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Every sleeping bag, down or synthetic, must be cleaned. Accumulated body
oils, trail dust
and grime all serve to decrease the effectiveness of a bag's insulation, and
obnoxious odors and fiber-weakening microbes.
For down bags, use mild soap or specially formulated down soap.
For synthetic bags, use a mild detergent or cleaning agents designed for synthetics.
Scrub the head and foot section before washing
the entire bag. Wash warm and rinse cold with the minimum recommended amount of cleaning
agent in a front-loading machine only.
Be sure that all soap or detergent is thoroughtly rinsed out. This may mean
running two or more rinse cycles.
Wash with warm water in the bathtub using a mild detergent for synthetics
and a specialized cleaner
Knead water through the bag thoroughly and carefully scrub the head
and foot. Don't expect to
remove every stain from the shell and never use commercial stain removers.
Once the bag is
clean, begin draining the tub and press the soapy water out of the bag with
your hands. Do not lift the bag and do not wring it.
Rinse thoroughly, making sure all of the cleaning agent
is out of the bag. Refill the bathtub with clean, cold water at least three
or four times to be sure you have adequately rinsed away all the detergent. If soap remins in
the fibers, it will cause the fill to mat.
Once you have completed the final rinse, gently roll the bag to press out
as much water as
possible. Do not wring.
Carefully place the bag into either a
or a plastic clothesbasket. If you try to lift it without support, you
risk tearing the
baffles and ruining the bag.
Take a supply of quarters to the nearest
laundromat. Tumble dry in a large commercial dryer on medium-low heat. The
dryer must be
large enough for the bag to be tossed around freely.
Dry slowly and
some terry cloth towels and two tennis balls thrown in. The terry cloth
minimizes static electricity and
speeds the drying process, while the tennis balls fluff the fill.
Plan on two
to four hours
total drying time.
Mistakes to Avoid
Do not use a top-loading washing machine
Do not use strong soap or detergent
Do not use your home dryer
Do not attempt to lift your bag from one end when wet. Lift the entire
bag all at once.
Do not hang dry in the sun. UV damages nylon.
Do not ever dry clean your synthetic fill bag. Dry cleaning will
irreversibly damage the fill.