washing down coat
January 5, 2018 12:09 PM   Subscribe

I have a Tremaya down coat from North Face, and the Dyryvent exterior is grimy. I'm going to follow the care tag (warm water, do not iron, tumble dry on low, do not dry clean, do not bleach), but any specific techniques or tricks or products I should be using?

In particular, can you recommend a specific technical wash or detergent powder that I should use? Or personal recommendations for a waterproofing treatment when the existing DWR coat stops working?

There's a whole lot of gray grime around the high-wear areas. Any tips on how to get that out? Pre-treat with technical wash fluid and a tooth brush?

We have round wool dryer balls. Should I buy the spiky kind?

I love this coat (HELLO KNEE LENGTH WATERPROOF COAT THAT FITS MY SHORT FRAME AND GIANT BUTT) and am willing to buy some Stuff to keep it nice. I'm in the US and have Amazon Prime.
posted by joyceanmachine to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total)
Does this have the removable faux fur? I would remove and wash separately by hand. I dunk my collar in warm water and a squirt of Dawn dish soap or baby shampoo. Swish gently in sudsy water then rinse in cool water. You may have to this a couple of times to get it super clean. Hang or lay flat to air dry. This will keep it looking fluffy and not ratty when dried.

For the coat itself, I would use whatever clothes detergent you have, then tumble dry on low but not using the spiky balls. A couple of tennis balls work great. If at the end of the cycle it isn't completely dry I would take it out and hang to dry.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 1:01 PM on January 5, 2018

Forgot to add...The Nikwax line of products work well and can be found on Amazon. Just follow the directions on the bottle. I would wash with general detergent first and see if you really need the Nikwax.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 1:09 PM on January 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

The instructions I have for DWR is wash according to instructions on the tag (I usually put mine in a laundry bag in the washing machine so that it doesn't get too tossed around). Run it through an extra rinse and spin cycle to make sure all the detergent has been washed off. Then put in the dryer on low until it is dry then put it back in for another 15 mins so it's really, really dry. I've done this for a DWR spray jacket a few times and it comes out beautifully each time.

Edit: missed the down part. I have no idea how the down affects this.
posted by cholly at 1:12 PM on January 5, 2018

Wool dryer balls are fine.

You may want to pretreat or even scrub the really grimy parts first.
posted by radioamy at 1:23 PM on January 5, 2018

I strongly recommend against using any kind of detergent on outerwear, as the hydrophilic nature of detergents left in the shell fabric even after rinsing will cause it to attract moisture and "wet out" instead of repelling water.

The only product I would use to clean a down garment is (as tipsyBumblebee suggested) Nikwax Down Wash. If you avoid detergents, the DWR (durable water repellent) finish of the coat should hold up for a few washings, but when necessary Nikwax makes a product for that as well.

I'm not familiar with wool dryer balls, but if it's reasonably close to tennis balls (which is what I use), it should be fine. You'll almost certainly still have to manually break up clumps of down inside the coat after (or ideally during) washing though, as wet down tends to stick together.
posted by EKStickland at 1:34 PM on January 5, 2018 [3 favorites]

Also came here to recommend NikWax products. I have a sample of the down wash (they do samples all the time on their web site) that I don’t need; PM me if you want to figure out a way to get it to ypu.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:05 PM on January 5, 2018

Nthing NikWax. I use tennis balls to dry my down stuff so wool dryer balls should be fine! As long as you use a top loading washer, I wouldn't overthink it.
posted by mollywas at 6:26 PM on January 5, 2018

Oh no! I've got a front loader. Is the top loader the only way to go, or can I set the (crappy, lowest grade contractor quality) front loading washer to a certain cycle?

(Nikwax down wash and down proof ordered from amazon. Thanks, friends!)
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:40 PM on January 5, 2018

Nthing Nikwax and dryer balls, but also be prepared to spend some time finely redistributing the down with your fingers in the end.
posted by scrubjay at 7:47 PM on January 5, 2018

I thought front loader washers were better for down...
I pretreat the grimy areas with down wash, rinse twice and use wool dryer balls.
posted by bighappyhairydog at 8:21 PM on January 5, 2018

If you end up renewing the waterproofing with one of the sprays DO NOT hang it in the shower while you spray it unless you want to make your shower lethally slippery for weeks on end. Ditto for any hard floors.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Hang it outside or in the garage while you spray it.
posted by fshgrl at 11:53 PM on January 5, 2018

The down-specific and waterproof/breathable-specific cleaners are good, they work, and they are expensive. It's probably best to use one of those, from your local outdoor gear shop or REI or equivalent.

I use a castille soap [like dr bronner's], wash on cold, low spin, extra rinse, then tumble dry low. I remove items like this from the dryer before they're fully dry because of paranoia. It has worked for me. Not using detergent seems to be important! I learned that one the hard way.

Front loaders do seem to have better results for down, especially if it is long like you say. Sometimes I scrub with the castille soap and a dish-washing brush to get off bike grease and oil, which is my number one reason to have to wash things.
posted by Acari at 1:59 PM on January 6, 2018

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