How To: Wash Your Sleeping Bag

How To: Wash Your Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Bags get funky, and even dirtbags wash their bags!

Dirt, sweat and oil can cause your bag’s insulation to clump and create cold spots. You can get your bag warm and fluffy by washing it after moderate use.

Pro Tip: If you use your bag a lot and want to minimize the need to wash it, consider using a sleeping bag liner for a removable, easily-washable solution.


Do not dry clean your bag, do it at home or at a laundromat. The most important part of washing your bag is making sure you do it in a front loading washer.

If your machine has an agitator - DO NOT USE IT. Top loading washers may shred your bag.


If you have a synthetic bag, use a tech wash like Nikwax Tech Wash. If your bag is down, use a down wash like Nikwax Down Wash. You can find these washes online, and at most outdoor gear shops.

You can wash both down and synthetic bags using these steps:

  1. Zip your bag up all the way and turn it inside out
  2. Wash on a gentle cycle with warm water. Do not use hot water, it can damage the fabric of your bag.
  3. Set the washer to rinse a few times to thoroughly remove the dirt and soap.
  4. A) Down Fill:
    Dry your bag in a large, front loading commercial dryer on medium heat. This step may take a few hours and multiple cycles. For ideal loft, finish with short, five minute intervals on high heat, allowing your bag to cool in between. Be careful and monitor your bag - high heat is great for restoring your down's loft, but prolonged exposure can cause the bag's exterior to melt.
    Pro Tip: throw in some tennis balls inside of a sock, they will gently break up clumped down, to re-loft your bag.
    B) Synthetic Fill:
    Dry your bag in a large, front loading commercial dryer on low heat. This step may take a few hours and multiple cycles.
  5. Make sure your bag is BONE DRY before you take it out of the dryer. This may take a while, but it is worth it. Even a little moisture can cause mildew to grow in your bag.
  6. Once you take your bag out, hang it for a few hours. Make sure the insulation is not clumping in the bag. Clumping down means it is still wet and won’t keep you warm. If you are noticing clumping revisit step 4.

Before you store, shake the bag out vigorously to distribute insulation.


- Is it COMPLETELY dry?

- Is it fluffy?

- Is the insulation evenly distributed?

If so, then it is ready to be stored in its mesh storage sack in a cool, dry home.

If not, then repeat steps 4 - 6 as needed.

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