So you have a snazzy new down jacket and you want to get the most life out of it you can. We talked to Matthew Betcher, ALLIED Feather & Down’s
creative and marketing director (this is the down company that supplies most of the feathers for the brands you purchase) and here’s what he told us:
“Down care starts from purchase. Making sure you are buying a product filled with down from a reputable down supplier like ALLIED is important. If the down itself is improperly processed to begin with, no amount of care will help. However, a product using a good high quality down will last a lifetime if cared for properly. Regular washing of your down products can help to keep its loft and will prohibit allergens from building up on the down. Storing your down product properly is also very important.”
And below are some specific tips for caring for you down:
If your new down jacket looks a little flat, give it a wash right away even before wearing. The down inside a new jacket has gone through quite the journey and has usually been packed as flat as possible for quite some time before hitting the rack. Washing the product right away will maximize the loft of the down inside and help the jacket look even better than when you saw it the first time. Even a simple rinse without detergent and thorough dry will help tremendously.
The two most important things when washing a down product are detergent and drying.
When washing down, make sure to use a mild detergent and preferably one made specifically for down. There are a few on the market that all do a reasonable job. (But look for ALLIED Down Wash coming soon!). A detergent made specifically for down is intended to keep just the right amount of fat and oil on the cluster so it retains its resiliency while still cleaning the product itself. It’s quite easy to strip these essential elements of the down which is why you should never use a powdered general laundry detergent or dry clean your down pieces.
When you think your down product is dry, dry it some more. When drying your down products, you should use a low heat and add some dryer balls, tennis balls, or clean shoe to the dryer. Drying on low ensures you will not burn the down and the balls will help to bat the down while it dries to keep it from clumping. The most harm you can do in cleaning is probably not drying it enough.
Your down pieces should NEVER be stored compressed and should always be thoroughly dry before storing. If you need to bag any down piece, it should be as loose as possible in a breathable bag (something most sleeping bag and jacket bags are not). Storing your damp down pieces in an unbreathable compressed bag is a sure fire way to build that not-so-nice moldy ducky smell and create a jacket or sleeping bag with very little loft.
Many people think they are allergic to down when in fact 98% or so of them are probably reacting to allergens on unclean down. If you ever think you are exhibiting a negative reaction to any down piece, it’s wise to clean it. And if it smells funky, it is… clean it please!