It’s a question that many people ask, and it seems like the answer is relatively simple. In reality, there are many things to consider before washing your sleeping bag for the first time or if it has been in storage for some time.

If your sleeping bag is filthy or worse yet—losing its softness—it’s time to wash it. Over time, body oils and grime accumulate in the fill (both down and synthetic), causing it to deteriorate.

It’s also possible to hand-wash it in a tub, which is somewhat time-consuming, or send it to a skilled business like a rainy pass repair. You may also clean your sleeping bag yourself at home by using a commercial-size washer and dryer in a laundromat.

There are various types of materials used in making sleeping bags that require different amounts of care when they come in contact with water and soap – this article will provide you with all the information needed to clean your sleeping bag safely.

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How Often Should I Clean My Sleeping Bag

There’s no need to wash your backpack after every use, but it’s a good idea to do so at least once a year. If you’re using your bag more frequently, you may wish to wash it more frequently than once a year. Washing your bag before storing it at the end of the season or for an extended amount of time is a wonderful idea. Body oils and other greasy residues will adhere to the material and fibers if the bag is put away in storage without being washed.

Cleaning Tips

  • Dry clean avoid: Dry cleaning processes using industrial solvents can harm the natural oils of down (Because they can be difficult for homeowners to remove.).
  • Keep your bag clean while camping: If you take care of your sleeping bag while camping, it will last longer and stay cleaner. To prevent dirt accumulation, use a sleeping bag liner, sleep in clean clothing, and air your luggage out to allow it to dry when it becomes damp.

How To Wash Sleeping Bag With Machine

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  • Consult the bag’s manufacturer’s recommendations (on a label or online) to ensure that it fits properly.
  • Use a laundromat’s top loading washing machine. The larger capacity ensures that your bag is completely washed. Use a front-loading washer at home if you can’t go to a laundromat. A top-loading washer with an agitator column, on the other hand, is dangerous because your bag may become entangled or wrapped around it. It’s also feasible to hand wash a bag if there are no machines accessible.
  • We recommend Down Wash Direct or a similar product from Nikwax for down bags since these are specifically designed to be washed in a gear wash that is appropriate for them. Clumping or reduced loft can result from using regular laundry detergent.
  • To avoid the slider from catching or breaking, fully unzip the bag.
  • In most cases, you should wash the bag with a gentle cycle in warm water, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Rinse the surface as needed to remove any cleanser. Residue on the feathers can prevent the down fibers within the bag from lofting. A pleasant smell and a clumpy feel are signs that the bag has lofted well. Remove as much moisture as possible. If it’s still spongy, run it through another rinsing cycle.
  • When removing the bag from the washer, support it (not just one end) all around. Using a steam iron helps keep the seams from straining and ripping. In order to prevent tearing and stretching, carefully press out any remaining water.

How To Dry Your Sleeping Bag With A Dryer Machine

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Washing synthetic sleeping bags dry more quickly than down sleeping bags. Expect it to take at least an hour for a synthetic bag to dry, but a down bag will require many hours of drying. The majority of the heat in your home escapes through your roof, so keeping it as thick as possible is critical. Down and synthetic fills must both fluff up (lift) to generate small air pockets throughout the insulation. These areas keep you warm while you sleep by trapping your body heat.

To Dry A Down Or Synthetic Sleeping Bag, Follow These Tips

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  • Use a commercial dryer, if feasible. Fully lofted sleeping bags can be tumble in dryers with bigger capacities. Use your own dryer if you don’t have access to a laundromat.
  • Set the dryer to low heat. Heat can cause nylon textiles to melt. It’s preferable to dry on low heat for a longer period of time than to speed up the drying process by blasting it with high heat.
  • Add two to three tennis balls to a down sleeping bag if you’re in a hurry for it to return to its initial loft. The balls assist break up clumps down during the drying process. Tennis balls are beneficial but not required for synthetic bags.
  • To completely dry the bag, run it as many times as necessary. Allow it to run for at least an hour, but expect it to take much longer.
  • Other methods for drying: Although air drying your bag will take longer, it is possible to do so by laying it flat on a clean surface in a place with low humidity and no direct sunshine. You may also hang it to dry; be cautious not to place too much strain on the nylon cloth by distributing the weight.
  • More drying: Before putting your bag in its storage bag, make sure it’s completely dry. It’s best to lay it out or hang it up over night.

How To Wash Sleeping Bags With Hands

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  • Put a little mild all the soap and cool or warm water in a bathtub.
  • Dunk the entire bag in, swish it around gently to release dirt trapped within the fill down or synthetic fibers, then rinse until all of the suds are gone from the surface. Repeat this step as necessary.
  • When there is no front-loading washer with the appropriate setting at your local laundromat, you can hand wash your bag. Put warm water and mild soap in one bathtub, and cold water for rinsing in the second.
  • Dunk the entire bag in a soapy bathtub and swish it around gently to release dirt trapped within fill down or synthetic fibers, then rinse thoroughly until all of the suds are gone from the surface. Dunk in clean water and repeat as necessary.
  • Make sure the bag is as dry as possible; it should feel and smell like dense clumps in a sack. If it’s still spongy, run through another rinsing cycle again with just cold water to remove any residual soap.
  • Wring the bag with your hands.
  • When removing, support it (not just one end) all around; using a steam iron helps keep seams from straining and ripping. In order to prevent tearing and stretching, carefully press out any remaining water by laying flat on a clean surface or hang dry without direct sunlight.

Clean Your Bag

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Because the interior lining of your luggage’s head and foot regions tend to get filthy, you should perform spot cleaning on them before washing the entire bag. (It’s time to get your bag a little TLC rather than a full-scale bath, and there are several reasons why this is the case.) Cleaning with a simple spot cleaning procedure:

  • Clean the spot with a tiny amount of mild soap (the same cleaning solution you’d use on the entire bag).
  • Soft-bristled toothbrushes are excellent for cleaning the shell.
  • Simply rinse the device with a damp cloth.

Tips: Hold the outer shell or liner fabric away from the insulating material so that you may wash and rinse it without getting the inner fill wet. If the fill gets wet, allow plenty of time for it to dry before putting your bag away.


So, you’re finished with this article. You have learned how to wash a sleeping bag.

Now that you know the basics of cleaning your sleeping bag, if it’s in need of some TLC or is just dirty from use, go ahead and give it a bath! Follow these steps for best results when washing your own gear at home.

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When should I wash my sleeping bag?

It is best to clean your bags every few weeks or after each use, depending on how much you use them. This will ensure that the materials remain odor-free and in optimal condition for years of reliable service. You can also toss a fabric refresher into the washer with your sleeping bag—just make sure to place the bag in a large, mesh laundry bag first.

Is it okay to dry a sleeping bag in the washer?

Do not place your sleeping bag in the dryer. Even on low heat, Tumble drying can damage the insulation and decrease its ability to maintain warmth.

Is it possible to clean a sleeping bag in the washer Machine?

Yes, it is possible to clean a sleeping bag in the front loading washing machine. Fill the front loading washing machine with water and mild soap or down-specific cleaning solution, then shut it off mid-cycle without adding clothes. Place your item into the empty washer and let it soak for an hour before resuming a complete cycle.

What is the best time to buy a new sleeping bag?

Sleeping bags should be unpacked from their compression bags and left to flap freely after each trip in order to retain as much heat as possible. It’s time for a new sleeping bag if you’re shivering instead of resting comfortably.