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The Do's And Don'ts Of Washing Down Jackets

Aug 9, 2008
A down jacket is one of the best jackets you can buy if you're serious about staying warm in cold weather, or in the snow. Like so many things it's always better to use a natural fiber or product when buying clothing, including down jackets, and natural just seems to perform best.

That's because down is a product that comes from a bird. It is in fact the breast feathers, or downy feathers, from the breast of a bird, most usually a duck. The feathers are extremely light and exhibit what is known as "loft", namely the ability to lift itself up and create an air space. And it is this air space the provides the insulation and thermal properties that make down such a fine natural product for making some of the warmest jackets known to man.

However as many people have found, although down is a wonderful filling for a warm snuggly winter jacket, it isn't the easiest to clean. A down jacket is fine when it's clean, but when it's dirty and needs a little loving care and attention to clean it it becomes a bit of a problem.

So how do you go about cleaning that beautiful down jacket that you've had for a while and is just a little dirtier than you'd like, and perhaps not as warm as it's been in the past?

Well of course the first answer is to dry clean it. A good dry cleaner, (note that I said a good dry cleaner, there are some that are not so good), should be able to dry clean your down jacket well. However for some this is expensive and many would prefer to clean their down jacket themselves.

So if you'd like to clean your own down jacket how do you do it" Well first, like with everything, you need to get it ready for cleaning. Take everything out of the pockets, shake out the "stuff" that's accumulated in the crevices and cracks, but just do that. You don't need to pretreat it with anything.

Next wash it in a washing machine without the center spindle, or the piece that goes round and round to create the washing motion and agitate the water. Some people may have a machine lacking the center spindle, but older machines usually have it, so you may need to use a commercial laundry where you can wash yourself.

That's because a machine with a center spindle can damage the down in your down jacket, washing it too hard.

When you're washing make sure you use only the gently cycle. If your jacket is really dirty it doesn't even hurt to wash it with warm water on it's own first, then with detergent.

Soon you should get to the point of washing your jacket with detergent. That's when you can squeeze out water from the jacket after the water wash and it is all clean. Then wash it again on the gentle cycle again, using a detergent. However it is important to make sure you use a down detergent, not just any old detergent. You shouldn't find it too hard to find a down detergent.

When removing the jacket from the machine allow all excess water to drip out or squeeze gently, then lay it down and press with a clean towel to remove excess water. Once you are confident that all excess water is removed it's time for the next step. You can dry it outside in warm weather as long as it isn't too windy or too hot, or in a dryer, but again not too hot. As it dries you need to fluff the down up from time to time just to make sure it isn't drying all clumped up in a ball. It needs to be separated so that it can regain it's "loft".

And once your down jacket is washed and dry it's ready to keep you warm on the coldest of days all over again.
About the Author
Peter runs a website totally dedicated to Discount North Face Jackets, where you can find Discount Mens North Face Jackets and more, including womens North Face Jackets.
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