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