Down is nature’s most efficient insulator, but to get the best out of your down gear you need to take care of it properly. Washing a down jacket can seem like a bit of a confusing task, and there are a few important things to know before you get cracking. But if you want to get the most out of your gear and have it last for a long time, it’s worth doing a bit of research first. Here are the dos and don’ts of washing your down jacket.
- Be gentle! It’s OK to use a front loading washing machine on a gentle cool cycle, but a hand wash in warm water is always a safer bet and will put less stress on the shell and fill of your jacket.
- Use a down-specific soap, like Nikwax Down Wash. Down wash is designed specifically for washing outdoor gear, and will help prolong the life and performance of your kit.
- Dry your down properly! Be sure to handle your jacket with care when it’s wet. Gently knead the down to rinse the residual water out, then lay it over a clothes horse in the shade. Finally, toss it in the tumble dryer on a low heat with a tennis ball to help separate the clumps of down.
- Use fabric softener or bleach. These products damage the shell and compromise the performance of down, meaning a wash will do more harm than good.
- Dry clean. Again, the chemicals used by dry cleaners are bad news for technical outdoor gear.
- Wash your down after every use. A few times a year is probably enough for most people, but use common sense here – if your down jacket has grubby, oily marks on it then it’s time for a wash.
The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) is a global standard in the ethical sourcing of down and feathers. RDS isn’t compulsory, but we’ve chosen to use 100% RDS down because we’re passionate about making the planet a better place. Track the entire process at www.trackmydown.com.