Can You Dry Clean A Down Jacket?

Dry cleaning is not recommended for down jackets and other gear containing down fill such as sleeping bags. Industrial dry cleaning uses a solvent called tetrachloroethylene that can eliminate the natural grease the thing that actually keeps you warm. Your jacket will also lose its loft and the fluffy feeling. So, in normal circumstances, dry cleaning is not suitable for down clothes except the one that is exclusively labeled as “Dry Clean Only”. In this case, you can either follow the instructions present on the label or wash your jacket by hand using detergents specially designed for down clothes.

How dry cleaning works?

Dry cleaning is the process of cleaning clothes using a solvent instead of water. Despite its name, dry cleaning is not a dry process. In the cleaning process, clothes are soaked in a liquid solvent mainly tetrachloroethylene. Dry cleaning is a good option for clothes made from fibers that don’t react well when exposed to water like silk and wool. It’s also good for the clothes that should not be exposed to the heat of a traditional dry dryer.

How to wash a down jacket?

So, if dry cleaning is not recommended, then what is the best way to clean a down jacket? Well, there are two ways you can wash your down jacket; either by hand washing or machine washing. Always wash your down gear with a dedicated detergent (Nikwax Down Wash Direct works great) designed to wash down gear to protect the longevity of your products. If you are on a budget, you can also choose to use a standard laundry detergent but it may ruin the down feathers by clumping them and reducing loft.

Learn more about washing down gear in a washing machine here. It’s a step-by-step guide to washing a sleeping bag but the process remains the same.

How often should you wash your down jacket?

A down jacket should be washed at least once a year with normal use. You don’t need to wash your jacket after every trip because frequent washing can reduce the down’s ability to keep you warm even washing the recommended way. A good time to wash your jacket is at the end of a season when you are packing and storing it for the next year. This will also increase the life of your jacket because storing a dirty jacket can reduce its life and loft. Also, make sure you are avoiding frequent washing as much as possible. If you are using your jacket more frequently, you can choose to wash your jacket twice a year.