Sleeping bags create a sense of home to campers and hikers. Treat it right by learning how to machine wash your sleeping bag correctly.
If washed correctly and regularly, your sleeping bag can last you years and provide consistent insulation. To increase the longevity, wash a sleeping bag semiannually or annually. This also depends on how much it is used throughout the year.
Down sleeping bags are more delicate than other materials due to the light feathers it is made out of. Here is more information on the details of down vs. a synthetic sleeping bag.
It is important to follow these steps correctly in order to not ruin your bag. When you wash your sleeping bag, the process takes around 4 to 6 hours.
You can either machine wash or hand wash your bag, but the choice is yours. The best machine washer is a front loader at your local laundromat because they usually have the most room, and their dryers tend to be much larger. Hand wash a sleeping bag if you have a front loader or small washer.
Things you will need to Machine Wash Down Sleeping Bag:
- Large front-loading washer and dryer – recommend going to a laundromat
- Down soap – regular detergent and fabric softer will ruin the bag
- Dryer balls or tennis balls for drying
Steps to Machine Wash Down Sleeping Bag
- Check the washer for anything that may snag your bag while in the wash and move to a different washer if necessary. Don’t use a washer that has an agitator.
- Run an empty rinse cycle in the washer, or normal cycle if rinse isn’t an option. This allows any previous detergent and softer that may be left over.
- Turn your sleeping bag inside out, if it has a waterproof shell, zip up the zippers, and do the velcro on the bag.
- Put your sleeping bag in the washer and add the down soap.
- Set the washer on a low temperature or delicate type of cycle.
- Once the cycle is completed, check to see if there is any remaining soap in the bag. If there are you will need to run a rinse cycle or another wash without soap.
- If you choose, you may air dry your bag. Just note this could take a very long time. But if not, continue with the steps.
- Before you place your bag in the dryer, check to see if there is anything in the dryer that could potentially snag your bag.
- Carefully place your sleeping bag in the dryer on a low heat setting. A high heat setting would ruin the down feathers, therefore ruining your bag. This is the longest part of the process and will take 3 to 5 hours. This is the time to throw in your dryer balls too.
- Check at around 2.5 hours to break up any additional clumps with your hands. Then, continue the drying cycle until the bag is fully dry.
- Once your drying cycle is complete, don’t immediately put your sleeping bag back in its sack. Allow it to lay out for a few days before you use it or wrap it back up.
- Loosely pack it back in its bag, and finally compress it once you are about to hit the trails again.