There is a lot of misinformation about caring for down products. Down is very tough and not really effected by water, after all where do geese and ducks live? If anything it is the internal baffles that are delicate, not the outer fabric or the down.
What can impact on the performance of down bags are modern chemical detergents.
Modern detergents are designed to be “eco-friendly” to make them appear more acceptable. To make them “eco-friendly” they are described as cold or cool wash detergents. The Eco bit is because you do not have to use power to heat the washing water.
Now you will know from washing your hands that warm water works better than cold water so to overcome this problem of washing in cold water the detergent manufacturers make the chemicals more aggressive to get rid of dirt. When they were first introduced we saw newspaper or media headlines such as “Soap Powder eats Jeans”.
Another big problem is that these chemical detergents do not dissolve well in water, which you would think is essential. This used to leave a grey or pale blue residue in washing machines which blocked the soap drawer, To counter this detergent manufacturers produced a ball to contain the detergent which was then placed inside the drum ensuring the residue is now in your washing. This residue sticks down together, clumping it and causes comments such as “the down has gone lumpy.
So how do we wash down?
First of all try to use pure soap rather than chemical detergents. You can usually get pure soap from health stores. If you have to use chemical detergent then use about a quarter of the amount you were thinking of using. Wash in a machine at 40⁰C and run the rinse cycle four or five times. This rinsing is really important to get all the soap out and then tumble dry.
Just to repeat, the reason down goes “lumpy” after washing is because the detergent has not been fully rinsed out. If you do this properly and tumble dry then all will be well, Any problems just wash it again without any more soap.
We recommend using the provided storage bag at all times when the sleeping bag is not being used.