Washing Down Winter Jacket Without Access to Front Loading Washer
December 7, 2015 12:15 PM   Subscribe

I don't have access to a center-agitator-free washing machine. Should I put my down coat in a delicates bag and put it in a top loading washer on the delicates cycle or hand wash it in my sink?

I need to wash a delicate North Face down jacket. It's gone through 2 seasons without being laundered *shock and horror* because the first one I bought years ago, I ruined by washing in a top loader with a center agitator and by using regular detergent, and I'm worried I'll ruin this one too. Now armed with the knowledge that one must use a down detergent or delicate wash, and use a washing method that does not include a center agitator, and to dry it with fresh tennis balls (lol) I'm still not confident that I'll not destroy this jacket like I did my first one. I can hand wash it in my sink or put it in a delicates/lingerie wash bag and put it in my regular washing machine on the delicates cycle with delicate soap. Those are my options. There is no laundromat nearby so that's not an option. Please advise
posted by Avosunspin to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is there a dry cleaner nearby?

Alternatively, I'd put it in a bathtub with Nikwax and walk wash it. Then put it in the dryer at the lowest possible heat (no heat!) and tennis balls. Be prepared for it to take forever to dry.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:37 PM on December 7, 2015

I'd go with hand-washing (and note that it's easier to do hand-washing in something like a plastic tub that isn't randomly scummy like sinks often are) with something like Soak or Eucalan or similar (those don't require rinsing, which makes hand-washing a lot easier.) Then you can either get excess water out by using just the spin cycle on your washer (test this first to make sure the washer does what you expect) or if that's not possible, roll it in towels. And then, tumble dry it on low/no heat with the tennis balls (the tennis balls really work, no joke.)

I've got an enormous down coat I've washed and dried this way plenty of times, and it's going on ten years and still looks like new. I have generally been able to use front-loaders with no center agitator to do the washing part, though.
posted by asperity at 12:41 PM on December 7, 2015

Oh, and be sure to fasten all zippers and buttons. Those can shred your jacket if you leave them open.
posted by asperity at 12:43 PM on December 7, 2015

My point of anecdata is that I wash down jackets and blankets in my old top loader all the time with no negative impacts. I use delicate wash and a cold water cycle, and throw them in the dryer without the tennis balls, although I suspect they would be useful.

So, I would confidently go for the washer, but if you feel nervous, hand-washing as described by asperity is easy to do.
posted by chocotaco at 12:51 PM on December 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

Visit a laundromat with front loaders?
posted by sarajane at 1:24 PM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

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