A Colorado winter is upon us and that means it’s time to break out your cold-weather gear. A down jacket can be a winter essential and we recommend washing it 1-2 times per year to keep the exterior clean and the down fluffy for maximum warmth. But can you machine-wash a down jacket without risking damage? The experts at Best Service Company created a step-by-step guide that shows how to wash a down jacket safely at home.

How to Wash a Down Jacket in 6 Easy Steps

Can you wash a down jacket in the washer? The answer is yes, as long as you have a front-load washer. The agitator in many top-loading washers may damage the down filling. Since a front-load washer doesn’t have an agitator, it’s a safer bet for a delicate item like a down jacket. We recommend these 6 steps for how to wash a down jacket in your front-load washer:

Things You’ll Need:

  • Front-load washer
  • Dryer
  • Down wash
  • Stain remover (if you choose)

how to wash a down jacket

Step #1: Pre-treat Your Jacket if Needed

The first step in how to wash a down jacket at home is pre-treating any obvious stains. This can be done by pouring a small amount of down wash or stain remover onto the stain, gently rubbing it in, and allowing it to sit for at least 30 minutes.

We recommend down wash over regular detergent because detergent can strip the down of its insulating oils over time and is often difficult to rinse out completely.

Step #2: Fill Your Washing Machine

To begin washing, select a warm water temperature for your washing machine. Follow the instructions on your down wash before pouring the suggested amount in your washer.

how to dry a down jacket

Image from Amazon

Step #3: Run the Gentle Cycle

For a delicate item like a down jacket, we recommend using the gentle cycle on your washer. This will wash and spin the jacket with slower motions, lessening the risk of damage to the down filling.

 Step #4: Run a Second Rinse Cycle

Though this is an extra step you may not take for a typical load of laundry, a second rinse with just water will help ensure that all the down wash is removed.

 Step #5: Dry Your Down Jacket

Knowing how to dry a down jacket is just as important as proper washing to avoid damage. Though it will take time, we advise drying your down jacket in the dryer on a low heat setting. While it may take 2-3 hours to completely dry, it will lessen the risk of heat damage.

You may notice that your down jacket clumps after washing, with bunches of down concentrating in certain areas. To prevent clumping while drying, we suggest throwing 3 clean tennis balls into the dryer before starting your drying cycle.

down jacket clumps after washing

Image from Clever Hiker

Step #6: Fluff Your Jacket to Remove Clumps

To further lessen the chance of clumping, it’s recommended that you remove your down jacket from the dryer every 15-30 minutes and manually break up any clumps. This will become easier and quicker as your jacket dries.

When your jacket is fully dried, fluffy, and clump-free, hang it in an adequate amount of clean, dry space. If you’ll be storing or packing your down jacket we suggest taking extra care to ensure that it’s dry, as compressing wet down could lessen its insulating abilities.

Knowing how to wash a down jacket is as simple as having the right supplies and following these simple steps to preserve its unique insulating capabilities. Best Service Company has over 50 years of experience with Colorado cold-weather gear and is Englewood’s premier washer and dryer service. We’re happy to help with any washer or dryer concerns!