How to Clean A Down Sleeping Bag?

How to Clean A Down Sleeping Bag

A year has passed since you bought the sleeping bag. You have been a serious camper, and you already feel that your sleeping bag is dirty. It has an odor, and the outer part has grime and grits. You know what will happen if you fail to clean it. Other than the smell, accumulating dirt will ruin the fabric of your tent. It will also decrease its loft, not to mention the insulation of your sleeping bag. Since you don’t want to buy another one soon, you are responsible for taking care of the one you have. Remember, it will remain in good condition for the next ten years if you take care of it.

The next question that follows is, do you know how to clean a down sleeping bag? You hate laundry work, and you are thinking of taking the sleeping bag to the dry cleaner. But do you know that the solvent they use may trip off the oil and ruin the fabric? So, dry cleaning isn’t a good option. The next option is cleaning using a large front load machine of at least 10kg. What if the only available machine is small? Then you don’t have a choice; you will have to hand wash.

How Often Should You Clean Your Sleeping Bag?

That will depend on the usage and the precaution that you have put in place. If you don’t want the stress of washing it regularly, you need a sleeping bag liner. That makes your work easy since you will only have to spot clean the dirty part with a soft cloth. There is no harm in washing the How to Attach Sleeping Bag to Backpack sleeping bag at least once per year.

Also Read: How to Insulate A Tent for Winter Camping

Washing Using a Machine

You are lucky that a large front loading machine is available. Do you know how to use it? If you have no idea, then you better wash with your hands. The sleeping is delicate, and you don’t want to ruin it. So, this is how to clean a sleeping bag and get perfect results.

Read The Instructions

Your sleeping bag label contains instructions that will guide you when washing using a machine. You don’t want to mess it up.

The Rinse Cycle – Your machine may contain some soap or detergent residue that may affect the oil of your sleeping bag. It may also have some metals or agitators that can rip off the fabric of your sleeping bag. When you run a rinsing cycle, it clears all the residues. Check if the machine is smooth before loading your sleeping bag.

Zipper and Velcro Tabs – You already know how delicate your sleeping bag is and can’t afford to ruin it. So start by securing the zippers and the Velcro of your sleeping bag. Again, if your bag is waterproof, you would like the water to reach every corner. So, it’s essential to turn it inside out. If it’s not waterproof, let the exterior part remain out.

Add Technical Cleaner – Products such as Nikwax down soap have been designed to clean a sleeping bag. You can use a mild soap if such a product isn’t available. Avoid detergents and bleaches.

Wash it – Clean it at a temperature of 30 degrees. Rinse it properly and ensure that no soap residue remains on it.

Dry it – You can either air-dry or use a front-loading dryer to dry it and use the lowest temperature.

Clean With Your Hands

If the front-loading machine is not available, or don’t know how to use it, use your hands to clean it. Here is the process.

Read The Instructions

You should read instructions on the sleeping bag label to know the do and don’ts.

Rinse Your Tub – There could be some soap and detergent residue on your bathtub. So rinse it thoroughly.

Add Specialized Down Cleaner – You can use soap designed to wash the sleeping bag or use pure mild soap.

Submerge Your Sleeping Bag – Pick your sleeping bag and put it in the bathtub, and massage it gently. If it has tough stains, consider soaking it for a maximum of four hours.

After cleaning the bag, drain the dirty water and add clean and continue pressing it. Rinse the bag until the soap particles end. Squeeze the bag to drain excess water. You can also fold the bag towards its center to help you drain excess water.

Also Read: How to Heat a Tent with a Candle

Dry it – When lifting the bulky sleeping bag, hold using both hands. You don’t water the water to ruin its fabric. Load it on a front-loading dryer and use the lowest settings. You can also air dry it.

Maybe you have a synthetic sleeping bag, should you clean it in a similar style that you used to clean down. Luckily yes. If you know the tactics of cleaning the down sleeping bag, you already know how to wash a synthetic sleeping bag. Like the down sleeping bag, avoid dry cleaner since they use chemicals to harm your sleeping bag.

Also Read: [20°/30°/40°] Tent Camping In 40 Degree Weather

When cleaning a sleeping bag, you can use a machine or your hand. When drying the synthetic sleeping bag, ensure that it fills the whole tumble dryer. Use the lowest setting, and avoid dryer sheets. You can turn it inside out before returning it to the dry. Give it 48 hours to air dry. You can’t risk having the molds accumulating.


Consider using a sleeping bag liner to protect your sleeping bag from getting dirty. But again, aim at cleaning your bag once a year. If dirt and grime accumulate, it will affect the quality of your sleeping bag. You have the option of hand washing or even washing your sleeping bag with a machine. Never take your sleeping bag to any dry cleaner. Never use detergent or bleaches since they will affect the oil of a sleeping bag. Remember, the sleeping bag is delicate, so avoid lifting with one hand when wet. Start by squeezing excess water, then support it using both hands. Whether you have a down or even a synthetic bag, the process of cleaning and drying it is similar.

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