How to clean your synthetic sleeping bag

Care synethetic 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

DIY – wash by hand

I’ve found the best way to clean my synthetic bag is doing it myself and save the expense of a professional. It’s not hard but again, take your time as your sleeping bag is a big financial investment.

I’ve only ever used a front loading machine and from colleagues, they’ve agreed this has been the best way as they are gentler on the bag.

Step 1: I cleaned the machine with two cups of vinegar and half cup of bicarbonate of soda on a 30-minute cycle. That got rid of any soap residue.

Step 2: Make sure all the zippers are undone so you can maximise the water and soap cleaning the bag.

Step 3: Place into the machine and using baby shampoo (ideal) or a light soap, add to the dispenser. No more than two tablespoons.

Step 4: I choose a spin cycle of 700 RPM and temperate around 38°C. You’ll have to check your machine guidelines to check what is the right setting. I may also choose a secondary rinse if I still see suds on the final spin.

Step 5: Be careful as you remove the bag from the machine as it may still be quite heavy with residual water.

Step 6: 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.

Step 7: Note it may take a few days to dry depending on the time of year and weather.

Step 8: If still damp I highly recommend popping the bag into a tumble-dryer on a low heat for say 20 minutes, check it, and then increase in 10 minute increments if not quite dry.Step 10: I recommend you revisit the bag every hour or so and gently massage and separate the down until the loft returns.

Note: Patience is required.

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 my 25 year-old synthetic bag twice!

I’ve also posted on how to care for 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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