Down ski jackets really are the best way to keep warm on the ski slopes, and they're still the favored choice for the majority of ski wear wardrobes. We stock plenty of down skiing jackets here at White Stone, and we're often asked for advice on washing and drying them properly... after all it can feel like a big risk - especially if you really love your jacket and you're heading to sub-zero climates!
Washing a down jacket is essential to maintain its maximum loft, and it can also significantly increase its lifespan, so it is definitely worth doing fairly regularly. Though it very much depends on how much wear and tear your jacket gets, it is normally worth washing a down jacket at least once a year.
All of the down ski jackets that we sell come with their own specific washing instructions which should always be retained and followed each time the jacket is washed. Though you should always follow the manufacturers instructions to the letter, here are a few pointers that apply to the vast majority of down-filled products, which should help to ensure that you don't damage your jacket in the washing or drying process...
- Before you start you should carefully remove any dried mud or dirt from the ski jacket. You should also empty all of the jacket's pockets and make sure that all zips, poppers and Velcro flaps are fastened. It is also a good idea to turn the jacket inside out if possible.
- It can help to use a cleaning product in your washing machine that is designed specifically for down or technical clothing - we recommend 'Down Wash' from Nikwax. Regular detergents and softeners can in some cases damage the down and may also effect any water resistant coating on the fabric.
- You should only ever wash a down jacket in a front loading washing machine, as top loading washing machines can damage your jackets because of their central agitator. It is also a good idea to make sure the detergent compartment of your washing machine is clean of any detergent from previous washes. You may wish to run your washing machine empty beforehand to clear any residues from detergent.
- For the majority of down jackets you should set the washing machine to a cold temperature, and on a delicate or wool cycle. Set the machine to rinse several times times on the machine's slowest spin cycle after the wash, this ensures that no cleaner residues remain in the down.
- For the majority of jackets the most effective drying method is to tumble dry with the machine set at a low heat. Setting the drier to a high heat increases the risk of damage to the outer shell fabric.
- Putting tumble-dryer balls or tennis balls in the dryer with your jacket helps to stop the feathers from clumping together and can restore the volume of the jacket as it dries. Take the jacket out and give it a thorough shake at regular intervals to stop the down and feathers clumping together.
- If you don't have a tumble dryer you can air dry your jacket by hanging it in a cool dry place. This can take several days or even up to a week and you should make sure that you regularly shake the jacket thoroughly. This prevents the down forming into clumps. Though the jacket can sometimes appear dry on the outside, the down itself will normally take considerably longer to dry, so you should allow the jacket plenty of time to dry out thoroughly.
These tips are intended as a general guideline for washing a down ski jacket, but you should always check the instructions that came with the jacket, or consult the manufacturers website for any specific instructions before washing your jacket.
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