Many owners of down jackets wonder, how do you wash the item to prevent it losing its original appearance? Owners of this type of clothing are scared by the idea that if the feathers clumped together after washing, the garment will be impossible to wear. To avoid this, down jackets should be washed and dried according to certain rules. But if you have already washed such a garment and the feathers inside clumped, there are several ways to spread out the down.
The features of jacket filler
To avoid unpleasant consequences, as well as to restore the ruined down jacket after washing, you should know the features of the down filler. Natural down can absorb moisture well and dries poorly. Moistened feathers can begin clumping together, so they are hard to spread out after washing.
To avoid this happening, the garment should be fluffed while washing to prevent feathers from clumping. You can add tennis balls for washing down-filled garments. Add the balls into the washing machine and they will help to fluff the jacket during washing.
Aside from water, the down also absorbs small particles of detergent that make the feathers clump together. If the down jacket smells after washing, then it was washed with poor-quality detergent and feathers absorbed harmful substances. Adding the balls when washing a down jacket helps clear the fibers of the down from the detergent and dirt, so they will not clump together.
Rinse the jacket a few times to clear all the residues from the detergent. This should also be done with adding the balls. Make sure to dry the jacket properly after washing it, periodically shake and pat it with your hands so that the down doesn’t clump together. If you do everything right, the jacket will resume its original shape.
If you notice that there are small clumps on the garment after washing, and decide to leave everything as it is, the jacket will not be as good as it was before. To keep you warm, the space between the fibers in your down jacket should be filled with air. If the feathers are clumped together and detergent particles are still there, the garment will not be able to get you warm.
Under the influence of gravity, the clumps will settle down, and the top of the jacket will become thin, and the wind and cold will easily go through the fabric. Therefore, it is necessary to get rid of all clumps, even small ones, and spread the filler out evenly throughout the inner layer.
Ways to eliminate the problem
If your down jacket became thin and feathers clumped together after you washed it, you can try to fix the problem in two ways. The first way is to re-wash it in the right way, the second is to try to get rid of clumps by patting them with your hand.
If you see that the clumps are small, and the jacket is not dry yet, then bring the product to a regular appearance will be easier. If the garment is dried well, and the clumps are large and solid, besides it started to smell, it is better to wash the jacket following the instructions below.
Basic rules for washing down jackets:
- Use only delicate detergents, preferably gel or liquid detergent. Do not use powder detergents, it clogs the feathers with harmful substances.
- Wash products with natural down only in cool water, otherwise the filler will lose its good qualities.
- When machine washing, be sure to put special balls into the drum to help fluff and wash the down jacket properly.
- Rinse the garment thoroughly 2-3 times to wash out residues of detergents from the filler.
- Machine rinsing is also recommended to perform with the balls.
- Spin the garment carefully, do not twist it. Set the machine on a lower RPM spin cycle.
Before you start to wash the product, read the information on the fabric care label. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damage.
If the manufacturer recommends machine washing of your down jacket, it is quite simple to care for it. Prepare the garment for washing in the machine. Remove all the items from jacket pockets, zip up any zippers and close any flaps. Turn the jacket inside out.
Prepare the special balls for washing the down jacket beforehand. They are often sold in outerwear stores along with the jackets. They can also be bought where you buy your household cleaners. If you can not find the special balls, they can be replaced with ordinary tennis balls (the ones covered with a soft fabric).
First, make sure that the tennis balls will not bleed during washing and will not spoil the surface of the jacket. It is better to buy tennis balls with a white or light surface.
Put the jacket into the machine drum. Wash only one item at a time, even if it is small. Down garments need a lot of room to be washed properly.
Then put 4-6 balls into the machine and close it. Set the machine on a delicate cycle. Set the temperature to 30 degrees. Pour the liquid detergent into the detergent compartment and turn on the machine.
After the washing cycle is completed, turn on the machine for additional rinsing. Do not take out the balls from the drum. After the product is rinsed well, spin it at low speed.
If the manufacturer only allows hand washing of the product, wash the item manually. Pour cool water into the bath and dilute a mild detergent.
Put the jacket in the bath so that it is completely covered with water. If the surface of the clothes has dirty spots, scrub them off and leave the jacket for 15-20 minutes. Then gently wash the down jacket.
Prepare clean water and rinse the product well several times, use clear water every time. Then gently wring, without twisting the garment and put it on top of the drying rack or another flat surface.
How to dry
The filler of the down jacket can crumple in the drying process, so you have to dry sit correctly. Dry the garment at room temperature or outdoors in the warm season. At the same time, make sure the jacket does not get exposed to direct sunlight.
If the garment is tufted finely, you can hang it on a wide clothes hanger. Shake your jacket from time to time and pat the clumps with your hands if they begin to form. This should be done before the garment dries completely.
If the garment tufted largely, wrung-out jacket should be dried flat on top of the drying rack, to make sure that the feathers do not fall and do not clump together. The bottom of the product should be ventilated. During the drying process shake the garment regularly and fluff feathers with your hands. The more often you do this the better appearance the garment will have after washing.
When drying the jacket, turn it over several times so that it dries evenly. Until all the down is dry, pat the filler with your hands. At the end of drying shake the garment once again and hang on a hanger.
How to remove the clumps
If your down jacket has clumped after the washing process and became shapeless, but you still do not want to wash it once again, you will have to try to remove the clumps by hand. There are several ways to do this.
Put the product on a flat surface. Find a clump, and begin to knead it with your fingers, separating the filler particles from each other. After breaking out one clump, spread the filler evenly over the inner layer and shake well.
Consistently move from one place to another. It is a pretty long process. It may take a few hours.
If you want the down to spread out faster, and the down jacket to become fluffy, you can use a hairdryer. Turn the hairdryer on cold air mode. Do not use hot air mode as natural feathers can not be exposed to high temperatures – they will lose their qualities. Direct the airflow to the problem area, while straightening it. It is better if you will have someone to help you.
Another way is taking a carpet beater and patting the item with it, trying to break up the clumps. Shake the down jacket from time to time, so the filler is spread out inside even better.
If the room has high humidity, drying the jacket can take about two days. To speed up this process, spread the garment on the drying rack with the inside facing down. Put a heater at the bottom. At the same time, make sure that the device does not touch the jacket and is a sufficient distance away from it. Also, avoid the jacket being exposed to warm airflow.
Periodically turn the garment over, shake it and knead clumps. Do so until the jacket is completely dry, then hang the dried and straightened garment on a hanger.
To restore the original appearance of the down jacket, which has clumped after washing, carefully follow all the recommendations above. Properly wash and dry down-filled products to keep them well.