How To Wash A Men's Down Jacket

How to Wash A Men's Down Jacket

When it's freezing outside, you need a warm men's down jacket and a down vest from Lands' End for layering. Packed with the best feathers we can find, these jackets trap heat without adding bulk. Even though Lands’ End down coats and jackets are already built to withstand anything you throw its way, you can extend its lifespan by giving it the proper care. If you’re wondering how to wash a down coat, you’ll be pleased to learn it’s simple, with no dry cleaning required. Here are our top tips for washing, drying, and taking care of your down coats so that they will last for years of adventure to come.

The Advantages of Down Coats and Jackets

Before we talk about cleaning down coats, let’s look at why this outerwear style is ideal for winter. Men’s down jackets and coats come in sizes to fit every body, and they’re available in a range of colors. They’re insulated for plenty of warmth, and the exteriors are water-resistant to repel rain and snow. Plus, they come in packable styles that fold up for easy travel. As you’ll see in this article, down coats are relatively easy to clean and care for—which is just another reason to opt for this type of winter outerwear.

The Basics of Cleaning a Down Jacket

There are a few basic steps required when cleaning your down coat. The first thing to do is check the care instructions on your coat. Fortunately, you’ll find most are machine-washable. Here are the steps for cleaning and caring for a down jacket, followed by detailed instructions on each step:

  1. Launder with the right detergent
  2. Spot treat stains if needed
  3. Dry with dryer balls on low heat
  4. Or lay coat flat to dry
  5. Hang your coat after it’s dry
  6. Avoid ironing

Washing Your Down Coat

A front-loading washing machine works best with your men's down coat as the agitator in a top-loader can damage the insulating feathers. If you don’t have a front-loader available, wash your coat in a gentle cycle or take it over to the local laundromat to use one of their front-loading machines. The fabric of your coat can sometimes snag on the agitator in a top-loading washing machine and get ripped during washing, but not always. Therefore, if you do use a top-loader, do so with caution. Your coat should be washed on a warm setting with a special detergent made for down. Normal detergents can strip away the natural oils that let down feathers keep the fluffiness that makes them so warm. The fine hairs of the down feathers trap warm air between them in a way normal insulation can’t, so it’s important to keep your down in tip-top shape. Spot treat any stubborn marks with stain remover, and after one cycle, wash it again without adding detergent to ensure it's totally rinsed clean.

Drying Your Down Coat

Once you’ve gotten all of the grime out of your men's down coat, toss it into the dryer with a couple of tennis balls and put it on a low-heat setting. The balls will gently pummel the insulation, removing lumps and redistributing the down throughout the jacket so it becomes smooth and puffy. If you don’t have any spare, clean tennis balls sitting around, you can buy wool dryer balls that you can use not only to keep your down coat in tip-top shape but the rest of your men's casual shirts as well. When drying your coat sans dryer balls, pull it out of the dryer every 15-30 minutes and break apart any clumps with your fingers. When the cycle finishes, check your jacket and keep running it in the machine until fully dry. It can take around 2-3 hours for your coat to dry completely, but be patient! Taking your coat out while it’s still wet in parts can give it an unpleasant mildew smell, and the whole washing process repeats.

Alternately, you can gently squeeze excess water from your coat and lay it flat on a bath towel or a drying rack to air out. However, this can take 24 to 48 hours, depending on the air temperature and size of the coat. You'll also need to repeatedly fluff it up to prevent clumping. Many men’s and women’s down coats have baffles to keep the fill in place, so it won’t shift around and cause cold spots. Regardless, fluffing keeps the down lofty so it looks and feels new even after washing.

Caring for Your Down Coat

There are also some handy don'ts to remember when cleaning your warmest down jacket. Never expose it to dry cleaning chemicals or fabric softener, and never try to iron your coat. Ironing will burn or melt the material, which is a lot more difficult to fix than a stain or spot! Laying your coat out to dry is the best way to make sure that it dries without any wrinkles or lines. Hanging up your coat when you store it is also an excellent way to keep it looking its best. It’s tempting to leave your men's packable jacket in its packed state or to shove it in your canvas tote bag for the next time you need it, but the best way to prevent wrinkles is to hang your packable down coat on a hanger in the closet.

What About Synthetic Down?

If you want the warmth and loft of a down coat without the feathers, check out men’s coats made with ThermoPlume®. The nylon exteriors keep water and snow at bay, while the polyester fill keeps you warm without excess bulk. Many of these jackets are packable for easy portability, and they’re machine-washable. Unlike down coats, ThermoPlume® synthetic down coats don’t need to be dried with dryer balls to keep them fluffy. They provide all the best features of a down coat in the same on-trend style, and they’re even easier to launder and care for. Now that you know how to wash a down jacket, you’re ready to keep yours in top shape. A properly cared for down coat or synthetic down coat can carry you through multiple winters in comfort and style.

Related Articles