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Washing Your Down

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If you use your down jacket often, it’s essential to wash it to help it retain its water resistance as well as puffiness to ensure it keeps you warm for your next winter trip. As the fabric of a technical down jacket is often coated with durable water resistant (DWR) finish, it repels water to keep the feathers protected from water. However, dirt, abrasion, body oils and regular use will reduce its performance.

While many companies recommend sending your jacket for dry cleaning, you can also wash it yourself. Here’s how:

1. Use a front-loading washing machine – if you don’t have one, find a DIY laundromat.

2. Set the dial to cold water, then add a down-specified cleaner like Nikwax Down Wash, which is formulated to retain natural oils present in the feathers. This oil keeps the feathers fluffy to retain heat better.

3. After the wash cycle, make sure it gets a thorough rinse or an extra cycle.

4. Then pop it into a dryer on a low or no-heat cycle – a few cycles may be needed to make the jacket fully dry. Throw in a couple of tennis balls (nothing heavier) to help restore the fluffiness.

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Do not use bleach or fabric softeners on your jacket – they can damage the fabric and remove their waterproofness.

Source: Outdoor Research

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