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Is there a particular cleaning product that works best for cleaning well-worn and slightly stinky down products? Also, does washing down restore loft? What about the best method for restoring waterproofing to the shell material?


asked May 02 '11 at 17:56

oliver's gravatar image


To wash down, I use a commercial down soap (you can get it at places like REI) in the washing machine, on delicate. The key is in the drying, which I do in on low with several new tennis balls thrown in. The bouncing helps restore the loft to the items. It takes what seems like forever to get it dry, and the tennis balls make a racket, but in the end the item comes out cleaner and fluffier.

To re-waterproof, you can try the various camping-goods sprays, all of which have resulted in something more like water resistant for me.

ETA: I do this in my home washing machine (front loader; top-loaders can rip sleeping bags apart) with no issues whatsoever. The latest bottle of soap I have is Nikwax, but I have used lots of different kinds.


answered May 23 '11 at 17:18

ayse's gravatar image


edited May 23 '11 at 21:44

Thanks for the info. Do you use Nikwax? I've also heard it's best to do it in a very large machine. Have you had luck cleaning them at home?

3 years, 8 months ago
oliver's gravatar image oliver

Use Nikwax. They make the best I've found for everything. Down, Goretex, tents... I wash both personal gear and company gear every few weeks with it. Use the down wash and then if you have one of the various waterproof outer membranes follow it up with their waterproofer. Definitely use tennis balls when you dry, as a matter of fact toss the bag in a dryer every few weeks with them to keep the loft at its best. And when you store it store it as expanded as possible, it'll keep the down at its best.


answered May 23 '11 at 20:50

twoeightnine's gravatar image


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Asked: May 02 '11 at 17:56

Seen: 3,721 times

Last updated: May 25 '11 at 13:24

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