September is nearly here, which means the weather is cooling down and winter isn’t far off. This means you’ll be reaching for your down jacket to keep you warm on the chilly commute to work or nippy autumn dog-walk. If your jacket has been collecting dust over the last year, you’ll probably want to give it a wash before you wear it this year.
Down jackets are jackets that have been insulated with soft and warm feathers, typically from ducks or geese.
They’re pretty pricey, ranging anywhere from £50 to more than £1,000, so it’s important to take care of your expensive jacket.
You shouldn’t wash your down jacket more than twice a year, because the repeated wetting and drying of the jacket will reduce its performance.
But how do you wash a down jacket? Express.co.uk explains how according to Millets and Kathmandu UK.
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How to wash a down jacket
Limit your washes
In the UK, you should only need to wash your jacket once a year before the winter season.
If you have any marks or stains on the jacket, you should try to spot treat them rather than saturating the whole jacket.
This way, your jacket will last you for years to come and you won’t need to fork out another load of money to buy a new one.
Pick your detergent wisely
The first rule of looking after your down jacket, according to the experts at Millets, is to avoid using a standard detergent.
The site explains: “Most down jackets have a water repellent treatment on the outside to help keep the down dry.
“Washing with a standard detergent will break down this treatment.”
You’ll need to use a suitable cleaner such as Down Wash by Nikwax to avoid stripping away the water repellent treatment.
Read the care label on your jacket or check with the brand if you’re not sure what to use.
Product expert at Kathmandu, Daan Dijkstra says you should machine-wash the jacket on a gentle cycle at around 30 degrees.
However, this will vary from jacket to jacket and brand to brand, so always read the instructions on the care label.
Don’t use any fabric softener and avoid the spin cycle if you can.
It might be a good idea to put your jacket into a laundry bag or pillowcase before you put it into the washing machine to avoid snagging.
When your jacket comes out of the machine, it will be soaking wet.
It’s important to let your jacket drip dry and then air dry to get most of the water out of the jacket before you stick it in the tumble dryer.
Millets recommend laying the item out flat on a towel or on a horizontal airing rack to avoid clumping.
You should follow all of this advice if your jacket is soaking wet from being out in the rain too.
This should take around 24 to 48 hours and you should keep fluffing up the jacket while it is drying.
Whatever you do, do not wring your down jacket. If you can’t resist, shake the excess water instead of scrunching the jacket.
Once the jacket is almost dry, you can put it in the tumble dryer.
You should always tumble dry the jacket until it is thoroughly dry to bring it back to its puffy state.
Kathmandu and Millets both recommend tumble drying on low heat with two to three dryer or tennis balls in the dryer at the same time.
If you don’t have tennis balls, use a light, soft show inside a pillowcase.
This will break up any clumps of down that form so you can fluff it up properly after it’s dry.
Don’t use or store your jacket away while it’s still wet, as this can cause dampness and make your jacket smell.
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