. Taking the time to wash your bag right will keep it in good shape for years to come.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Detergent
  • Water
  • Brush
  • Down cleaner
  • Bathtub
  • Dryer
Step 1
Air the sleeping bag out every time you use it by putting it out in the sun the next day. Airing it out prevents it from getting rank as quickly, postponing the need for a wash. The more frequently you wash your down sleeping bag, the quicker it will wear out. You should also wash frequently on your camping trips if possible, and consider sleeping in clothes to prevent body oils from soaking into the bag.
Step 2
Clean spots that get dirty quickly. Mix a gentle laundry detergent with enough water to form a paste. Then, pull the liner away from the bag and rub the paste in with a brush. Gently rinse the spot with water and air or hang your bag to dry it. This is a good way to take care of the hood and draft collar, which often absorb enough hair and facial oil to get dirty and discolored before the rest of the bag.
Step 3
Fill your bathtub about 3/4 full with warm water. Mix in a cleaner designed for down gear such as the one linked to below. Use whatever proportion the package recommends.
Step 4
Put the bag in the water and let it soak for about 15 minutes. Then, gently squeeze and kneed the down sleeping bag with your hands to wash it.
Step 5
Drain the tub and press the bag against the side or bottom to squeeze the water out of it. Do not twist or wring the bag, since this could damage it.
Step 6
Repeat steps 4 and 5 with cold water. Then, wash the bag a second time in warm water and finally, a second time in cold water. Because you are being so gentle with the bag and not vigorously working it, it can take several washes to get it clean.
Step 7
Put your bag in a dryer on the low setting and gentle spin. You may want to take your bag to a laundromat, since a heavy down sleeping bag could damage a small home dryer.
Step 8
Every 15 or 20 minutes, remove the bag from the dryer. Work any lumps out by gently pulling them apart with your fingers, then put the bag back in. Sleeping bags can hold a lot of water inside, so keep drying it for at least half an hour after it appears to be dry on the outside.

Tips & Warnings

Be sure your bathtub is clean before you wash your bag in it.

Article Written By Isaiah David

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.