Washing a down bag

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robing
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Washing a down bag

Postby robing » 18 Nov 2016, 8:24pm

My down sleeping bag could do with a wash but it won't fit in the washing machine. Any ideas? And what are the washing and drying recommendations?

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meic
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Re: Washing a down bag

Postby meic » 18 Nov 2016, 8:29pm

I quite like the information supplied with Alpkit bags.
https://www.alpkit.com/support/stickies ... eping-bags
Yma o Hyd

rotavator
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Re: Washing a down bag

Postby rotavator » 18 Nov 2016, 9:14pm

I would send it off to be cleaned by a specialist. If you try doing it yourself you are likely to ruin it unless you have both the luck of the Irish and the patience of Job.

PH
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Re: Washing a down bag

Postby PH » 19 Nov 2016, 8:21am

I washed one myself, in the bath, basically the instructions on the Alpkit website, it went OK but took the best part of a week by the time I'd got it dry. It came out as good as new. I know someone who ruined a good bag, so it is a risk, I don't know what they did wrong, maybe they tried to rush it, which you just can't do. By the time you've paid postage it's £50 to have it done professionally, weather you think that's worth it might depend on how you value your bag. I might have a go myself on a £100 bag but not a £400 one!
The other thing of course its to minimise how often it needs doing, I'm not great at that, but I do sometime give it a wipe down at the end of a tour. It's such a pain that if I were buying again I'd get synthetic, I'd take the weight/bulk hit for the convenience.

thirdcrank
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Re: Washing a down bag

Postby thirdcrank » 19 Nov 2016, 9:49am

meic wrote:I quite like the information supplied with Alpkit bags.
https://www.alpkit.com/support/stickies ... eping-bags


I've never owned a down sleeping bag, even less washed one, but I have washed other down-filled stuff with what I judged to be complete success. That's in spite of assuming that washing it would inevitably wreck it. The stuff I've washed - a posh coat belonging to one of my sons, and several goose-down pillows - was all small enough to go in domestic-size washers and tumble driers, so I can't comment on laundrettes in this context.

One thing I would add to that alpkit advice is that I checked that mine was properly dry by weighing it before and after. I found that a pillow which felt dry to the touch could have a couple of hundred grammes of water still in there.

So, I'd suggest that meic's link is an excellent one and I'd suggest that anybody worried like I was about having their stuff take the plunge, might try it out on a smaller item.

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Heltor Chasca
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Re: Washing a down bag

Postby Heltor Chasca » 19 Nov 2016, 10:31am

Bath for me too. With our down stuff I prefer to do it in the summer on a windy day. Keep shaking the down so it doesn't dry in clumps. In the winter, things aren't as sweaty, but can be muddy, and you can just wipe that off. I choose not to do washing of expensive stuff in the winter. The exception is my 7yod's down coat which gets grubby. But it's so small and was very cheap. I can dry it properly inside or in a cool tumble dryer. That worked surprisingly well. Are you brave enough to take your stuff to a professional cleaner or laundromat? Doable, but I have heard one horror story with a friend's Ajanjulak (?) sleeping bag.

Unrelated, but I also only wash our sheepskins and wool blankets in the summer.

robing
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Re: Washing a down bag

Postby robing » 19 Nov 2016, 10:48am

It's not dirty at all, just gets a bit pongy by the end of a cycle tour. I guess I could go to cotswolds where I bought it from to see what they say. When I'm not using it I hang it up to air and it seems ok. So I might just leave it! I've been careful never to get it wet and use a liner.

PH
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Re: Washing a down bag

Postby PH » 19 Nov 2016, 11:06am

robing wrote:It's not dirty at all, just gets a bit pongy by the end of a cycle tour. I guess I could go to cotswolds where I bought it from to see what they say. When I'm not using it I hang it up to air and it seems ok. So I might just leave it! I've been careful never to get it wet and use a liner.

There's plenty of advice on the web about removing smells, from vinegar to charcoal, I haven't tried any of them, but I can't see you've anything to lose by trying some of them.
EDIT - Here's an example
http://www.getsmellout.com/how-to-get-s ... eping-bag/

Bonefishblues
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Re: Washing a down bag

Postby Bonefishblues » 19 Nov 2016, 11:13am

For the money, send away to a specialist every time, I'd suggest.

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Gattonero
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Re: Washing a down bag

Postby Gattonero » 20 Nov 2016, 8:51am

I have not washed mine yet. The manufacturer, Enlightened Equipment from US, does use a very thin and lightly coated fabric that does not seem to grab much dirt.
After several nights, it has a faint smell like grass, but that is pleasant to me. Perhaps the reason why it didn't catch body odour is also because I sleep with the emergency baselayer, which is clean and dry, and merino boxers.

By the way, mine are all "sleeping quilts", so they are a lot easier to deal with and especially better to hang out to dry. When I washed one of the synthetic ones (because it got muddy) it took very little, but that is also because the Climashield Apex insulation does not absorb water :D
When will be time to wash the down filled quilt, I will follow the instructions like Alpkit says. I think is very important to not crush or squeeze the down.
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

thirdcrank
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Re: Washing a down bag

Postby thirdcrank » 20 Nov 2016, 10:47am

Perhaps there's a balancing act between the risk of failure and the cost of professional cleaning (which I suspect will come with a big disclaimer anyway.)

It's quite a while now since I did my son's coat. IIRC, he was going to buy it with his first wage when he started his apprenticeship and I bought it for him and he's into his 40's now. When he wanted me to wash it, I predicted disappointment, as in "Don't blame me if it comes out a mess" in spite of the sewn-in washing instructions. After washing, the filling really did seem as good as new. When I washed the down pillows, my wife had been intending chucking them out because the ticking was grubby. She was pleasantly surprised with the results. I'm a reluctant tumble drier user, and generally only switch it on, on bright sunny days when my solar panels are churning out 3kw+ so the washing line is nearly as good, but tumbling dry seems to be part of the secret of success here. For anybody who had to use a laundrette to get a big enough drier, the cost of feeding it with whatever coins they now take would eat into the economies of D-I-Y vs professional care.

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Re: Washing a down bag

Postby Psamathe » 20 Nov 2016, 12:19pm


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leftpoole
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Re: Washing a down bag

Postby leftpoole » 21 Nov 2016, 10:27am

Hello,
I have machine washed (at home) a very expensive 4 season down bag. Used down wash liquid and tumble dried in the machine. I recall the drying took around 60 minutes and I took the bag out of the machine around 6 times to shake it up. The bag turned out clean and seems as good as new.
John

phil parker
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Re: Washing a down bag

Postby phil parker » 21 Nov 2016, 2:24pm

I used to get mine done by my local Dry Cleaners (although washed, not dry cleaned) at a cost of about £20. However, after successfully washing and drying my down jackets I now wash my down sleeping bags myself. I can wash the 1-2 & 2-3 season bags in my own washing machine (8 kg load), on 'hand-wash' using 'down wash' or non-bio and leave outside to dry for most of the day before transferring to my tumble dryer. I do the same with my other sleeping bags except I use the industrial size machines in the nearest laundry.

I've never had a problem and feel more confident to wash after every trip rather than just once a year with a specialist!

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pjclinch
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Re: Washing a down bag

Postby pjclinch » 21 Nov 2016, 2:30pm

I have been using down kit for the best part of 40 years, so have been known to wash it from time to time and I did a web page on it.

DIY works okay, but I've absolutely never regretted going to the extra expense of using a professional specialist down cleaner (I used to use Franklins, but they're sadly no more AFAICT). They do a better job, and in respect of the time = money equations you don't need to value your time very much to at least break even.

By using liners to help keep the bag cleaner in use I go several years between cleans. For down jackets I make a point of only using them in Proper Cold, and mine loft noticeably better than similar examples regularly used as day-to-day and pub coats. Prevention is better (and cheaper!) than cure.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...