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How to Clean a Sleeping Bag

| 8 Comments

wash sleeping bagAh the sleeping bag. Your bed-away-from-home. Your cozy refuge in the wild. Adventures will inevitably get it a bit dirty, but don’t fear, it’s easy to wash your sleeping bag.

There are two main types of sleeping bags, down-filled and synthetic-filled. Here are some tips and tricks to keeping them both clean and fluffy.

how much Nikwax cleaner do you need for your sleeping bag?

A handy Nikwax cleaner volume guide for your sleeping bag

Down-Filled Sleeping Bags:

Cleaning down bags can seem intimidating. But with proper know-how, it’s easy. The first thing to note: use a big, front-loading washing machine, generally found at a laundromat. Home washers are too small, and don’t allow proper circulation of water through the bag, making for ineffective cleaning. Always use a front-loading washer, as top loaders have an agitator that can tear up down baffles. Gentle is best!

1. Put bag in washing machine.

2. Add proper cleaner. Nikwax Down Wash Direct is formulated for both normal, and water-repellent down. It cleans crud away while maintaining loft and revitalizing water-repellency. (Volume Guide: for a 1-2.5lb bag, add 100ml, for a 2.5-4.5lb bag, add 150ml, for a bag 4.5lbs or heavier, use 200ml)

3. Wash. Throw in an extra spin cycle or two to get excess water out of the bag.

4. Dry! This is key for down bags. Your bag will emerge from the washer looking like a drowned rat. Run multiple dry cycles on low heat with clean tennis balls, or dryer balls, to fluff the bag back up.

Synthetic-Filled Sleeping Bags:

Synthetic-filled bags are a tad less fussy than down bags to clean. You still need a big washer though, so pack up and head to the laundromat.

1. Put bag in washing machine.

2. Add proper cleaner. Nikwax Tech Wash is great for synthetic-filled bags. It cleans crud away while revitalizing water-repellency. (Volume Guide: for a 1-2.5lb bag, add 100ml, for a 2.5-4.5lb bag, add 150ml, for a bag 4.5lbs or heavier, use 200ml)

3. Wash. Throw in an extra spin cycle or two to get excess water out of the bag.

4. Dry. You can use a dryer on low heat to speed up the process, or hang to dry if you have the space.

There you have it! If you want to go longer in between washes, use a sleeping bag liner. It will help keep body oils (and odors) off your bag, and can be washed at home.

Stay Toasty and Dry!

 

8 Comments

  1. Thank you for the information. I really like these emails. I have never been able to win 1 of your quizzes but I do like your products as I do a lot in bad weather. I live in Daytona and went walking during the strongest part of Hurricane Mathew in October of last year. Your products, along with good equipment and rain gear kept me dry during the storm. I’m also a camper and fisherman so you’ve been a big help to me.

    • Thanks Tom! You’re quite brave going out walking in a hurricane. Give our customer service team a shout at 800-563-3057 and we’ll see about helping you with your quiz problem.

  2. The Nikwax Tech Wash is really good for cleaning sleeping bags, gets all of the dirt off and smells great! I usually hang my bag up in the boiler room, after 2 or 3 days it is bone dry.

  3. You just reminded me to clean my sleeping bag 😀

  4. Nice article – thanks for posting it. One question: how would you clean a blood stain? I’ve cut myself a bit in the last trip and there are stain all over my gear including my sleeping bag. Thanks!

    • Hi Dan,

      Spot treat the stain with the appropriate Nikwax cleaner- undiluted. Allow to sit for an hour or so. If your bag is synthetic-filled, use Tech Wash. If it’s down-filled use Down Wash Direct. Then wash according to direction in the article. We have heard from our friends in the hunting and fishing world that Tech Wash is great for getting out blood stains. We have also found (much by accident) that it’s great for red wine stains too! Best of Luck!

  5. So hanging it out on the washing line after returning from a camping trip to get some fresh air isn’t classed as cleaning it …lol

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