How to Wash a Down Jacket
Keep your down jacket fresh, fluffy and clean with these washing tips from Nike.
- Mild laundry detergent or soap
- Front-loading washing machine or tub
- Dryer balls or tennis balls (optional)
Down jackets are a plush, comfy and oh-so-warm outfit staple when low temperatures set in. But after a season of constant use, the fabric can start to appear dull, and the once-fluffy down filling can start to flatten. If that happens, it’s time to clean your down jacket.
While you may have heard you should take a down jacket to a dry cleaner, that’s not always the case. Many Nike down and polyester puffer jackets are machine-washable, so you can easily clean them at home.
As with any garment, be sure to check the tag and follow the care instructions on your puffer jacket before washing. Then, if the jacket calls for either machine-washing or hand-washing, follow these tips to wash your down jacket.
(Related: The Best Nike Jackets for Kids)
How to Wash a Down Jacket in the Washing Machine
1.If Possible, Use a Front-Loading Washing Machine
A front-loading washing machine tends to be gentler on clothes than a top-loading washing machine because it doesn’t have a center agitator, which could potentially rip the jacket during a wash cycle.
If you only have access to a top-loading washing machine, it’s best to place the jacket in a mesh bag before washing. This helps keep sleeves from getting caught on that center agitator. Before loading the jacket, remove any harsh soap residue from the washer and clean the detergent dispenser, if necessary.
2.Choose a Mild Detergent
For washing a down jacket, some soaps are too harsh and can strip the natural oils from down feathers. Consider purchasing a cleaner specifically made for down materials. However, if you don’t have a down-specific cleaning product (or are washing a polyester puffer jacket), choose a mild laundry detergent.
3.Prepare the Down Jacket
After checking them for left-behind items, zip up the jacket and close any pockets. Then, flip the jacket inside out. Wash the jacket with similar down products or on its own.
4.Choose the Correct Settings
Set the water temperature to cold and the spin cycle to gentle or normal. If you are using a top-loading washing machine, use the gentle setting. If you are only washing one down jacket, set the load size to small.
(Related: 6 Tips to Wash Out Deodorant Stains)
How to Wash a Down Jacket by Hand
- Fill up a clean bathtub or large sink with lukewarm water.
- As the water is filling, pour in a capful of mild laundry detergent or down-specific cleaning product.
- Submerge the jacket and let it soak for a few minutes.
- Then, lightly scrub the jacket with your hands.
- Drain the tub or sink and press out as much water as possible from the jacket. Instead of aggressively ringing out the jacket, you can press the material against the side of the tub or sink.
- The jacket will still be quite wet. Lay a bath towel on the floor and place the jacket flat on top of it.
- Then, roll up the jacket inside the towel. Once you’ve rolled it all up, you can step on it gently to squeeze out any excess water.
How to Dry a Down Jacket
Even if you hand-wash a down jacket, it’s still best to dry it in a dryer to break up the clumps. Simply hanging the jacket to dry may not restore its fluffiness.
- Make sure the jacket is zipped up, then load it into the dryer.
- Add a couple of tennis balls or dryer balls to help break up any clumps.
- Run the dryer on a low-heat setting.
- If the jacket is still wet at the end of the cycle, rerun the dryer — again, on low heat.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Should I Wash My Down Jacket?
If you regularly wear the jacket (in other words, several times a week), you may want to wash it as often as once a month. But with more infrequent use, you could wash the jacket once or twice a year — particularly at the end of the winter for a refresh before the next season.
Do You Need a Special Detergent for Down?
It is best to use a down-specific detergent when washing a down jacket. If you don’t have this specialized product, you can also use a gentle detergent. Avoid any standard detergents that may strip the down feathers of their natural oils.
Words by Hannah Singleton