Is your sleeping bag needs washing? Is it darkened with dust and dirt? Are you in confusion about the process of washing it? Looking around for a way of how to wash sleeping bag efficiently? Then you can stop looking! Because this article is what you need! We got 30+ most essential tips you shouldn’t miss anyway.
How To Wash Sleeping Bag
Precautions | Down or synthetic | Instruction | Hand washing | Spot cleaning | Machine washing | Drying | Caring tips | Bag liner.
A sleeping bag can become dirty or lose its loft. But how often should you wash your sleeping bag? Should you wash it after every trip? Nope! That’s not a good idea at all! You must not wash your bag obsessively! But laundering it every year is a good idea! But to be honest, washing the sleeping bag depends on how often you use your bag, and also on where you are camping. You can also wash your sleeping bag in a bathtub or send it to a professional service that will wash it for you. A waterproof sleeping bag comes in less troublesome.
Another option you can do is clean it using a washer and dryer. Don’t have your own washer and dryer? You can always clean your bag at a laundromat.
Precautions before washing your sleeping bag:
- Loosen the drawcords to avoid cluttering the fill of the sleeping bag.
- To prevent complications or difficulty during washing, fasten hook, and loop closure.
- Do not ever use a top-loading machine with an agitator. The agitator is a spinner that comes with grooves and fins at the center which can rip apart your bag.
- Never dry clean your sleeping bag, as the industrial solvent used in dry cleaning are harsh and can strip down natural down of the bag which helps down retains its loft.
- Avoid other cleaning products like, fabric softener, bleach, or alternative bleach product that can compromise bag performances.
- Never try to iron your sleeping bag
- Waterproof, water-resistant, or breathable bags will hold a lot of water, so be careful while transporting it to the dryer from the washer.
- Washing and drying may take a few hours so prepare yourself for that.
Down or synthetic?
Is your sleeping bag down or synthetic? It is a must to know your bag type, before starting to wash it. Because down and synthetic sleeping bags require different cleaning products and temperatures for washing.
The down sleeping bag is safer to wash with hands than using a machine. On the other hand, the synthetic sleeping bag can be washed with machines that don’t have agitators as they damage the nylon shells and ruin the loft, I mean the fluffiness of the bag! tell me what’s the point of using a sleeping bag if it lacks fluffiness?
Before starting to wash, gather all your supplies, pick up a proper cleaning product based on the type of your bag.
Follow the instruction on the bag:
Everything comes with instructions or manuals. Before starting to wash the sleeping bag yourself, read the instruction or manuals it comes with. If you can’t find it or lost it, you can always find it online. You can also check out your sleeping bag’s website.
Hand washing a sleeping bag
- A clean bathtub
- Proper Cleaning product:
Use the proper cleaning products for the down or synthetic sleeping bag. You can use non-liquid soap that does not have bleach in it if your bag is down. The feathers in the down have oils that add to their insulation properties, and bleach comes with a tendency to remove them! So, be careful over there! And why avoid liquid soap? Because they tend to leave a residue even after rinsing.
- Check manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning products.
- Fill the bathtub with lukewarm or cold as suggested by the manufacturer.
- Add the recommended amount of appropriate cleaning products to the water in the tub.
- Stir the water so, the cleaning product mixes properly.
- Now, turn the sleeping bag inside out and zipped closed and lay the bag in the water. Make sure the bag is fully submerged into the water.
- Lay the bag there for 10-15 minutes to allow the soap to do its work and let the water seep into the bag.
- Gently work in the cleaning product throughout the entire bag.
- Rub together most dirty areas.
- Agitate the water. You can climb into the tub, of course in barefoot! And walk around on the sleeping bag. This way continues to agitate the water until you feel that your sleeping bag is cleaned thoroughly.
- Allow the bag soak for up to one hour.
- Drain out all the water from the tub.
- Squeeze your bag to remove all the dirty water from the bag.
- Never try to twist your sleeping bag, as this may ruin its insulation, in result making it worthless.
- Again fill the tub with cold water to rinse. Lightly agitate and squeeze the bag to make sure no more soap left.
- Again work out the cleaning product but gently.
- Keep the bag sit for 15 minutes.
- Drain out all the water.
- And again repeat the process 13 to 16 until all the cleaning product is gone.
- Now gently squeeze as much water as water possible.
- For a down sleeping bag, do not pick the bag filled with water as the weight of the water might tear out the internal baffles or cause the down to shift from one chamber to another.
- Gather the bag as a ball and carry it to the dryer
Related: Top 3 Backpacking Sleeping Bag.
Interior lining at the bag’s head and foot areas get extra dirty, so those areas need spot cleaning. The process of spot cleaning is not as complicated as you think:
- Apply the cleaner you have used to wash your entire bag on the areas in a small amount. You can also make a paste of a little bit of non-detergent soap with water.
- Gently clean the areas with a soft bristle toothpaste.
- Keep your focus on the hood and collar of the sleeping bag where hair and skin oil accumulate most.
- Now, rinse it using a wet sponge.
- Be careful, to not to wet the inner fill, hold the shell or liner fabric away from the insulation and wash and rinse the outer shell without wetting the inner fill
- If by accident the fill gets wet, then give it plenty of time to dry
Machine washing your sleeping bag:
- Check for the manufacturer’s instruction printed somewhere in the bag. Look carefully you will find it! Your bag’s water temperature and washing machine setting will be written there.
- Make sure your sleeping bag is machine wash suitable
- And also know which water cold or warm, it needs to be washed with.
- Find the right type of cleaning product for down or synthetic fill sleeping bag.
- Select a delicate or gentler wash cycle with a temperature not higher than 40 degrees/100 Fahrenheit with the extra rinse cycle.
- Avoid regular detergent or softener because they can damage your down sleeping bags.
Don’t have your own washing machine?
Then maybe it’s time to head to a laundromat. You may not have a washing machine but you can always use a laundromat.
- Large front loading washing machine (Over 10kg)
- Proper cleaning product
- Clean tennis ball/ wool dryer ball
- Towels for putting in the floor
- Run a rinse cycle through the empty washing machine before putting the sleeping bag through it to remove any previous soap residues.
- If you are at launderette then check inside the machine and see if it contains anything that could rip or tear your bag.
- Do up all the zips and Velcro.
- If your bag is waterproof then turn it inside out.
- Place the bag inside the machine and add the cleaning product.
- Set the temperature according to the instruction written in the label of your bag.
- After the wash is complete, rinse the bag thoroughly.
- Check if the rinse is complete by pressing down on it. So, the sleeping bag needs to go back in the dryer on a rinse cycle if the soap suds come out. If soap still remains, then run a wash cycle with no soap.
- Place several towels on the floor before removing the bag from the machine to soak up any water.
- Feather of the down sleeping bag is delicate and can be heavy when wet, so make sure you support its length to avoid damage when moving to the dryer.
Read next: Nemo Riff 15 ultralight sleeping bag.
Don’t store your bag wet, especially down sleeping bags because it can damage it.
Place the bag in a commercial-sized dryer or tumble dryer. And of course in low heat or delicate and run a complete cycle! The synthetic will take at least 1 hour and down will take several hours. You should use low heat because high temperatures may melt any synthetic fabrics making your bag uncomfortable for sleeping. Run as many cycles as needed, to dry the bag.
Check the bag periodically to make sure its fabric is not scorching hot and insulation is not clumping.
To make sure the sleeping bag is thoroughly dry lay it out or hang it up overnight before placing it in the storage bag.
Related: Magic Chef Laundry Dryer.
Breaking up clumps:
Throw two or three clean tennis ball or dryer ball inside the dryer when your bag is nearly dry if it is down bag, as they will help to speed up the process of breaking up clumps.
Recommended: Nemo Forte 20 sleeping bag with enough interior storage.
If you don’t have a dryer or don’t want to use the dryer then you can always air dry your sleeping bag. Air drying is the best solution for drying both the down and synthetic sleeping bags. But the downside of air drying is that it takes a very long time. It can take up to 20 – 24 hours.
For air drying your sleeping bag, you can lay the bag flat in a clean surface area with well ventilated, low humidity, and no direct sunlight. You can also hang it up without laying it flat on the surface.
Do & Don’t:
Down sleeping bag
- Don’t dry clean a down sleeping bag, as it can strip oil from the down and prevent lofting.
- Use specifically-formulated soap
Synthetic sleeping bag
- Use non-detergent soap because conventional laundry detergent contains brighteners and fillers that stick to the polyester fiber and reduces loft
- Do not use a top-loading washing machine
- Use the front-loading washing machine on a gentle cycle or do hand wash.
Store your bag loose, in a cool and dry place. If you have to store it in a bag, use the extended storage sack it came with or use something larger.
Caring tips for the bag in camp to avoid washing regularly:
- Treat your sleeping bag gently
- Protect the bag from the ground
- Be patient with the zipper
- Sleep in it in clean clothes
Read next: best camping tips for beginners.
Use sleep bag liner:
People tend to wash there sleeping bag ones it gets smelly and dirty which means usually once a year. But if you use your bag more regularly it can get dirty more easily and quickly and needed washing after every couple of months. But there is a much easier way to delay washing it by using sleeping bag liners. Sleeping bag liners keep your bag clean for a longer period of time. So, you would not have to worry about washing it regularly. You will need to just wash the sleeping bag liner.
If you have washed your sleeping bag multiple times, but the washing seems not to work anymore, then it’s time to replace it. You can check out some of our comfy and affordable sleeping bags. Here we have everything, from ultra-light sleeping bag to affordable ones.