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How to make camping Sleeping Bag Cleaning?

A high-quality sleeping bag can be one of the most expensive outdoor gear you’ll ever buy. 900F, high-quality goose down-filled, water-repellent sleeping bags can last for more than ten years, or even decades, if carefully cared for. But neglecting maintenance can easily ruin a good piece of equipment. This article and its sequel provide some tips for extending the life of your sleeping bag, so be sure to follow along.

  1. Spray mildew removal

After returning from each trip, hang the sleeping bag and spray the inside and outside of the sleeping bag with Febreze or a similar mildew-removing spray, which effectively removes pollen and mold spores and leaves no odor the next time you use it.

  1. Compress only when necessary

It’s fine to stuff your sleeping bag in a compression bag during travel, but once you reach your destination, pull the bag out and fluff it up so it’s back to its original shape. Prolonged compression loses the down’s loft and thermal properties.

  1. Keep your sleeping bag dry

A waterproof compression bag is a good investment for a pen. During the outdoor journey, it is inevitable to encounter bad weather such as rain and snow. Putting the sleeping bag in a waterproof compression bag and keeping the sleeping bag dry is the top priority to ensure outdoor comfort and safety. At the same time, Keeping the down dry will also help prolong the life of the sleeping bag.

  1. Keep your body clean

Sweat, dust and oil are natural enemies of insulation materials such as down and can reduce the effective warmth retention of sleeping bag padding. The outdoor environment is inevitably dusty, and you need to clean up after a long day of hiking. Change into clean camping clothing if possible. This aids sleep and keeps the sleeping bag free from dust, sweat, oil and unpleasant odors. Remember to clean 50-60 meters away from the water source, if you don’t want to drink your own bath water.

  1. Consider using a sleeping bag liner

The inner liner of the sleeping bag can protect the inside of the sleeping bag from dust and dirt pollution and increase a certain thermal capacity. The inner liner will also make people feel a little tight and awkward, but it does prolong the life of the sleeping bag, and it is also used in hotels. You know that even in five-star hotels of international brands such as InterContinental or Hilton, the cleanliness is only superficial.

  1. Protect your sleeping bag when camping without a tent

It is now popular to use bottomless tents or even camping without tents. Be sure to remember to lay a lining on the ground to protect the sleeping bag from directly touching the ground. Helps to clean and avoid wear and tear on the outer skin of the sleeping bag.

How to wash a sleeping bag

Many backpackers never clean their sleeping bags, it becomes a filthy place to hide, disgusting! The sleeping bag of the so-called great god smelled like a homeless person. This eventually destroys the sleeping bag fabric, reducing bulk and warmth. You just need to clean the sleeping bag or deodorize it, but sometimes it’s time to wash it thoroughly. The following are some basic techniques for cleaning sleeping bags. In the sequel, we will talk about the details of cleaning operations in detail.

  1. Treatment of key areas

Sometimes all your sleeping bag needs is an intensive wash around your head or feet. Apply a small amount of Nikwax Down Cleaner to these areas and scrub away the dirt with a toothbrush. When you’re done, use a damp sponge to clean the surface with soapy suds. Pull up on the outer skin to separate the down filling and try to keep the down from getting wet. It doesn’t matter if the down gets wet, just enough time to dry.

  1. Deodorant

If the sleeping bag smells bad, spray on a deodorant like Febreze and hang it to dry. There is no need to spray too much to saturate the skin as most of the odor particles are on the skin fabric. If the odor persists after 24 hours of drying, the odor may be from the down filling. If so, you can spray it again, this time saturating the skin, or wash it thoroughly.

  1. Thorough cleaning

Cleaning a sleeping bag sounds like a hassle, but it’s actually relatively simple, but takes hours. Down is delicate, so it’s important to wash your sleeping bag properly. Remember to use a special down cleaning agent, such as the above-mentioned Granger and Nikwax have special down cleaning liquid.

How to Repair a Sleeping Bag

If you are an old player, you must have encountered the following problems. You can solve it yourself.

  1. Drill down

Most down sleeping bags are made of densely woven fabrics such as Pertex Quantum as the outer skin, so as to prevent the sleeping bag from drilling down as much as possible. A good sleeping bag depends not only on how the down filling is but also what fabric is used in the outer skin. Drill down is always unavoidable. Instead of pulling the feathers out when you find the down, try pulling the feathers out of the skin and back into the sleeping bag. Don’t get into the habit of pulling fur from your sleeping bag, it will create bigger holes and more down.

  1. Hole or tear

The two-way zipper bite is the main culprit in tearing the fabric of the sleeping bag, even if a zipper lining is added. When operating, the hand must be steady, slowly pull the zipper, do not yank when it gets stuck. In the unfortunate event of a hole in the sleeping bag, use the Gear Aid Tenacious Tape to repair the epidermis. This tacky, waterproof tape can be used to repair tears and holes in outdoor down equipment such as down jackets, sleeping bags, and more. In addition, you can also use needle and thread to sew by hand, but it is more recommended to use stickers. Serious tears need professional repair, it is best to contact the brand. But at home this can cost a fortune.

  1. Zipper

To repair a derailed or broken zipper, you will need a zipper repair kit, which is best done at home. If it is damaged halfway, it can only be carried hard. In an emergency, it can be temporarily fixed with safety pins. But it will leave a few more holes in the epidermis. This is generally not recommended.

How to store sleeping bags

  1. Restore bulkiness

As soon as you get home, take the sleeping bag out of the compression bag and let it inflate. Take a minute or two to loosen the down to restore its loft. This is one of the most important steps in extending the life of your sleeping bag.

  1. to dry

Be sure to unzip and fully open to ensure 100% dry before storing.

  1. Store in large bags or hang

Sleeping bags are best hung for storage. If there is not enough space, you can also put them in the large mesh storage bag that comes with you. It is also important to keep the sleeping bag in a dry and ventilated place.

A good sleeping bag with proper care can last for decades. However, the smell is unpleasant after long-term use, and the sand and dust seriously reduce the thermal insulation performance of the sleeping bag. But down is a delicate thermal insulation material that needs careful washing and maintenance.

Machine Washing Guide
Washing a down sleeping bag in the washing machine requires only a few simple steps. Be sure to read the brand’s wash label to see if there are any special requirements. The whole process may take 4-6 hours and requires patience.

Required equipment:

Large capacity front load washing machine
Down detergent: Niwax, Granger or Gear Aid ReviveX
Dryer (if available)
A few tennis balls or clean sneakers, in order to help break up the down agglomeration produced when cleaning the sleeping bag, if you use sneakers, you need to put clean socks on the outside to avoid the soles from scratching the sleeping bag.


Be sure to read the washing and drying instructions on the sleeping bag label before you start. The water temperature and precautions for the washing machine should be written on it.
Turn the sleeping bag inside out, zip it up, and put it in the washing machine. Make sure the front load washing machine does not have the agitator spinner. Some older open-top washing machines have this device, which will tear the sleeping bag lining.

agitator for washing machine

Check the washing machine to make sure the rollers are free of foreign objects and other types of detergent residue that can compromise the insulation properties of the down.
Follow the directions on the bottle of down detergent to add the proper dose. For example, NikiWax Down Wash, it is recommended to use 100ml per wash. Never use bleach, bleach substitutes or fabric softeners. At the same time, avoid using regular detergents, as this strips the natural oils attached to the down.
Tips: In order to enhance the performance of the down sleeping bag, you can spray down special DWR water repellent after the entire washing step to restore the water repellency of the outer skin and down of the sleeping bag.

Set the washing machine water temperature to the setting required on the sleeping bag label and start the wash cycle. When finished, check for detergent suds, if there is any residue, you need to wash it again according to the above procedure (without adding detergent). This rarely happens.
Put the sleeping bag in the dryer, be sure to set it on a low setting. Heat can damage down. The time required to dry down sleeping bags varies slightly, but generally, it takes 3-5 hours to fully dry. Check progress anytime.

Finally, when the bag is drying, open the lid and toss in 3-6 tennis balls or a pair of clean sneakers with socks on. The dryer spins these things to fluff the down sleeping bag and help break up clumps of down that may have gathered during the wash.

After drying, hang or store the sleeping bag loosely uncompressed.

Hand Washing Guidelines

If you don’t have a suitable front-loading washing machine at home, you can also hand wash the sleeping bag. This process may take longer, and some players also believe that hand washing sleeping bags is a better solution. If you don’t have a high-capacity front-loading dryer, you’ll need a flat surface to dry your sleeping bag. Below are the steps for hand washing.

Required equipment:

Tub or large-capacity plastic laundry tub

Down detergent: Niwax, Granger or Gear Aid ReviveX


Fill the bathtub (or laundry tub) with warm water. Turn the sleeping bag over and close all zippers.

Follow the directions on the bottle of down detergent to add the proper dose. For example, NikiWax Down Wash, it is recommended to use 100ml per wash. Never use bleach, bleach substitutes or fabric softeners. At the same time, avoid using regular detergents, as this strips the natural oils attached to the down. Put the sleeping bag in the tub and press the sleeping bag gently. This helps the wash solution soak into the fabric and clean the down. Soak in the tub for another hour.

Drain the water in the tub, then refill it with clean water. Gently press the sleeping bag, this time the goal is to wash the foam out of the sleeping bag. Do not squeeze the sleeping bag.

Repeat the previous step as many times as possible. until no detergent suds are visible. Be patient
Dry the sleeping bag on the balcony or on a clean outdoor floor, and lay a large bath towel underneath. Dry the sleeping bag in a cool place, preferably in the sun.

  1. When the sleeping bag is half dry, you need to shake the sleeping bag to check whether there is any down clumping, and you need to carefully tear the agglomeration a little bit. Then repeat the shaking.
    After the sleeping bag is completely dry, hang it up or place it in the sleeping bag storage mesh bag.

DWR water repellent recovery treatment
New sleeping bags are usually coated with a DWR (water repellent) coating on the fabric when they leave the factory, which can make the water vapor attached to the fabric quickly condense and peel off. After many uses, the DWR coating wears off. DWR treatments can be reworked with products such as Nikwax TX.Direct Spray-On or ReviveX Spray-On Water Repellent. Follow the DWR manufacturer’s instructions and the steps are simple.

Post-wash care tips

Whether machine wash or hand wash, when the sleeping bag is completely dry, be sure to store it loosely in a large mesh storage bag, never compressed.

The more you wash, the worse your sleeping bag fabric and bulk will end up being. Sometimes sleeping bags only require a spot wash on areas such as the head or soles of the feet. To do this, apply a small amount of down detergent to the area and use a toothbrush to remove the dirt. When done, wash with a sponge. If possible, keep the fabric skin of the sleeping bag away from the down filling to keep the down from getting wet. Then let it dry completely.

West Hiking®

West Hiking®

Michelle, Marketing manager of West Hiking, ten more years working experiences on the camp tents for domestic and abroad markets.

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