Down can be washed, and clean down is always warmer than dirty down. In other words, it’s a good idea to wash your jacket at regular intervals – about once a year is fine for a jacket you wear a lot. For many of our down garments we recommend using a professional laundry service for water-based washing. You should also follow the washing and drying instructions on the label of your garment!
| General Tips for Washing Your Down Garments at Home
Your washing machine must be large enough for your garment to move around. Select a washing programme for delicates; 30°C or 40°C is a suitable temperature. Do up all zips and turn the jacket inside out.
Use a gentle detergent, preferably one of the specialist down detergents available from well-stocked outdoor retailers. The detergent must not contain bleach, and you must not add fabric conditioner to the washing machine.
Make sure that the jacket is rinsed properly, three to four times with a lot of water. Then use the fast spin setting so that it will be as dry as possible.
Put the spun-dry jacket into a tumble dryer with two or three tennis balls. The tumble dryer must also be large enough for the jacket to have plenty of room to tumble around. The balls help to distribute the down evenly and to ensure that it fluffs out again. Dry the jacket at a low temperature for as long as possible. You can help the down to spread through the down channels by removing the jacket from the tumble dryer every so often, shaking it in all directions and “breaking up” any clumps.
Drying takes longer than you might think. Many tumble dryers are equipped with automatic moisture detection, which can be “tricked” by the dryness of the garment’s outer fabric. That is why you may need to restart the tumble dryer several times. Make sure that the jacket is completely dry, light and fluffy before stopping the drying process. Then hang your down garment to air on a coat hanger.
| More work without a tumble dryer
It is possible to dry your jacket without a tumble dryer, but it is a lot more work. You will need a warm, well-ventilated room and you will need to give the jacket frequent and thorough shakes at regular intervals to prevent the down from forming clumps. If you have access to a hot-air fan, e.g. in a communal laundry room, this will be very helpful. Sun and wind will also reduce the drying time if the weather permits you to dry your garment outside. (But even when making use of the wind or electric fans you have to shake the jacket – there’s no escape!)
| More tips for taking care of your down garment
• When you are not wearing it, keep your jacket on a coat hanger in a dry, airy place.
• If it gets wet, make sure that it dries out properly before you hang it up and put it away.
• If you are forced to put a wet down jacket into a backpack, make sure that you hang it up somewhere airy and let it dry out properly as soon as possible.
• If the outer fabric gets dirty, it is sometimes sufficient to use a damp cloth to wipe it down. Or brush off loose dirt using a clothes brush!