Have you ever had a down jacket, but you did not know how to wash it the right way? Do not worry; you are not the only one. I have had my favorite down jacket from Patagonia for years, but it took me quite a while to gather the courage to wash it by myself.
Down jackets can get quite dirty when you take them on trips. They can get dirty on the outer fabric but can also become smelly and wet from your body's natural oils. No matter what kind of dirt you need to deal with, knowing how to wash a down garment is always a good thing!
And when it comes to down garments, no one does them better than Patagonia. The company has a wide range of down jackets available at affordable prices. They are sturdy, but they are not exactly invincible – hence, you will need to wash them.
When you need to wash your Patagonia down jacket, make sure to read this guide and follow the steps. If you do everything as listed below, your jacket will be as good as new in no time.
So, let’s get right into the guide and see what you need to do to your down jacket!
How I Wash a Patagonia Down Jacket (Step-By-Step)
To wash a Patagonia down jacket, you will need the jacket itself, a specialized washing detergent for this type of garment, and a front-loading washing machine. The type of washing machine is non-negotiable. Top loading washing machines can ruin your jacket, so I do not recommend using them.
As for the washing detergent, I recommend that you go with a specialized one or the one that the manufacturer recommends. You can also use regular dishwashing detergent as long as it is a mild detergent that is not full of chemicals.
Once you are ready to start the washing process, you can move on to the first step. This process can take a while, so make sure that you have enough free time to go over it. Let’s get started!
Step 1 – Prepare down jacket for washing
Clean garments are good garments, so you need to clean all your outdoor gear after it gets dirty. This does not mean cleaning it after every use unless it becomes too dirty and you cannot wear it anymore.
So, your down jacket will need cleaning now and then. Before you put it in the washing machine, I recommend that you double-check all pockets to see if you left something behind. After checking them, make sure to zip, button, hook and loop everything on the jacket.
Another thing you should do is make sure that all removable parts of the jacket are secure. Once you do all this, you can move on to the next step.
Step 2 – Prepare the washing machine
Before you shut the machine, you should do one more thing. To keep the down feathers from clumping, I recommend that you add a few clean tennis balls in the machine with the jacket. The clean tennis balls added will help preserve and even restore fluff in the jacket.
Once you finish with that, shut the machine and move on to the controls. You will need to set the machine to a small load, low water temperature, and add the required detergent.
As mentioned before, you need specialized gentle detergent if you want the best results. Regular detergent is also okay, as long as it is mild dishwashing detergent. I do not recommend using strong powdered laundry detergent or any fabric softeners.
If you are still unsure what detergent you want to use, check the garment care label for recommendations. Once you decide on the detergent and put it in the machine, set it to a regular cycle and let it do its thing.
Step 3 – Run a second cycle
Once the first machine washing cycle finishes, check the jacket to see if it is all clean and has no foam. I would recommend that you run a second cycle to make sure that the jacket is at its best. If needed, you can even run a few cycles before taking out your jacket.
Step 4 – Dry the jacket
When soaked, the jacket is very fragile. So, you will need to be very careful with the handling. Do not pull it or push it down too much.
Try to squeeze the excess water out, and then let the jacket either air dry or put it in the dryer. There will be extra information on the best way to dry the jacket a bit below.
Patagonia Wash Symbols - Need to Know!
On the label of all Patagonia garments, you will find a few symbols that you can use as guidelines when washing and drying the garment. This manufacturer can also find these symbols on sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and other outdoor gear.
But what do these symbols mean?
If there is no information next to them, I can tell you a bit about what they are to save you some confusion. There are four symbols that you will find on most Patagonia items – a circle, a square, an iron-like shape, and an upside-down trapezoid shape. Let’s see what they stand for.
That upside-down trapezoid is the symbol for washing. If you have this symbol, you can machine wash the jacket. If you have a crossed symbol, you have to rely on handwashing as the only suitable cleaning method.
Then, you have the square. The square represents drying – if crossed, you must not put the jacket in a dryer. You will have to rely on line drying. On the bright side, line drying saves energy!
Moving on to that circle shape. This represents dry cleaning. If you find this symbol on your jacket, you can dry clean your jacket at local dry cleaners. If this symbol is missing or crossed, you must rely on regular drying.
Last but not least, you have an iron shape. This will tell you if you can iron the jacket or not, but I have found that most down jackets do not need any ironing. So, make sure that you double-check for this sign before you grab your iron.
How to Dry Patagonia Down Jacket?
Now that you know how to wash your Patagonia down jacket, I want to take a moment and explain how you can dry it. There are two drying methods that you can follow. You will need a drying machine for the first, while the second will be about line drying.
If you want to machine dry your jacket, you can do that in a couple of steps. The first thing you need to do is make sure that the machine is on low heat and has a typical dry time. You should add those tennis balls or a couple of washing spheres if you have any.
Once you do all this, go ahead and place the jacket in the machine. Tumble dry the jacket until it is completely dry. You can even use several tumble drying cycles if you need to. Remember, after each cycle ends, take out the jacket and shake the down feathers around.
Machine drying is that easy. What about line drying?
If you want to line dry the jacket, you should attach it to the line and try to keep it in direct sunlight at all times. You should shake it every 30 minutes as well as turn it inside-out. This will help dry both the outer and inner layers of the jacket.
It will take a bit longer to line dry your jacket, especially if there is no sun. But this is still a great method to use both at home and in the great outdoors, so make sure to remember it!
Do Patagonia Jackets Shrink in the Wash?
Sometimes, washing your Patagonia jacket in the wash can lead to shrinkage. This is not due to the machine but due to improper settings, not knowing if you should use cold or warm water, and so on.
The jacket will shrink in the washer if you use warm instead of cold water, strong instead of gentle detergent, no tennis balls, and do not follow the washing instructions. The same shrinkage can happen if you dry it at high instead of low heat.
So, it is not the jacket – it is most likely your mistake that can cause the jacket to shrink. To avoid this, come back to this guide and go over the steps whenever you need to wash your jacket.
After all, you cannot go without washing it at all. If you do that, you might even find mold growth on it as well as a horrible stench from your body oils. This guide can save you from all that and help you wash your jacket with very little fuss! That is why you need to read it through and through.
Hand Wash Patagonia Down Jacket? Is it a Better Option?
If you do not own a front-loading washer and you are not about to visit the local laundromat, you can also wash your down jacket by hand. Some jackets do not do well when washed in a machine, so you will need to wash them by hand. Even though it is more time-consuming, this method can often be safer.
To hand-wash your Patagonia jacket, you will need the jacket, some of that specialized detergent, and a tub of cold water. Before starting with the washing, make sure the pockets are empty and closed. Secure all removable parts of the jacket as well.
Another thing that you can do is check for stains on the jacket. You can do the stain removal beforehand by applying some detergent on the stain and leaving it for some time. If the stain persists after that, you will try scrubbing it when you wash the jacket.
So, let’s get to the washing!
Take the jacket and put it in the tub of cold water with detergent. Leave it there for about 15 minutes, replace the old water with some clean water, and put the jacket in for 15 more minutes. You can repeat this process as many times as you need.
After the jacket is all clean, you should squeeze the extra water from it and leave it to dry. If all is well, your jacket will come out spotless and smell wonderful!
Well, that is everything that you need to know about washing and drying a Patagonia down jacket. I hope that this guide helped you realize what you should do and what you should avoid when washing this type of garment.
Let me know in the comments if you have ever washed a down jacket and if you have any tips for me. I would love to read all about it!