How to wash a down jacket?

Washing your down jacket or vest is crucial to keeping it feeling fresh and performing well. We'd recommend washing once a season, or sooner if it gets dirty. The easiest way to do this is by using Rab Wash, our no-nonsense, specialist down wash service. Click here to find out more.

However, if you'd rather do it yourself...

Here's a step-by-step on cleaning a down jacket or vest:

  1. Make sure your washing machine is clean. A short rinse cycle helps with this.
  2. Wash on a gentle 30ºC cycle. Use a soft detergent, such as Nikwax Down Wash Direct
  3. Rinse to make sure there is no soap left in the item. Be careful when taking down items out the washing machine. They can be heavy with water and being too rough can rip internal compartments. Support bigger items by ‘cradling’ it in a bath towel or similar whilst taking it out the machine.
  4. Very gently squeeze out any excess water.
  5. Immediately tumble dry your jacket. Use a front-loading dryer on a cool (or synthetic) setting.
  6. Every 20-30 minutes, remove it from the dryer. Give it a shake and pat all the baffles to encourage the down into place. Adding (clean) tennis balls or tumble dryer balls really help loft the down.
  7. Don't remove your item from the dryer too soon. It is tempting, we know. The outer fabric might feel dry, but the down inside may still be damp.
  8. Drying can take anywhere from 3-5 hours. The bigger the item, the longer it takes. When your jacket is nice and puffy again, it's time to take it out.

Once you're done, air your jacket for a couple of days and store it uncompressed in a cool, dry place.


Down jacket clumps after washing?

Has your down jacket clumped together? Does it look like it's lost its puff?

Don't worry.

This doesn’t mean that your jacket is faulty or that you have damaged it permanently. This happens when it hasn't dried properly. The down is most likely either clumped together or it has migrated into neighbouring baffles and needs to be moved back again.

Follow these steps to loft your down item

  1. First, re-wash your jacket to get the down wet again (this can simply be a rinse cycle).
  2. Gently squeeze out any excess water. If the down's clumped, it might be worthwhile spreading the down out at this point to aid in the drying process. You can pinch the baffles and softly manipulate the down this way.
  3. Place your jacket into a tumble drier on a low heat/gentle setting. Using drying balls or clean tennis balls will significantly aid the lofting process.
  4. Every 20-30 mins remove the jacket and turn inside out to promote even drying. Also, give the jacket several firm pats to help manipulate the down and break up any clumped areas.
  5. Drying time varies depending on the jacket style and size but can take anywhere from 3-5 hours. It is better to dry the item longer than necessary as even though the face fabric can feel dry the down may still be damp.


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