After a lot of time out on the trails or at the campground, there may come a time when your sleeping bag looks and smells a bit, well, less than ideal. When that time comes, no need to fear, you can wash your bag! No matter what bag you have - the gentler you can be, the better. We always recommend that you either hand wash your bag or send it to a facility with industrial-sized washers that specialize in washing sleeping bags, such as a larger REI. You do not want to dry clean your bag or throw it in your washer at home; these methods can be too aggressive and increase the risk of damaging your bag. Damage due to improper care is not covered under warranty, so overall, it is better to be safe and hand wash your bag! To do so, you will want to have a clean bathtub or some sort of large waterproof vessel to work with.
- Zip up the bag and turn it inside out.
- Fill the tub with warm water (enough to cover the bag).
- Add in the recommended amount of the appropriate soap. It’s best to use a non-scented, mild detergent so you don’t attract any animals next time you’re at camp! For down bags, we recommend NikWax or Gear Aid down wash.
- Gently massage the bag to force water/soap through it (be sure not to pick up the bag during this process, that will put too much strain on the seams).
- After it seems the bag is clean, drain the tub and carefully squeeze out the water.
- Turn your bag right side out.
- Refill the tub with clean water and knead the bag as before to rinse it free and work clean water throughout it.
- Be sure you get all of the suds out and once more carefully squeeze out the water!
- You can either air dry or tumble dry your bag on a delicate cycle with low or no heat.
- If air drying, be sure to hang it delicately where it will get good ventilation with limited wind and sun.
- When your bag is nearly dry, you will need to gently pull apart the insulation to ensure there are no major bunches of feathers all clumped together.
- If you are drying it in a dryer, be sure to use a large, front loading dryer and go low and slow- allow at least 3-5 hours for it to dry (even longer if air drying).
- Once your bag is nearly dry, you can toss in a few clean tennis balls with the bag to help fluff up the down and break up any clumps that may have formed during this washing process (you can also break these apart with your hands afterwards but that is a bit more tedious).
- Be sure your bag is fully dry before storing or you do run the risk of mold or mildew forming!
If you‘re ever unsure about the best method to wash your bag, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Our representatives would be happy to assist you and can be reached by submitting your question here.