How to Wash a Down Jacket

Luke in down jacket standing by lichen-covered rocks

Taking proper care of your down jacket can increase its warmth and lifespan, whether it’s minor repairs or washing.

How to wash a down jacket

  1. The first step in washing your down jacket is to consult the care label on the jacket and follow those instructions. If you can’t locate a label or it’s been rendered unreadable by past adventures, check the manufacturer’s website for care recommendations.
  2. Invest in a down-specific detergent, such as those from Granger’s or NikWax. Do not use harsh or regular detergents on down garments.
  3. Use a front-loading washing machine.
  4. Use cold water and delicate wash settings.
  5. Remove your jacket promptly when the cycle is done.

how to dry a down jacket

  1. Use the dryer’s lowest heat tumble-dry setting.
  2. Include 2-3 dryer balls to break up the wet clumps of feathers. Dryer balls are widely available, but tennis balls are a cheap alternative.
  3. Be patient and ensure that the jacket is completely dry.

Don’t be tempted to air-dry a down jacket. Hanging a down jacket to dry will take a long time, can result in excessive feather clumping, and has been reported to cause unpleasant smells.

how often to wash a down jacket

Washing down jackets too often can weaken seams and accelerate the natural decomposition of the down feathers, so there’s something to be said for being judicious about washing your down jacket.

Washing once or twice a year is likely sufficient for average use. For those who spend months camping and working hard in their jackets, more frequent washes might be needed.

how to store a down jacket

Down is highly compressible so your jacket may come with a stuff sack or a storage pocket. While squeezing your jacket into a tight little package may work well for backpacking or traveling, it’s important to avoid leaving a down jacket compressed for long periods.

The best way to store your jacket is the simplest:  put the jacket on a hanger in your closet.



Questions? Talk to a gear specialist.