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question about a down bag that has been machine washed (without my consent)
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mik matra
(mikmik) - M

Locale: Allways on the move
question about a down bag that has been machine washed (without my consent) on 09/26/2012 14:00:41 MDT Print View

A family member just took my down bag and after using decided to machine wash it. The bag is a Denali 300gram duck down filled bag and since the machine washing episode the loft on it seems to be worse. It still feels warm somewhat when you hop inside but the bag has changed. How much warmth has it lost? I have no idea but am not really comfortable with the idea of finding out if it is wrecked on the side of a mountain.

So, does machine washing a down bag end it's life? Or has the temp rating just been re-altered and now it's a summer bag only?

Thanks.

Mik.

j lan
(justaddfuel) - F

Locale: MN
Re: question about a down bag that has been machine washed (without my consent) on 09/26/2012 14:06:14 MDT Print View

Most likely it wasn't dried properly and down is clumping together. I would rewash the bag in a commercial/agitatorless washing machine and then dry it with some tennis balls. Hope is not lost.

Edited by justaddfuel on 09/26/2012 14:07:52 MDT.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
rewash on 09/26/2012 14:09:25 MDT Print View

I agree,

Rewash it in a front-loader only! Use down soap, not laundry detergent.

Dry on lowest heat setting in a big commercial dryer, not a home dryer. Plan on it taking hours. (I bring a book.)

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Det on 09/26/2012 14:10:44 MDT Print View

What matters is the detergent, it can degrade the down. Really the only reason why manufactures tell you not to machine wash is because it can physically rip or tear the baffles, liner, or shell.

Consider yourself lucky you didn't have them borrow a nicer bag.

Edited by M.L on 09/26/2012 14:13:03 MDT.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: question about a down bag that has been machine washed (without my consent) on 09/26/2012 14:39:40 MDT Print View

I'd try rinsing it and drying it very well.

Everett Vinzant
(wn7ant) - MLife

Locale: CDT
Re: Det on 09/26/2012 14:52:32 MDT Print View

Michael,

I always thought the reason that manufacturers said not to wash a down bag had to do with the oils on the down, and the damage to down that remains wet. First, washing a bag removes the naturally occurring oils on down. This decreases the response from the down (it gets dried out) and doesn't loft. This decreases heat. Also, when down is wet and remains wet it molds/breaks down/rots. This also decreases loft/warmth. Are you aware of something new regarding this?

Erik Basil
(EBasil)

Locale: Atzlan
Roll of Quarters on 09/26/2012 14:54:05 MDT Print View

I think that an afternoon (and it will take time) at the commercial laundromat will bring it back. Use a big front-loader, some down soap and then toss a few clean tennis balls (put them in the washer if they're not) in for a nice, long, low heat drying session.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Roll of Quarters on 09/26/2012 14:57:14 MDT Print View

"then toss a few clean tennis balls (put them in the washer if they're not) in for a nice, long, low heat drying session"

While the above respondents all have good advice, they're all forgetting one thing - satisfaction.

The tennis balls are to help the down declump while drying. So instead of tennis balls, toss into the dryer the Wanker who washed your bag in the first place. This will help the down declump AND give you some satisfaction at the same time.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Det on 09/26/2012 15:35:10 MDT Print View

"I always thought the reason that manufacturers said not to wash a down bag had to do with the oils on the down, and the damage to down that remains wet. First, washing a bag removes the naturally occurring oils on down. This decreases the response from the down (it gets dried out) and doesn't loft. This decreases heat. Also, when down is wet and remains wet it molds/breaks down/rots. This also decreases loft/warmth. Are you aware of something new regarding this?"

Not sure where you have read this. No one ever said not to wash a down bag, you just need to wash/dry properly. The loft of down and it's benefits are not due to it's own natural oils. Oils if anything would inhibit loft.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
question about a down bag that has been machine washed on 09/26/2012 15:40:12 MDT Print View

Re-wash and dry following the instructions on the Western Mountaineering website. I did that with my WM sleeping bag a year ago and the loft was better than it was when new. Note, though, it took most of a day, using my DIL's large capacity front-loading washer (with extra-delicate cycle) and dryer. If you have to go to a laundromat to use a front-loading machine, take "War and Peace" or a similar length book, plus your lunch! The drying part takes hours and hours.

Washing (properly) is actually the preferred method of cleaning a down bag. Dry cleaning removes the natural oils worse than does detergent.

Two possible sources of damage: (1) if the person used a top-loading washer with agitator, which could have damaged the baffles, (2) if the person used detergent, which would have removed oils from the down. You can probably feel if the baffles are damaged; you won't know how bad the down is until you have re-washed.

LOL, Doug, sounds like a great idea! :-)

Edited by hikinggranny on 09/26/2012 15:46:53 MDT.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
Read on 09/26/2012 15:49:19 MDT Print View

Nobody said to not wash a down bag, but when you do do not use regular detergent. Use down detergent obviously.

Detergent being the key word.

Original poster ask your friend what he she used.

mik matra
(mikmik) - M

Locale: Allways on the move
Thank you for the replies on 09/26/2012 17:10:54 MDT Print View

Okay I have a starting spot now so thank you for your responses. The down inside does not feel clumpy it just seems to have lost loft. Best way to describe it is like someone took out half the fill and now the bag is thinner. The bag is clean so I won't re-wash it but will do the tennis ball and dryer drying thing...maybe the tennis balls will do their trick.

Thanks again. :)

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: Thank you for the replies on 09/26/2012 17:28:36 MDT Print View

>> The bag is clean so I won't re-wash it

Just be aware that any soaps/detergents that don't get completely rinsed out will affect the loft just as much as dirt and oils will. Most washing machines, on a normal cycle, don't rinse thoroughly but we don't tend to worry about it as long as our clothes are "clean". I wash all my down products myself but put it through a few extra rinse cycles until I can see that the rinse water is clear.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
question about a down bag that has been machine washed on 09/26/2012 18:01:41 MDT Print View

I'd do a complete wash, with a specific soap for down, which will help restore the loft. First, though, put the bag through 2 or 3 rinses to get rid of the detergent residue. You could try just the rinses and then drying it, but the down soap will definitely help.

For my sleeping bag, I used ReviveX down cleaner and then sprayed the outer shell with ReviveX Spray-On Water Repellent (to renew the DWR finish) before putting my bag into the dryer. I couldn't find them locally so had to order from amazon.com.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Thank you for the replies on 09/26/2012 18:11:06 MDT Print View

I wonder if it got a dose of fabric softener too. [gnashing of teeth]

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Thank you for the replies on 09/26/2012 18:22:20 MDT Print View

"I wonder if it got a dose of fabric softener too. [gnashing of teeth]"
Could have been an all in one soap/softener. Those kinds of cleaners are banned in my laundry room.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: Thank you for the replies on 09/26/2012 18:33:25 MDT Print View

Just be aware that any soaps/detergents that don't get completely rinsed out will affect the loft just as much as dirt and oils will. Most washing machines, on a normal cycle, don't rinse thoroughly but we don't tend to worry about it as long as our clothes are "clean". I wash all my down products myself but put it through a few extra rinse cycles until I can see that the rinse water is clear.



Sumi, thanks for backing up my earlier comment. I wouldn't think that the bag would have more oils than before, so that shouldn't be the cause of lost loft. But as you said, the detergent could. That's why I recommended rinsing it again, and then drying it properly.

When I washed my -40°F, I had to rinse it roughly half a dozen times before the water was clear.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Thank you for the replies on 09/26/2012 18:36:28 MDT Print View

The hard part is that the borrower was trying to do the right thing. I've seen too many cases where the borrower trashed the borrowed item and had no compunction to repair or replace it, let alone a simple apology. [more teeth gnashing]

mik matra
(mikmik) - M

Locale: Allways on the move
no appology on 09/26/2012 20:05:47 MDT Print View

That's it Dale, I didn't give permission in fact told them they are not allowed to take it and they still did. It's frustrating as it was only used by myself once or twice and really liked the bag. One thing though that the person who washed it is awesome at washing clothes (no, really really good...got a pair of white jeans clean from playing mechanics!!) and the bag was returned really clean....just lost the loft.

Anyway it's going through it's second rinse cycle in clean water with no additives. I haven't got a dryer as such so will air dry under cover in a breeze. Would really love to dry it in a big industrial dryer with the tennis balls idea though.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: no appology on 09/26/2012 20:21:38 MDT Print View

Hopefully it works out. One thing to keep in mind while air drying is if it takes to long, it cold get mold or mildew or whatever happens when this stuff stays wet too long. Can you put fans on it? Even a dryer without heat will be good. That's how I dried my -40°F. It took a long time, but it really helps to have air forced through and tumbled about.