How to clean your down sleeping bag

One Plant sleeping bag

A sleeping bag is the most important part of your travelling/camping kit and you should invest in one that suits your trips and needs. Take the time to consider where you will be travelling with your bag, what conditions you’ll be in, how much it’ll be used and what your budget is. Discuss with a salesperson exactly what your intentions are so you can purchase the one that meets your needs. Do shop around as there are many different types and styles.

So you are armed with excellent information about sleeping bags, I highly recommend that you visit the One Planet website at this link here. There is plenty of information on bag shapes, fills, performance and how to choose the right bag for you. It’s a good place to start. I do openly declare that I only use One Planet gear for a number of reasons: Australian owned, Australian designed, Australian made and their gear lasts a long time – my summer bag is over 17 years old and I have a backpack from 1991 that I still use.

Care down sleeping bag

Now that you have your sleeping bag, how do you wash it when it’s dirty?

There are a couple of ways of approaching this and highly recommend you read through and make the choice that suits you and your bag. If it’s not done right you could ruin your bag so choose wisely

Source a professional

It’s time get out your favourite search engine and source that professional company that specialises in cleaning sleeping bags. If it’s a down bag, make sure they know what they are doing because if they don’t, it could end in disaster. 
If you have a One Planet bag, they welcome your bag back in whatever condition and they’ll bring it back to life (as much as is humanly possible) so it’s lofted, fresh and ready for your next adventure. For further information please email One Planet at this link here.

DIY – wash by hand

From my experience and those of many, this is the best method. It’s not a quick fix and worth taking the time to follow each step so your bag comes out looking as good as new.

Step 1: Fill a bath or a very large tub with warm water.

Step 2: Add non-detergent soap such as Grangers (available at Kathmandu) and do not use conventional detergents.

Step 3: Ensure all zippers are zipped up and velcro attached.

Step 4: Turn inside out.

Step 5: Place bag in the bath and gently dunk until the entire bag is wet. DO NOT attempt to remove bag while it is this wet.

Step 6: Leave bag for 1 – 3 hours to soak.

Step 7: Drain the dirty water and then allow fresh water to rinse the bag until there are no more soapy suds.

Step 8: Gently press out as much as water as you can until there is little left.

Step 9: DO NOT squeeze bag to remove water. Instead, fold the bag on itself and press down gently to remove those last drops of water.

Step 10A: Air-dry the bag by laying it out flat but open on towels over portable clothes racks in a shady spot. If the weather is cold or humid, you can place in a room with a heat source but be careful to keep separating the fill so it returns to its original state. It may still need to be placed into a dryer on low depending on how things progress.

OR

Step 10B: Once you’re satisfied you’ve removed as much excess water as possible, bundle the bag into a tumble dryer which is set on low or air-dried.

Step 11: I recommend you revisit the bag every hour or so and gently massage and separate the down until the loft returns.

Note: A sleeping bag that is filled with down can take up to a week to dry 100% so please ensure you revisit you bag to keep separating the fill and checking that air flow around the bag is good.

One Planet down sleeping bag

I have also posted on how to store your down bag here and your  synthetic bag here

Another tip is of course to use a sleeping bag liner (silk or cotton) that will help preserve your bag and reduce the amount of cleaning it will require.

Note: I’ve cleaned 30-year-old bag twice!

I’ve also posted on how to wash your synthetic sleeping bag here.

Now it’s your turn.

Tell me your down bag stories – the good, the bad and the ugly. Leave a comment below.

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