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How to wash a Down Jacket

How are you caring for your trusty (and possibly mildly odiferous) down jacket? Postseason is a great time to wash your down jacket—to bring it back to full performance in anticipation of your upcoming epics.

Down jackets are famously great insulators, but can quickly loose insulation value when wet or dirty. A recent surge in treated down has been helping with the soggy down issue, but dirt and body oils will still significantly reduce performance. Cleaning ensures all types of down perform their best, keeping you warm and looking sharp.

Most jackets can be washed and brought back to like-new performance in a front-loading, home washing machine, but read your particular garment’s care instructions before tossing it in the washer.

Down requires a gentle, detergent-free cleaner and some specific care. The new Nikwax Down Wash Direct is specially formulated to clean down garments without compromising the loft. Down Wash Direct will also maintain the water resistance of treated down and provide some exterior water repellency.

Follow these three steps:

  1. Wash: To start, clean any residual detergent from your washing machine. Read garment care instructions and the Nikwax label for dosage. Wash and rinse thoroughly.
  2. Dry: Tennis anyone? The damp down will be clumpy from the wash, and completely drying it is critical. Use a low heat setting and toss 1 or 2 clean tennis balls in the dryer to break up the clumps. Be patient—drying the jacket may take 1–3 hours. Keep resetting the timer until your beloveds are lump-free and fully dry.
  3. Storage: Until that epic trip, store your down jacket on a hanger (not in a tight stuff sack). Over time, perpetually “squished” down feathers will become more resistant to re-lofting to their original air-trapping excellence.

Results: When you pull your newly revived jacket out of the dryer, not only will it be clean, it will also be puffier. By gently cleansing the delicate feathers, Nikwax Down Wash Direct restores loft and reinvigorates the down—delivering warmth when you need it and helping your jacket serve you well on all your upcoming adventures.

Now go back to the rest of your checklist and get your stoke up for the season ahead.

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