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The Ultimate Guide on How to Care for Down Gear and Jackets

The Ultimate Guide on How to Care for Down Gear and Jackets

Understanding the Importance of Proper Care for Down Gear

Taking proper care of your down gear, such as down jackets, sleeping bags, and puffy blankets, is essential to maintain their performance and longevity. Down gear provides excellent insulation and warmth due to the natural insulating properties of down feathers. However, without proper care, these items can lose their loft and effectiveness over time. 

One of the key aspects of down gear care is regular cleaning. While it may seem counterintuitive to wash items filled with delicate feathers, but it's crucial for maintaining their performance. By removing dirt, oils, and sweat that accumulate over time, you can ensure that your down gear remains breathable and efficient at trapping heat. 

Another important aspect of caring for down gear is proper storage. When not in use, it is best to store down items uncompressed in a breathable bag or bin. Avoid storing them in plastic bags or vacuum-sealed containers, as this can damage the feathers and reduce their loftiness. Regularly fluffing and shaking out your down gear also helps restore its loft. This action redistributes the feathers inside and prevents clumping or settling that can occur over time.

By investing time in caring for your down gear, you will reap the benefits. Proper maintenance extends the lifespan of these items significantly. With regular care, you can enjoy the warmth and comfort provided by your favourite down jacket or gear for years to come.

Step-by-Step Guide on Washing Your Down Gear and Jackets

  1. Inspect the gear or jacket for any rips or tears, because these will need to fixed before washing.
  2. Gather necessary supplies: mild detergent, front-loading washing machine, dryer balls.
  3. Start by closing all zippers, pockets, cuffs, and flaps.
  4. Brush off any visible dirt and turn the garment inside out.
  5. Pre-treat stains before washing with spot treatment, but be aware this may remove the water-resistant layer.

Hand washing

  • Use a specialised detergent such as the Grangers Down Wash because normal detergents can strip the down of its natural oils.
  • Soak your jacket for up to 60 minutes.
  • Rinse by gently squeezing the jacket (don’t wring).

Machine Washing

  • Front-load machine wash only at 30° C (86°F) using your Grangers Down Wash.
  • Use a gentle cycle with cold water.
  • Add the right amount of detergent as instructed on the bottle.

Drying

  • After washing, gently squeeze (no wringing!) excess water out of the down jacket while laying it down flat.
  • We recommend using a tumble dryer to dry as it rejuvenates the fluff and can reactivate any waterproofing.
  • Add dryer balls to help fluff the down during the drying process and prevent any clumping of the down. We do not recommend tennis balls as they can catch on fire.

Rumple Blankets

Repairing Small Tears or Damages

To repair down gear and jackets, the fabric is likely to be water-resistant. First, assess the damage, then gather materials including repair tape, fabric patches, seam sealer, matching thread, and scissors. Clean the damaged area and apply repair tape for small tears, or sew on a fabric patch for larger holes. For seam damage, use seam sealer to restore waterproofing. Some repairs on waterproof or breathable fabrics may require heat-activated patches. After repair, thoroughly test the gear or jacket's performance. Always follow the manufacturer's care and repair instructions, and perform regular maintenance to extend the garment's lifespan. For complex or crucial repairs, consider professional services. Technical apparel relies on advanced materials, so repairs should be done carefully to maintain functionality

Cleaning Your Down Gear

Taking care of down gear, such as jackets and puffy blankets, is essential to maintain their performance and longevity. One crucial step in this maintenance routine is washing down gear. However, it is important to handle this process correctly to avoid damaging the down insulation.

While caring for your down gear includes regular washing routines, spot-cleaning stains can also be necessary from time to time. For minor stains on non-removable parts of your down jacket or sleeping bag, you can use a damp cloth and mild soap solution to gently dab at the stain until it lifts away without saturating too much water into the fabric.

To begin, it is recommended to check the manufacturer's instructions for specific cleaning guidelines. In general, most down gear can be washed using a mild detergent specifically designed for down gear, such as Grangers Down Wash

Before washing, make sure to close all zippers and fasten any Velcro closures on your gear. This prevents any potential damage during the wash cycle. Additionally, ensure that any removable parts like hoods or fur trims are detached before proceeding with the cleaning process.

When selecting a washing machine cycle, opt for a gentle or delicate setting with cold water. Avoid using hot water as it can damage the downfill and cause clumping. 

After completing the washing cycle, it is crucial to thoroughly dry your down gear. Air drying is an option, but in most cases, we do recommend using a dryer, setting it on low heat or tumble dry and use dryer balls. The dryer balls will help break up any clumps of feathers during the drying process.

 Rumpl Blankets

Storing Your Down Gear Properly

When it comes to storing down jackets and gear, it is important to take proper care to avoid compression damage to the down insulation. One effective method is to use a breathable storage bag or large natural fibre pillowcase.

Down insulation, which is made from the soft feathers of ducks or geese, is highly effective at providing warmth by trapping air within its clusters. However, when down insulation is compressed for long periods, it can lose its loft and insulating properties.

To prevent this from happening, using a breathable spacious storage bag or pillowcase can be ideal. These storage options allow air circulation while protecting the jacket or gear from dust and dirt. It is important to choose a bag or pillowcase made from a breathable material such as cotton or mesh.

Before storing the down jacket or gear, make sure it is clean and completely dry. Any moisture left in the insulation can lead to mould growth and damage over time. Gently fluff up the down clusters by shaking or patting the garment before placing it in the storage bag.

Avoid tightly compressing the jacket or gear when storing them. Instead, loosely fold them to help maintain their loftiness. This will ensure that the down clusters remain fluffy and fully functional when you retrieve them for your next adventure.

By utilizing a breathable storage bag or pillowcase and following these guidelines, you can effectively store your down jackets and gear without compromising their performance. Proper storage techniques will help extend their lifespan and keep them ready for your next outdoor adventure.

Avoiding Common Mistakes with Down Care

  • Don’t use fabric softeners, conditioners, bleaches or stain removers.
  • Stain removers may be used very sparingly if necessary, but be aware they may remove or damage the water-resistance layer.
  • Don’t dry clean.
  • Don’t wring out the jacket or gear.
  • Don’t hang out to dry vertically as it would cause the fluff to bunch at the bottom.
  • Avoid a top-loader machine as they can be too rough.
  • Don’t store or use gear damp.
  • Don’t store compressed.
  • Don’t use tennis balls in the dryer, they’re potentially flammable! Use dryer balls like the ones in Grangers Down Wash Kit

Rumpl Blankets

Pro-tip: Fluffing Your Jacket or Gear

Regularly shaking or gently patting down gear is an important practice to redistribute down feathers. Down gear, such as jackets, sleeping bags, and puffy blankets, are filled with soft and insulating down feathers. Over time and use, these feathers can become compressed or clumped together, reducing their loft and insulation properties.

By regularly shaking or gently patting down gear, you help to redistribute the down feathers evenly throughout the item. This ensures that the insulation remains effective and provides optimal warmth and comfort.

Shaking the gear vigorously helps to fluff up the down clusters and separate any clumps that may have formed. Gently patting it also helps to break up any compacted areas, allowing the feathers to regain their loft.

It is recommended to perform this practice periodically or after prolonged use of the gear. By doing so, you can enjoy your down gear and maintain its performance for years to come.

Maximize the Longevity and Performance of Your Down Gear and Jackets

Taking care of your down gear is crucial to maintain its performance and prolong its lifespan. Regular cleaning is essential to remove dirt, oils, and sweat that can accumulate over time. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for washing and drying your gear, as improper care can damage the down filling. Proper storage is also important to prevent compression of the down clusters. When not in use, store your gear in a spacious bag or in a well-ventilated area. Avoid long-term storage in stuff sacks or tight spaces, as this can lead to loss of loft and insulation. Fluffing your down gear periodically helps restore its loftiness by redistributing the feathers inside. Gently shake or tap the item to separate any clumped clusters and regain its full volume. By investing a little time and effort into caring for your down gear, you'll be rewarded with continued warmth, comfort, and durability for years to come. So remember: clean it regularly, repair it, store it properly, and give it a good fluff every now and then!

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