How to clean/desmell gasoline from a down jacket
October 29, 2011 11:18 PM   Subscribe

I have a down jacket that appears to have something like petrol/gasoline on it (but I don't know where it came from) The instructions say 'no dry clean'. How can I get the smell out OR wash and dry the jacket.

The jacket is not dirty apart from the gasoline smell. I'm not sure how it got there.

Looking round the net, washing instructions for down jackets say wash then tumble dry with a tennis ball.

There are also instructions for removing gasoline smell with vinegar, baby oil or other things and opinions are divided about how effective they are.

The problem with tumble drying is that a) it would be hard to find a dryer b) this may be an issue with residual gasoline...catching on fire?

This may be optimistic, but hoping there's a way to just get the smell out and delay washing the jacket.

Failing that is there a way to clean the jacket and dry it properly without special products, and ideally without a tumble dryer? Baby oil or vinegar should be ok, special down washes will be hard to get.

posted by Not Supplied to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total)
I can't speak to the odor, but I never tumble dry my down jackets and they fluff up just fine. I often shake it a few times as it dries. Is it quilted? If not, I can imagine all the feather making a sad clump.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 11:53 PM on October 29, 2011

My down jacket was never the same after washing it normally.

I would ask a dry cleaner what to do.
posted by devnull at 1:35 AM on October 30, 2011

The last time there was an incident involving gasoline and a baseball cap, we just hung it in front of a fan overnight to speed the evaporation of the gasoline. If you haven't tried this yet, give it a go.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:58 AM on October 30, 2011

seconding let it evaporate, then try washing...'tumble dry' just means a regular dryer with no heat...asploding not likely ;)
posted by sexyrobot at 4:09 AM on October 30, 2011

Thanks. It might not be gasoline. It's been around for a few days and still smells.
posted by Not Supplied at 5:43 AM on October 30, 2011

Take it to a dry cleaner and ask their opinion. They'd at least be able to tell you how they've cleaned other similar jackets before.
posted by belau at 6:02 AM on October 30, 2011

Diesel smell tends to last longer, but should still evaporate eventually.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:41 AM on October 30, 2011

Both gasoline and diesel are highly carcinogenic. If you do have gas or diesel in the jacket, the jacket should be airing outside - do NOT keep it in the house.
posted by zia at 7:23 AM on October 30, 2011

Dry cleaning destroys the fluff of the feathers and removes it's insulating properties, never dry clean down.

You can wash down on a gentle cycle in a normal washing machine. There will not be enough gas for a fire or explosion in the dryer after a wash cycle.
posted by idiopath at 8:27 AM on October 30, 2011

I would wash and dry it for sure. Are you sure you can't find access to a dryer?
posted by J. Wilson at 8:48 AM on October 30, 2011

I'm a big fan of sunshine, wind, and laziness for dealing with smells. Put the jacket outside in direct sun for a few days. Bring it inside at sunset, since you don't want it to get wet with dew. If this seems to help, keep doing it until the smell is gone. Otherwise, there are some dry cleaners who will take down-filled garments.
posted by Quietgal at 9:46 AM on October 30, 2011

If you decide to wash the jacket (I'd hand wash it personally, or use a front-loading washer), I highly recommend Nikwax Down Wash. Because it's a soap and not a detergent, it won't leave hydrophillic residue behind, which can make the shell of the jacket "wet out", which will seriously compromise the loft and thus warmth of the down inside. I've worked in the outdoor retail industry for years and have recommended this to many customers who have experienced good results. Good luck- let us know how it turns out!
posted by EKStickland at 10:53 AM on October 30, 2011

I've washed down jackets many times. Just hang it over the back of a chair to dry it and give it a good shake regularly. Give it a feel too, and if you find clumps of feathers inside, try and massage it to break them up a bit as they dry. They take longer to dry than you think - after the outside feels dry, it still won't have returned to its full plumpness, that takes an extra day or two, while the feathers inside dry out. YMMV, of course.
posted by penguin pie at 1:06 PM on October 30, 2011

Do not not not put this in the drier. Gas fumes plus enclosed space plus even no heat but electric sparks from the dryer's motor equals potential explody-time.

Air it out thoroughly - no fuel smell at all - before even considering a tumble dry.
posted by zippy at 1:28 PM on October 30, 2011

Take it to a cleaners. They don't just dry clean clothes and a reputable cleaner will know what to do.
posted by JJ86 at 6:54 AM on October 31, 2011

Update: It's been around for a while and the smell hasn't completely gone. about 30% smell...less gasoline in it now, and more of a slightly 'queasy' smell I can't describe.

Any ideas?
posted by Not Supplied at 5:32 AM on November 8, 2011

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