Explore Fleeces for Winter Explore Now

How to Clean Your Sleeping Bag

Important to note: ALWAYS follow the specific product wash care instructions on the manufacturer’s tag on the inside of the product.

With regular care, correct storage and thorough cleaning, you can extend the life of your sleeping bag considerably to secure many meaningful nights under the stars for future adventures. If you haven't decided on a sleeping bag yet, but you're already planning your next getaway, then read our informative guide on how to choose the right sleeping bag for your next trip here.

How to Clean a Down Sleeping Bag:

What you’ll need:

  1. Nikwax down wash
  2. Large basin/bath tub
  3. 2 x Clean tennis balls
  4. Tumble dryer
  5. Clean, soft bristle toothbrush

Step 1: Loosen all zippers and draw cords on your sleeping bag. Fill your bath/large basin with lukewarm water and add Nikwax down wash as per the specific instructions on the bottle, and ensure the Nikwax mixture is evenly dispersed throughout the tub. Carefully submerge your sleeping bag in the tub/basin.

Step 2: For an extremely dirty sleeping bag, first focus on dirt spots with a clean soft-bristle toothbrush (using gentle, circular movements to remove tough stains) and Nikwax down cleaner. Leave to soak for an hour, after which you can drain the water and replace the tub with fresh water. Remove excess soap by gently massaging it (take care not to wring or squeeze, this will damage the down). Repeat this step until all soap is gone and the water is clear.

Step 3: Drain all water from the basin/tub and gently massage the sleeping bag to remove excess water. Take care to support the bottom of your sleeping bag when removing it from the tub/basin as down is heavier when wet which can cause seams to stretch and tear unnecessarily if not supported adequately. Lay your down sleeping bag on a flat, smooth surface to air dry for a few minutes and take care to once again ‘massage’ the down to ensure it is evenly dispersed throughout the sleeping bag. Tumble dry on a low heat for no more than 15minutes at a time. Be sure to add two regular tennis balls to your dryer to assist with the even dispersing of the down. Take your sleeping bag out of the tumble dryer after 15 minutes and re-check that the down filling is evenly dispersed. Repeat until dry (this may take several hours, ensuring you’re occupied for almost a day) and leave your sleeping bag open during the night in a protected area to ensure it is 100% dry.

*Storing a down sleeping bag:

Do not store your down sleeping bag compressed in it’s storage bag as this will damage the down fill over time and impact on your sleeping bag’s ability to insulate effectively. For more information on how to correctly store your sleeping bag, read our blog here.

How to Clean a Synthetic Sleeping Bag:

What you’ll need:

  1. 8-10kg front loader washing machine (DO NOT USE A TOP LOADER)
  2. Tumble dryer
  3. Tech wash such as Nikwax
  4. Soft-bristle toothbrush

Step1: Loosen all zippers and draw cords on your sleeping bag. Set your washing machine on a gentle cycle/ Be sure to double check the care label of your sleeping bag to determine whether it’s better to use cold or warm water. Follow the specific instructions Nikwax suggests in terms of quantity to be added to your wash cycle.

Step 2: Give your sleeping bag a second gentle rinse in the wash to ensure any excess soap is removed. Gently squeeze out any excess water with your hands, and take care to support the sleeping bag from below when removing it from the washing machine.

Step 3: Place your synthetic sleeping bag in the tumble dryer on a low heat setting for 15-30mins max. Ensure no clumping of fabric takes place after taking it out the dryer and giving it a good shake after each drying cycle. To ensure your bag is 100% dry, leave it open on a flat, smooth surface overnight to breathe.

Have any valuable tips or hacks you’d like to share with us? Tag us on social @firstascentsa or write a review on our site to tell us what’s worked for you. Got any cleaning related questions? Refer to our informative product care guide here. Browse our full range of down sleeping bags, as well as our synthetic sleeping bags now.