How To Clean A Down Jacket

How to clean a down jacket

 

 

Washing a down product is often a task that people are afraid to do for fear of destroying a £200+ jacket. This has not been helped by the fact that for many years you were actually advised not to do so by professionals. It’s seen as something that should only be done as a last resort, with many people going years without de-fumigating their garments, our trusty down filled jackets are often known as our stinky best friends.

For those of you who give in to the bad odour and take the plunge in attempting to clean your product this is usually a scary process, especially for the first time.

Even if you follow the correct steps through the washing process plenty of people are left devastated and sometimes brought to tears by the sight of a flat looking jacket, once so lofty and large now reduced to shrivelled mess of compressed feather. It is at this point that most people accept their loss and jackets upon jackets around the world from brand to brand are returned to retailers as faulty goods…

The truth is it’s really quite easy!

 

washed and wet  mushed down

 

With modern day fabrics looking after your down products is actually a fairly simple thing to do and you shouldn’t be scared to do so. Not only is it easy but it’s also worth while to get the most out of your product.

 

So to help you out we’ve put together a nice simple step by step at the bottom of this page showing you how to clean a down jacket. First up though let’s get a few of those scary questions out of the way…..

 


 

Let’s clear a few things up

 

 

CAN I WASH BERGHAUS DOWN PRODUCTS?  

Yes of course so long as it is dirty, in fact we recommend it, see below for step by step instructions.

 

IS IT DANGEROUS?

No not at all, so long as you don’t over wash/treat the product. If you stick to the procedures and wash and dry the item correctly within reason this will actually improve a dirty jackets performance not hamper it.

 

CAN I WASH A PRODUCT MORE THAN ONCE?  

Yes you can, although unfortunately nothing lasts for ever. The more you wash a garment the more it will affect the performance so wash it when you need to, don’t wash it every time you wear it.

 

WILL THIS AFFECT THE PERFORMANCE OF THE HYRODOWN® TECHNOLOGY?  

As above, the more you wash a garment the more it will affect the performance so wash it when you need to, don’t wash it every time you wear it. Our water resistant Hydrodown should last for the lifetime of the garment so long as it has been cared for in the correct way.

 

YOU HAVE WASHED YOUR PRODUCT AND CANT GET THE LOFT BACK!

Don’t worry just yet, if you have washed the product correctly then this is totally normal. See the step by step below.

 

WHAT IF I HAVE WASHED MY PRODUCT INCORRECTLY, I.E USING BIOLOGICAL SOAP?

Washing a garment in a Biological detergent can damage the performance, effecting the fabric’s breathability and water resistance. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have ruined the item but it does mean you’ll have to work quite hard to revive it. You may need to wash and retreat the item a few times to regain its performance. Damage can be more severe if washed several times in the wrong detergent.

 

SHOULD I IRON MY PRODUCTS?

This is not something that we would ever recommend, the heat from an Iron could damage the outer fabric and would also have an effect in compressing the down, therefore destroying it’s performance.

 

SHOULD I WASH IT ON ITS OWN?

If possible yes, at the most you could possibility wash two items together depending on the size. However for best results try and wash and retreat the item on its own.

 

CAN I TUMBLE DRY A PRODUCT?

We actually recommend drying our down products on a low heat in a tumble dryer. This is for two reasons:

 

   1.) To agitate the down fill and feathers allowing the loft to return for maximum warmth.

 

   2.) The heat from the tumble dryer will activate the jackets DWR after retreatment, this will allow for better water resistance.

 

Drying balls for down products

 

ARE TENNIS BALLS A GOOD IDEA WHEN TUMBLE DRYING?

Yes they are. Tennis balls are often cut in half and added to the tumble dryer stage as an extra aid for agitating the down fill. Helping the jacket return to its full loft. You can now actually buy specific drying balls for this purpose (pictured above)

 

DON’T HAVE A TUMBLE DRYER?

This is not a problem In terms of returning the loft in your jacket, it’s just a little bit harder work. You’ll have to make sure to fully dry out the down on a radiator. Once dry, simply agitate the product by shaking it until the loft has returned.

 

When retreating the DWR (durable waterproof  repellency) on a product, to get the most out of the application we do recommend finding a tumble dryer, so if possible use a friend’s at this stage if you don’t have one.

 

 


 

 

Care Procedure

 

Before washing your product brush off any loose mud or dirt and do up any zips or durable waterproof repellency Velcro and close any flaps.

It is best to wash your down jacket with a cleaner specifically designed for down or technical outerwear, we would recommend something like Nixwax’s ‘Nixwax Down Wash‘ or Tech Wash for the cleaning process and Nikwax Down Proof™ or TX Direct for re-proofing.

 

Nixwax-Downwash-and-Downproof

 

For best results wash your Berghaus products via a washing machine to allow for a confident hassle free process. However this is not the only way to do so, hand-washing is often a preferred option. If you would like more information on hand washing your products then see here. But for now here’s a step by step for washing and retreating our down product via a machine cycle:

 

 

 


 

STEP 1 CLEANING

 

  • Your machine – Remove all detergent build up from the detergent dispenser

 

  • Place item in washing machine (ideally 1 item per wash)

 

  • You can use a standard non biological soap as pictured or for extra benefits we recommend using ‘Nixwax Down Wash‘ 150ml in medium/hard water*    areas and 100ml in soft water areas. (Depending on location)

 

  • Wash according to care label, preferably on a gentle cycle and slow spin.

 

Close up of our asgard hybrid jacket being washed

 

  • After the washing cycle has finished run multiple spin cycles, each time incrementally increasing the spin speed, to remove excess water

 

  • If possible use a tumble dryer on a low heat with the added aid of drying balls, or half cut tennis balls as a budget option. This method will help to beat the down fill into shape allowing for maximum loft and warmth. Once dry remove from the machine and lightly shake the garment. See the next step if you don’t have a dryer.            

                     

A) Please Note the drying process will be slow, but it’s very important, so be patient. It can take up 2-3 hours to dry a lightweight down coat. this with the exception to hydro down which will dry a lot faster.

 

B) Pull the item out every so often and give it a shake to break up any clumps that might be forming. The more your coat dries, the easier it will be to remove clumps.

 

  • If drying outside of a tumble dryer allow to dry naturally on a washing line or on a radiator, once fully dry you will need to aggravate the down fill to allow its loft to return. Do this by shaking the garment rather vigorously to separate the down (this is completely normal for all down products and does take a while) 

 

Final finish after treatment

 

 


 

 

 

STEP 2 RE-PROOFING

 

For most people especially with a new-ish garment step 1 will probably be sufficient to revive the performance of your product. However for those of you with older products that are struggling with the outer fabric absorbing water it maybe time for you to improve the DWR (Durable Waterproof Repellency)

 

Just about every outdoor jacket comes with a coating of DWR and over time mainly due to contamination the coating will lose its effectiveness. The Job of the DWR is to allow water to bead up on a fabric and roll off as opposed to soaking in. Bear in mind that most down jackets are not water proof anyway so don’t expect miracles but a good DWR should allow you to keep the water from soaking in for short periods or rainfall.

 

Rejuvenated DWR

 

If you find that water doesn’t bead of your product at all then its time to retreat it in order for it to perform at its best. To do this we would recommend using Nikwax Down Proof™ and here’s a quick lesson on how to do it:

 

 

  • Wash item first following step 1

 

  • Remove all detergent build up from the detergent dispenser

 

  • Place clean item in washing machine (maximum 1 item)

 

 

  • Run 30°C synthetic cycle and slow spin (be sure to read the garment care label)

 

  • After the washing cycle has finished run multiple spin cycles, each time incrementally increasing the spin speed, to remove excess water

 

  • Fully Dry the garment on a low temperature in a tumble dryer. For this step it is important to use a tumble dryer to activate the DWR (in short, the       heat from the tumble dryer will allow the DWR coating micro fibres to stand up on end, allowing water to repel better). again follow the next two steps:     

              

A) Please Note the drying process will be slow, but it’s very important, so be patient. It can take up 2-3 hours to dry a lightweight down coat. this with the exception to hydro down which will dry a lot faster.

 

B) Pull the item out every so often and give it a shake to break up any clumps that might be forming . The more your coat dries, the easier it will be to remove clumps.

 

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Hopefully this article will have cleared up a few thing for you and gave you the confidence and knowledge to look after you’re down products. For most people this is a complicated process so if you have any further questions or would like any further advice then please add your comments at the bottom of the page.