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Down Jacket

How to Wash & Store Your Down Jacket

If you’re like me, you’ve probably wondered how to wash your down jacket. After all, it’s an essential piece of gear that needs special care. In this article, I’ll share my tried-and-true methods for keeping your down jacket clean and fluffy.

Check the Care Label

Before we delve into the cleaning process, it’s crucial to check the care label on your down jacket. This small but informative tag, typically found inside your jacket, can prevent you from potentially damaging your precious garment. It’s a reliable guide from the manufacturers about adequately caring for the product.

The care label includes important symbols and instructions, such as whether the jacket is machine washable or only suitable for hand washing, according to Iowa State University. Sometimes, it specifies that it’s a dry-clean-only item. Misinterpreting these symbols can lead to disastrous results, like shrinking, discoloring, or even ruining the material thoroughly.

Considering the variety of down jacket configurations, you can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to cleaning. Some jackets pack a combination of feathers with down, while others use purely synthetic down. Each filling type has unique care requirements, and the care label serves as a key to unlock these instructions.

Here’s a typical example of how these symbols might look:

  • Machine wash, normal cycle
  • Hand wash only
  • Do not wash

You might be tempted to skip this step, thinking it’s just a bunch of incomprehensible signs. But don’t let these symbols intimidate you. With a bit of practice and easy resources, they’re not that hard to decipher. After all, the benefits outweigh the efforts. Knowing how to read care labels should be fundamental to any down jacket owner’s skill set.

Preparing the Down Jacket for Washing

After getting acquainted with your down jacket’s care label, it’s time to prepare it for the washing process. Preparation is a critical step, and skipping it may affect the cleaning effectiveness and potentially harm the garment.

Firstly, empty all pockets and check every compartment, as overlooked items could leak, melt, or shed unwanted materials during the wash. Items like gum, lip balm, or even a forgotten tissue can cause havoc—sticking to the jacket or, worse, clogging your machine!

After ensuring empty pockets, zip all zippers and secure any Velcro closures. These could snag on the jacket or clothes in the wash, causing unneeded damage. After years of experience, I’ve found this simple act can prevent a great deal of wear and tear in the wash cycle.

Next, switch on a gentle brush. I cannot emphasize enough how important this step is—lightly brush off as much grime, dirt, and loose materials as possible. Neglecting this could cause the washer to work harder, potentially impacting the jacket’s waterproofing abilities.

If you encounter stubborn stains, pre-treat them with a stain remover. Apply it gently and leave it for the instructed time. Start with a light application, as too much can leave residue behind or even discolor the area.

Finally, turn your jacket inside out. This simple step is often overlooked but can help protect the jacket’s outer fabric and color from unnecessary wear and friction.

Remember—as we discussed in earlier sections, not all down jackets are made equal. You’re preparing the jacket based on its specific care instructions.

Washing the Down Jacket

Now that we’ve entered the preparation stage, let’s dive into the washing process. It’s pretty simple, and I’ve simplified it into steps.

Start by selecting a gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine. This cycle ensures a soft, gentle wash that’s easy on your jacket. Try to steer clear of aggressive washing cycles. They’re not cut out for the delicate material of a down jacket.

Regarding the detergent choice, opt for a specialized down cleaner. Why? Conventional detergents can strip away the natural oils in down feathers, reducing their insulation capabilities. If a down cleaner isn’t on your shopping list, a mild, non-bio detergent will do just fine.

Then, go ahead and throw your prepared jacket into the washing machine. One important tip: keep the machine manageable. Your coat needs ample space for a thorough cleaning. It’s best to wash it individually or with one other small item.

Once you’ve ensured that, let the washing machine do the hard work! Allow the cycle to finish with no interruptions.

Steps for Washing

1. Select Cycle: Gentle/Delicate

2. Choose Detergent: Specialized Down Cleaner

3. Load Machine: Jacket Only

4. Start Cycle: Allow Full Cycle

Drying the Down Jacket

Fresh out of the wash, your down jacket may look sad, flat, and soggy. You might be tempted to worry that you’ve ruined it, but fret not! This is normal and part of the process. Now, drying the down jacket properly becomes your next crucial step.

Begin by gently squeezing out the excess water. Avoid wringing or twisting, as this could potentially damage the feathers. Next, place the jacket in your dryer. I’d recommend setting your dryer on low heat. Higher heat settings might be quicker, but the risk of damaging the material or feathers is not a gamble you want to take.

For best results, use a few dryer balls alongside your jacket. They’ll help break up the wet clumps of feathers, ensuring the jacket dries evenly. Tennis balls are a great alternative if you don’t have dryer balls. Fun fact: using a white sock to cover them will prevent any potential dye transfer.

Setting a timer and checking on your jacket every 30 minutes is wise. You’ll want to fluff it manually and ensure it is drying evenly. Patience is key here; it may take a couple of hours, but ensuring your jacket is completely dry is vital. Any leftover moisture can create mildew and ruin your coat.

As for air drying, a different route is recommended. It might seem safer to preserve your jacket, but laying it flat to dry can take days, even up to a week. Moreover, the feathers clump together when air-dried, and restoring their puff becomes tedious.

In a nutshell, the drying stage requires attention to detail and patience, but the result of a clean and puff jacket is most definitely worth the time. Remember, every coat takes time to dry, and rushing this process could lead to undesirable outcomes.

Storing the Down Jacket

After the drying process, you’ll need to focus on how to store your down jacket properly. The art of storing these kinds of jackets reliably and safely without compromising their quality is as crucial as cleaning them. Also, a correctly stored jacket will stay puffy and clean for an extended period.

Careful planning before storing your jacket makes a huge difference. By default, it’s always recommended to store your coat uncompressed. Remember that prolonged compression periods can impact the loft, reducing its insulation capacity.

Before storing your jacket, ensure it’s scorchedHumidity and moisture can lead to mold growth, deteriorating the jacket’s quality. It’s crucial to confirm that the jacket is 100% dry to avoid such issues.

Another tip is not to hang your down jacket for an extended period. The weight of the jacket can eventually cause the down to shift, leading to uneven insulation. Instead, fold it gently and place it on a shelf or, better yet, in a breathable fabric bag.

Avoid placing heavy items on top of the jacket. Down feathers are delicate and can be damaged under excess pressure.

I can’t stress enough the importance of storing your down jacket in a cool, dry place. It optimizes the lifespan and allows you to enjoy the warmth and durability of a down jacket for years. I’ve seen a lot of high-quality jackets rendered useless due to improper storage. If you’ve invested in a quality piece, it’s only right to take care of it properly.


We’ve journeyed together through the ins and outs of washing and storing your down jacket. Remember, a well-cared-for jacket equals a long-lasting, warm companion for those chilly days. You’ve got to ensure it’s fully dry before tucking it away and always store it uncompressed. That way, you’re preserving its loft and insulation. Be sure to fold it gently and stash it in a breathable fabric bag, ideally in a cool, dry spot. It’s all about protecting your investment in your high-quality down jacket. With proper care, it’ll serve you well for years to come. It’s not just about washing your down jacket; it’s about the whole care process. So, here’s to your warm, fluffy, well-maintained down jacket!

Clotheslyne: Your Trusted Garment Care Partner

For those looking for a hassle-free way to maintain their down jackets, Clotheslyne offers a convenient solution. We provide free pick-up and delivery laundry services in select areas, including New York, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Alaska, and Massachusetts. Our Clotheslyners are community members who understand the importance of caring for specialized garments.

Clotheslyners will expertly wash, dry, and fold your clothes, ensuring your down jacket is ready for the next cold season. They will wash, dry, and fold your clothes, ensuring it’s ready for your next outdoor adventure. Let Clotheslyne handle the hassle of laundry day, providing professional care with the convenience of local service.

To use Clotheslyne, download the iOS Apple App or Google Play Store Android app to schedule your laundry pick up.

You can also schedule your laundry pick up through our web portal.

Fill up a tall kitchen bag full of clothes. A Clotheslyner in your community will pick it up and deliver it back to you washed, dried, and folded in 48 hours. It’s that simple.

FREE pickup and delivery laundry services for less than drop-off at your local laundromat!