When it is wicked cold and slippery outside, you do not even want to stick your nose out of the door. But once you put on a warm down jacket, the cold does not seem quite so piercing. You’re not even afraid of falling when you have such a soft outfit on. Well, almost. But what do you do when your favorite winter outfit becomes not quite so beautiful? How do you wash a down jacket so that it can still function properly?
Does it need dry cleaning?
The first thought is to take your down jacket to the dry cleaners. It seems like a wonderful solution:
- you do not have to wash and dry your down jacket at home;
- the dry cleaners know how to wash a down jacket without leaving water stains;
- you don’t have to worry about your favorite winter outfit.
But is it indeed the best option? Unfortunately, not all dry cleaners give a warranty for their work. Seems absurd? But it is true. Some dry cleaners are under no obligation to guarantee the result, so you risk to getting back something you did not expect. And getting a professional to clean your things does not come cheap.
If you do not trust dry cleaners, or just want to wash the down jacket at home, the easiest way to do it is definitely by hand. By following a few simple rules, you can easily ensure there aren’t any water stains, and washing the down jacket did not turn into a disaster. Shall we begin?
Preparing for wash
Before you start washing, you need to find a suitable detergent. Remember that down jackets can not be washed with simple dry detergent powders, as they often cause lines and stains. Also, at home, you can not use detergent with chlorine or other harsh chemicals. It is best if you can find a colorless liquid soap or shampoo designed specifically for washing down products.
Make sure to detach the fur lining and any other removable parts of the down jacket. If it has decorative elements that could stain when washed, try not to wet them with water. If they can not be removed, you can wrap the parts with waterproof plastic wrap, or just wash the jacket in upright position. Incidentally, it will also help to avoid lines and stains and the stuffing getting wet, which means that the drying afterwards will be that much easier.
Supreme caution when washing
Washing the down jacket requires supreme caution, since improper handling can lead to water stains and can the jacket losing its shape. If you want to avoid this, it’s best to wash it by hand. Although, if your washing machine has never let you down, and you have 3-4 tennis balls, you can try and trust the machine and use it to wash the down jacket. But that is a slightly different story.
And now we will tell you in great detail how to wash a down jacket by hand, and ensure you are happy with the end result. First, estimate the amount of work you have to do.
If there is only one stain, it is better to just remove it, using a mild shampoo and a good brush. That way you do not wet the filler, and it will be much easier to dry the jacket.
If the stains are small, it is easier to wash the jacket in an upright position. To do that:
- hang the down jacket on a hanger in the bathroom;
- gently wet it on top, directing the shower stream to just touch it;
- after that, lather the jacket up, paying special attention to the areas around the elbows, cuffs, pockets, the area near the zipper and collar;
- scrub all these areas with a good brush;
- rinse off the foam with a shower, positioning the water stream so that it does not wet the down filler too much;
- make sure that the foam didn’t leave any stains;
- do not use fabric softener for rinsing, it will be very difficult to wash completely out, which will lead to an unpleasant change in color of the fabric and the appearance of stains;
- you can now dry your jacket.
If your down jacket is stained very bad and it seems that superficial washing will not be enough, fill a bathtub with warm water, dilute a bit of detergent in it, and soak the coat for 25-60 minutes. Then you need to wash it with a brush. Of course, the filler will get wet, but you can avoid any problems by drying it properly.
Rules for drying
Remember the first and most important rule: down jacket should be dried in an upright position. Don’t experiment: if you lay it flat on a blanket or towel to dry, nothing good will come of it, as the down filler will not be able to dry properly. The coat will take at least two days to dry, even if the weather outside is excellent.
Be sure to read about how to fluff a down jacket after washing. It is just as important as washing it properly by hand. The easiest way to do this at home is to use a carpet beater: shake all parts of your winter coat well several times to make sure the filler doesn’t form any lumps. You need to thoroughly dry the down filler, otherwise, it will become a breeding ground for different types of bacteria.
It is best to dry clothes outdoors. However, in wet weather, the down jacket dries very slowly or even does not dry at all. In this case, it can be brought into the house and placed near the heater to dry.
Remember: do not dry down items directly on the radiator or near an open fire.
To speed up the drying process, use a fan heater or hairdryer. Just make sure that the air stream is not too hot. Point it at the inside of the garment (onto the lining fabric). Do not forget to shake the down jacket well, moving from top to bottom, in a circle and from bottom to top.
If you washed the down jacket, you can only wear it after it is completely dry.
If lumps still appear, try to do as follows:
- fluff and spread the clumped down with your fingers;
- vacuum the down jacket from the inside, using a narrow nozzle for furniture or just using the pipe;
- move the vacuum cleaner from one corner to another so that the filler moves following the hose;
- pay attention to the seams, bottoms, and pockets – this is where lumps form the most;
- after that, move on to ironing.
Although, not all down jackets need to be ironed. If the outer part is too wrinkled, it can be ironed with an iron on a low setting (about 110 degrees). It is ideal to use vertical steaming.
Do not be afraid to trust yourself and be sure to try to wash your down jacket yourself. If you follow our advice, then you will succeed. Soon, your favorite down jacket will keep you warm in the cold once again. Winter is not quite so terrible when you have a nice down jacket, is it?