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How to wash your hiking down jacket without ruining the feather fill.


Hello I’m Kathryn from e-outdoor.co.uk, today
we’re going to be taking a look at the best way to wash a down jacket When people do attempt to wash down
the most common mistakes are made in the drying of the jacket rather than
the washing part. When down gets wet it forms into clumps and if dried incorrectly will
be ruined, so it’s vital that the correct care is given So for today’s demonstration
I’m going to be be washing this Men’s Nuptse Vest
from The North Face. which is, of course, available at e-outdoor.
This has never been washed before, so it’s about time we gave
it a good cleaning. So firstly it’s important that the right soap
is used, normal soaps and fabric softeners will damage the down’s fibres and stop it
functioning correctly There are specialist washing powders
available for down We always recommend this, this is Granny’s
original Pure Gentle Soap Flakes. which can be brought at most supermarkets
I picked this one from Tesco. This is a fragrance free soap that doesn’t contain any
harsh chemicals. It is pure soap it wont take take away the feathers natural oils
so it will give it a nice gentle wash. So I’ve prep’ed our washing machine by doing a small rinse cycle with nothing in there
and I’ve also washed out the soap tray, just to make sure that there is no residue from other
laundry liquids that have been used in the machine before. And before we put the vest
through the main wash I’m just going to rinse it in the sink. This isn’t an essential step, but
I just want to make sure that any nasty bits of dirt on the outside are washed off
before we put it in the machine. The amount of soap flakes you need will vary
depending on the size of the jacket you’re washing as I’m washing a vest I wont need
too much so I will put a little less than a hand full straight in the tray.
So now the vest and soap is in the machine we need to make sure we select the right settings.
We don’t want to be too rough with the down so we need to select a delicate cycle and
reduce the spin to 600 rpm. A good temperature to go for is around 30 and 40 degrees. I’m going
to go for 30, good for the environment and we don’t want to put the down in too much
heat. So now that’s set up lets start it going and put the kettle on So that’s the easy bit done, as I said earlier,
drying down is when most people make mistakes. To maintain the jackets warmth it’s vital
to ensure the down dries thoroughly and correctly. The down has now have formed those clumps
we talked about earlier and unless we fluff these clumps up
while drying the down will not recover it’s loft and insulation properties.
It is possible to dry down without a tumble drier, this is done more easily in the summer
when you can air it outside. If you are air-drying your jacket, be prepared for
a very long process. To break up the down clumps you will need to shake it
out by hand every five to ten minutes for a good few hours. I’m going to dry the nuptse vest in the tumble
drier, a much simpler method as it will do the shaking for you. So now it’s in the drier
I’m going to add two clean tennis balls. These are a great aid as they bounce all around
the drum and beat the clumps in the down, helping break them up and aid the drying.
But of course if you have drier balls then you can use them, tennis balls are simply
a cheaper alternative. So once the vest and tennis balls are in the machine,
select a low heat setting and set it for about 20 minutes. You don’t want to leave it in
too long at one consistent heat, so we’re going to keep coming back to the vest to check
on it and repeat this process until it’s dry. So now the 20 minutes is up
I’m going to take it out and just give it go over by hand. It helps to lay it flat,
and just feel for any clumps that are still in the down when you find them just fluff them out by
hand as we did before Once you have done that to the whole
of the jacket shake and put it back in the dryer with the tennis balls
and repeat the 20 minute low heat cycle So as you can see the Nuptse vest is now completely
dry and has recovered its loft really well It took a total of 4 runs through the tumble drier and
the washing and drying took about 3 and a half hours. So it is a very lengthy process but definitely worth
it to have a nice clean jacket or vest by the end of it. If you don’t feel confident enough to
do this yourself by all means take your jacket to
get professionally cleaned.

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