After a long day in the wild, it is time to lie down and relax a bit. You squeeze into your sleeping bag and notice several stains coupled with a smelly odor, which keeps you awake at night.
Just like our comforters and sheets at home, it’s a necessity to thoroughly wash and dry your sleeping bag on a routine basis.
However, your sleeping bag is made of special materials, which require a different type of care. Therefore, we created a two-part email series with all of the necessary information on sleeping bag maintenance.
In the first email, you will learn the most crucial steps in washing your sleeping bag, and in part 2, we will mention some great extra steps you can take for maximum performance.
By cleaning your sleeping bag at least once a year, you obviously take out all unwanted odors and stains but also your sleeping bag operates at peak performance - keeping you warm and dry as much as possible.
Unfortunately, you can't simply put your sleeping bag straight into the washing machine with regular laundry detergent.
In order to avoid damaging the fabrics and insulation in your sleeping bag, you need to find a large front-loading washer without an agitator.
Many home washers are too small and don’t allow proper circulation of water throughout the bag, making the cleaning process ineffective, so if you don’t have a large front-loading washer, you can either hand wash your bag in the bathtub or take a trip to the laundromat.
When it comes to top loader washing machines, they have an agitator that can tear up down baffles. Gentle is best when it comes to your sleeping bag.
- Check the sleeping bag’s care instructions. Follow the instructions the manufacturer gives for your particular bag if they differ from this guide.
- Never pick up a sleeping bag when it is full of water. The weight of the water absorbed by the insulation can tear stitching and baffles causing significant damage to the bag.
- Squeeze out as much water as possible and support the weight of the bag from underneath when moving it. The oversized storage bag (not the stuff sack) included with most sleeping bags is a great option to support the bag from underneath.
Moving forward, you must use a special gentle cleaner. For synthetic sleeping bags, we recommend one of these two options that can be found in our store.
Nikwax Tech Wash
Gear Aid Revivex Pro Cleaner
Now that you have everything you need, carefully:
Close all zippers and turn the bag inside-out.
Select a delicate/gentle cycle with cold or warm water.
Add 2 fl oz (4 capfuls) of Revivex Pro Cleaner. If you are using Nikwax Tech Wash, then your measurements depend on the weight of your sleeping bag (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)
Run an extra spin cycle or two to remove as much water as possible.
- Make sure the bathtub has been cleaned first.
- Close all zippers and turn the bag inside out.
- Fill the tub with enough warm water to cover the sleeping bag.
- Add 2 fl oz (4 capfuls) of Revivex Pro Cleaner. If you are using Nikwax Tech Wash, then your measurements depend on the weight of your sleeping bag (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)
- Knead the sleeping bag to force the water and soap through it.
- If your bag is particularly dirty or if is have been a while since you cleaned it last, you may need to drain the tub and refill with clean water and new cleaner to get all of the grime out.
- Once the bag appears clean, drain the tub and squeeze out as much water as possible. Refill the tub with clean water and repeat until now more suds come out of the bag.
- Squeeze as much water out as possible and carefully move the bag to the dryer.
If you notice stains or dirty marks after cleaning, use a toothbrush with gentle cleaner and carefully scrub the affected area. Repeat as needed.
- Use a large dryer that allows the bag to tumble freely.
- Dry on a low heat or delicates setting.
- Hang and inspect the bag to be sure it is completely dry before storing. Even the smallest amount of moisture still in the bag can cause mold or mildew to form.
That is all for part 1! We hope this guide cleared any confusion you might have had when it comes to cleaning your sleeping bag.
In part 2, we will talk about some extra steps you should take to keep your sleeping bag at peak performance! See you in a couple of days!