Yes, you can machine wash a down jacket, but with caution
If you own a down jacket, you may have wondered whether you can toss it in the washing machine like you do with your other clothes. After all, machine washing can be much more convenient and less time-consuming than hand washing. The good news is that, yes, you can machine wash your down jacket. However, there are some important considerations to keep in mind to ensure that the process is successful and does not damage the jacket.
Check the care instructions first
Before you even think about putting your down jacket in the washing machine, it is essential to check the care instructions that came with the jacket. Different brands and types of down jackets may have specific care requirements that you need to follow. The care instructions will usually provide guidance on how to best clean and care for the jacket, including whether it is safe to machine wash it or if hand washing is recommended. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damaging your down jacket.
Use a gentle cycle and mild detergent
When machine washing a down jacket, it is crucial to use a gentle cycle setting and a mild detergent specifically designed for down or delicate garments. The gentle cycle is less harsh and provides a more delicate agitation, which helps to prevent the down from clumping together or losing its loft. Avoid using regular detergents, as they can leave residue on the down feathers and affect the jacket’s insulation properties. Instead, opt for a down-specific cleaner or a mild detergent that is free of bleach and fabric softeners.
Add additional rinse cycles and use cold water
Extra rinse cycles can be beneficial when machine washing a down jacket. The purpose of additional rinses is to ensure that all the detergent is thoroughly rinsed out of the jacket. Leftover detergent residue can weigh down the down and affect its ability to trap air, which is essential for insulation. Using cold water for the entire washing process is also recommended, as hot water can damage the feathers and lead to clumping or shrinking of the jacket. Cold water helps maintain the integrity of the down and prevents shrinkage.
Tumble dry with tennis balls or dryer balls
After machine washing your down jacket, it is important to properly dry it to restore its loft and fluffiness. To do this, you can tumble dry the jacket on low heat with a couple of clean tennis balls or dryer balls. The tennis balls or dryer balls help to break up any clumps of down and restore the jacket’s loft by fluffing the feathers. The gentle bouncing action of the balls also helps to prevent the down from settling in certain areas of the jacket, ensuring an even distribution of insulation. It is essential to dry the jacket thoroughly to avoid the growth of mold or mildew.