Article by Anthony W. / Great Miami Outfitters
It is cold outside. And with the cold comes a down jacket, down sweater, or other lofted insulation materials designed to keep you warm in our cold, wet Ohio winters. If you are like me, you probably wear your down or synthetic insulated jacket most days of the week – not just on the trail – especially through winter. So how do you keep it clean? Let me break it down for you.
First, we have to know why you want to keep your insulation clean. The loft in your insulation is designed to “loft;” that is “puff up” so that it traps the most air against your body. Your body heat then warms up the air stuck inside your jacket, and there you go! You are now nice and toasty in your puffy jacket. When your insulation is dirty – or wet – it does not loft, meaning that you lose all of your insulating properties. A dirty jacket also degrades the fibers, and over time, they will not loft as much as they originally did when you first purchased the garment meaning that your jacket will continually keep you less warm over the garment’s lifetime. So let’s keep our insulation clean this winter!
Zip up all your pockets and zippers. Open up all your tension cords – especially around the hood or hips. And empty all your pockets. No, seriously empty your pockets; that ink pen you stole from work Friday afternoon is still in your jacket pocket.
Use a mild detergent, such as Granger’s Down Wash or Granger’s Performance Wash (if you have synthetic insulation) in your washer. Using a traditional detergent – especially scented detergents – will leave a film or residue on your lofted fibers and over time will degrade the material. A double rinse is highly recommended.
You want to dry your garment as soon as possible once the wash cycle has finished. Follow the drying instructions on the garment tag using the appropriate heat level. Additionally, to restore and add additional loft to your garment– catch the theme throughout, protect your loft! – use a set of objects – think tennis balls, etc. – to toss in the dryer with your garment. They will “puff up” the garment; similar to fluffing your pillow at night. Using the Granger’s Down Wash Kit makes life easy.
Once your jacket is clean, dry, and puffy, you need to store it. The best way to store your insulation is to keep it lofted. You can store it hanging up in your coat closet, or in a plastic tub with your other outdoor equipment. Either way, just keep it lofted, clean, and dry!
You can also watch this video from our friends at Arc’Teryx:
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