Washing your down jacket or vest is crucial to keep it feeling fresh and performing well.
We would recommend washing once a season, or sooner if it gets visibly dirty or the down fill looks clumpy or flat.
The easiest way to do this is by using Rab Wash, our no-nonsense, specialist downwash service.
Click here to find out more.
However, if you'd rather do it yourself...
Here's a step-by-step on cleaning a down jacket or vest:
- Rinse your washing machine out before use. This clears any leftover detergent and softeners that might damage the fabrics and coatings. Clean the detergent drawer and then run one or two rinse cycles.
- Make sure the pockets are empty.
- For best results, use a technical down cleaner specifically formulated for the job.
- Place the wash solution in the detergent drawer and if you are reproofing at the same time then add the proofer into the conditioner compartment.
- Machine Wash on a gentle, cool setting. Check the white care label, but 30ºC or 40ºC is usually ideal both for your jacket and the environment.
- After spinning the garment can still be heavy with water and being too rough can rip internal compartments. Support bigger items by ‘cradling’ in a bath towel or similar whilst removing it from the machine.
- If required very gently squeeze out any excess water using a towel.
- Immediately tumble dry your jacket. Use a front-loading dryer on a cool (or synthetic) setting.
- Every 20-30 minutes remove your item from the dryer. Give it a gentle shake and a good pat. You are looking to get an even distribution of down throughout the baffle. You can be more vigorous with this as the down starts to dry out. Adding a couple of clean tennis balls or tumble dryer balls may help speed up the drying time and increase loft.
- Don't remove your item from the dryer too soon. It is tempting, we know. The outer fabric might feel dry, but the down inside may still be damp.
- Drying can take anywhere from 3-5 hours. The bigger the item, the longer it takes. When your jacket is nice and puffy again, it's time to take it out.
Once you are done, air your jacket for a couple of days before use and if storing it, store it uncompressed in a cool, dry place.
Down jacket clumps after washing?
Has your down jacket clumped together? Does it look like it's lost its puff?
This doesn’t mean that your jacket is faulty or that you have damaged it permanently. This happens when it hasn't dried properly. The down is most likely either clumped together or has migrated into an adjacent baffle and needs to be moved back again.
Follow these steps to re-loft your down-filled item
- First, re-wash your jacket to get the down wet again (this can simply be a rinse cycle).
- Gently squeeze out any excess water. If the down's clumped, it might be worthwhile spreading the down out at this point to aid in the drying process. You can pinch the baffles and very softly manipulate the clumped down to more evenly fill the baffle.
- Place your jacket into a tumble drier on a low heat/gentle setting. Using drying balls or clean tennis balls can sometimes aid the lofting process.
- Every 20-30 mins remove the jacket and turn inside out to promote even drying. Also, give the jacket several firm pats to help manipulate the down and break up any clumped areas.
- Drying time varies depending on the jacket style and size but can take anywhere from 3-5 hours. It is better to dry the item longer than necessary as even though the face fabric can feel dry the down may still be damp.