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How to wash a sleeping bag

How To Wash A Sleeping Bag At Home

If you’re currently rushing to get your sleeping bag clean because you skipped out on washing it after the last time you used it, then you may want to get started quickly.

Especially since a couple of pats and wipe downs won’t be enough to keep that thing sufficiently clean to sleep in.

But don’t go soaking your sleeping bag into water or shoving it inside a washer just yet, there’s a little bit more to it than washing it with soap and rinsing it with water.

The way you wash your sleeping bag could actually differ depending on its type. The cleaning process could also vary depending on the sleeping bag’s price. So whether it’s an expensive one or a sleeping bag under $100 bucks, it’s important to learn the proper steps for how to wash a sleeping bag.

Steps For Washing A Sleeping Bag

In this article, I’ll be talking about how to clean both down and synthetic sleeping bags.

Now cleaning sleeping bags may take a little bit of work, but I’m sure anyone can do it correctly.

If you don’t like washing sleeping bags, I suggest you try out using a quilt and a hammock on your next camping trip.

So unless you have money to buy a new sleeping bag, or a younger sibling that you can take trick into washing your sleeping bag, you better start reading so you can get started!

First thing is first, do you even know what kind of sleeping bag you are using? Is it down or synthetic with polyester? If you don’t know, you better find out first. After all, you wouldn’t want to clean it the wrong way right?

Once you know what kind of sleeping bag you’ve got right there, just follow these simple steps I have laid out below.

2 Ways To Wash A Sleeping Bag

1. Machine Wash

how to wash a sleeping bag in a washing machine

Let’s start with the easy way, and by that I mean the machine wash way. To start off, prepare these following materials before you proceed to doing the steps.

What You’ll Need:

  • Front Loading Washing Machine
  • Mild Detergent
  • Fabric Conditioner (Optional)
  • A Tennis Racket (Or something you could hit the sleeping bag with)
  • 2 Clean Tennis Balls

Step 1: Rid The Sleeping Bag Of Dirt And Dust

If you have a synthetic sleeping bag, try giving your sleeping bag a round of pat downs and wipe downs. Doing this gets rid of the excess dirt that’s still clinging to your sleeping bag.

If your sleeping bag is too dusty, try hanging it on a clothesline and patting it with a long object like a tennis racket or a hockey stick.

However, if you have a down sleeping bag, I do not suggest doing the pat down since it may deform your sleeping bag. Instead, you may give it a gently wipe down with a damp cloth.

Step 2: Prepare The Sleeping Bag

After ridding your sleeping bag of dust and dirt, next thing you have to do is keep all of its zippers zipped and its velcro tabs locked and secured. Do not skip this part unless you want to end up with loose velcro straps and broken zippers.

If your sleeping bag has a waterproof shell, make sure to turn it inside out first. You’d want to get the sleeping bag to absorb the soapy water if you want it to get completely clean.

Step 3: Set Up Washer And Place Sleeping Bag Inside

Before you place your sleeping bag inside the washer, make sure that the washer itself is completely empty. Check the insides of the washer and look for things that can snag your sleeping bag.

Next thing you have to do is set your washer to a gentle cycle at a warm 30°C. Try using mild soaps or detergents. I like using fabric conditioners so that my sleeping bag would smell really nice.

Step 4: Dry The Sleeping Bag

If your washer has a drying function, you can dry your sleeping bag right there. If not, you can simply hang it over two clothing racks to dry if it’s synthetic.

As for down sleeping bags, you would have to put in two clean tennis balls in the dryer with them to keep the down filling from getting all clumped together as the sleeping bag spins in the dryer.

If you don’t have a dryer, you have to lay them out on a flat surface to avoid deformations.

Remember, when drying your sleeping bag under the sun, try not to place it directly under the sunlight for too long to avoid discolorations.

2. Hand Wash

If you don’t have access to a washing machine, know that you can still clean that sleeping bag at home with some water, a couple of hours, and a little bit more elbow grease.

To wash your sleeping bag the old way, prepare these following materials first before you get down to the steps.

What You’ll Need:

  • A Large Water Basin
  • Mild Detergent
  • Fabric Conditioner (Optional)
  • Two Clothing Racks or Clothes Lines

Step 1: Wash And Soak The Sleeping Bag

You have to soak it first in a water basin filled with warm water and mild detergent.

As you soak your sleeping bag in soapy water, make sure to massage the water into the insides of the sleeping bag. Leave the thing to soak for up to 4 hours or until the water has lifted the dirt from your sleeping bag.

Step 2: Rinse The Sleeping Bag

After the soak, remove the dirty water and replace it with clean water with fabric conditioner and let it soak for 10 more minutes.

Start rinsing the sleeping bag by repeatedly massaging the fresh water into the sleeping bag, removing the dirty water, and replacing it with fresh water until there are no suds coming out of the sleeping bag whenever you massage water into it.

Step 3: Drain The Sleeping Bag

Drain The Sleeping Bag

After the rinse, you can start draining the water from your sleeping bag by folding its sides towards its center and pressing down on it. Continue to do so until there is not enough water to drip out of the sleeping bag.

Do not try to wring your sleeping bag when draining it. It may ruin the way the inner-fillings are distributed inside your sleeping bag. This means you could end up with a lumpy old sleeping bag that’s not nice to spend a night on.

Step 4: Dry The Sleeping Bag

So now comes the drying part. Just lay it over two parallel clothing racks or clothing lines if it’s synthetic or lay it on a flat surface if its down.

You may put it under direct sunlight, but I don’t recommend letting it stay under the sun for too long since excessive sunlight can damage color.

How To Properly Store A Sleeping Bag

Once your sleeping bag is all fresh and clean, all that there’s left for you to do is to store it away properly.

If your sleeping bag doesn’t have a case, you can try using a large pillowcase, laundry bag, duffel bag, or you can simply put it away in a cabinet.

To keep your sleeping bag in perfect shape, you must know how to fold it properly.

To do so, just start from the outsides and fold it towards the center. Continue to do so until the sleeping bag can fit in its case or in your cabinet.

A Quick Recap

Alrighty then! There you go. A complete guide on how to wash a sleeping bag at home. Remember, not all sleeping bags are made the same.

You should first check what kind of sleeping bag you have before you start cleaning it.

Don’t forget to soak your sleeping bag before washing it to soften the dirt attached to it.

And stay away from strong detergents and too much direct sunlight to avoid discolorations!

If you want to learn more about outdoor gear care, outdoor travel tips, outdoor gear reviews, and all sorts of things about outdoor travel, feel free to explore this blog! You’ll certainly pick up something that can be useful for your next outdoor adventure.

Don’t forget to show some love by sharing this article with your friends!

How To Wash A Sleeping Bag At Home
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I am Melanie Campbell, an outdoor and professional camping enthusiast that will give you the best expert advice when it comes to camping and outdoor trekking. I’m here to give you expert advice and proven tips on how to make the most out of your camping adventure.

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