Tips On How To Wash A Sleeping Bag Properly

So, you have your sleeping bag for your outdoor activities, right? How do you maintain the quality of this bag? Are you washing it regularly or right after your outdoor adventure? Or you are just storing it in the corner? Well, there is a need to wash the said bag, and that should be done the right way. But, how to wash a sleeping bag? We got to know the answer below!

How To Wash A Sleeping Bag

How To Wash A Sleeping Bag

What is a Sleeping Bag?

Of course, let me give you some idea about sleeping bag. It is referred to as an insulated covering for a person or a lightweight quilt which could be closed with a zipper. This could serve as portable bedding if you plan to sleep outdoors such as during hiking or camping.

The primary purpose of sleeping bag is to offer thermal insulation and warmth through the down or synthetic insulation. Also, it has a water-repellent or water-resistant cover which protects you against light precipitation and wind chill.

Besides, the bottom surface of the sleeping bag also renders some cushioning along with the use of a camp cot or sleeping pad. You can have sleeping bag models that are designed for various purposes. However, whatever the goal would be, maintaining and caring for your sleeping bag must not be ignored. So, you better wash your sleeping bag properly.

How to Wash a Sleeping Bag? Hand Wash vs. Machine Wash

Now, caring for the bag could vary whether it is synthetic or down. Down might need careful attention and more time so most campers would prefer paying a professional to clean it. However, doing it by yourself can definitely be possible.

Spot cleaning the bag might be first considered. In some cases, your bag might not need a full-blown bath as doing it all the time might lead to wear and tear and will decrease the loft too.
To spot clean the sleeping bag, you can just make a paste of a little non-detergent soap and water. Utilize a toothbrush to clean the shell gently. You only need to focus on the collar and hood wherein hair as well as skin oils accumulate.

If you hold the shell or the liner fabric away from its insulation, you could wash then rinse the area without having the inside of it wet.

Nevertheless, if the bag has gotten very dirty, washing it is really needed. This could be the time wherein the bag is already losing the loft and might be darkened because of grime. So, you really need to give it a full washing.

The first thing you need to consider is to look if there are washing instructions from the manufacturer. Follow the specified instructions to make the task of cleaning the bag easier and faster.
You can also choose whether to hand wash or machine wash the sleeping bag.

Here’s how to hand wash the sleeping bag:

First, fill the tub with warm or cool water and add the appropriate cleaner for the synthetic and down bag. You should avoid the use of too much soap since if it gets too sudsy, it might be difficult to rinse it out.

Second, lay the sleeping bag in the water and work in the soap gently throughout the bag. You should rub together those heavily soiled areas. And let it soak for an hour.

Third, drain the tub then press out the remaining water.

Fourth, you need to fill the tub again with warm or freshwater and work the soap out gently. Allow the bag to sit for about 15 minutes and drain. Press the remaining water and merely repeat the process until the soap is out.

Fifth, squeeze out as much water as you could from the sleeping bag. Work for the hands underneath and get it all up in the ball in your arms to bring it to the dryer. This would prevent straining as well as ripping the seams.

Sixth, once you have a big dryer, use it for drying your bag. But if it is small, there is a need to transport the bag to the laundromat.

And finally, if you prefer not to use the dryer, directly lay it flat on the clean surface outside in the sun or partial shade. You might need to break up clumps of insulation manually as the bag dries.

How about machine washing the sleeping bag? Follow these:

Yes, most sleeping bags could also be machine washed so long as the front-loading washer is utilized. Bear in mind that some of the home front-loaders might be energy efficient and small and might not offer enough room for the bag to tumble and clean entirely.

Merely wash on the gentle cycle in cold or warm water along with the right soap. Only use a little soap to avoid over-sudsing.

Next, add some other damp articles which need washing like t-shirts or towels to help balance the spin of the machine.

And to ensure that all the soap residue is gone, you should rinse it twice. Or merely run it a second time through a complete wash-and-rinse cycle.

There is a need to follow the steps simply, and you can wash the sleeping bag properly. On the other hand, there are particular things that you should not do as you wash the bag. And these include the following:

  • You should never dry clean the sleeping bag. Those solvents that are used in dry cleaning could strip the natural oils from down which help it retain loft.
  • You should also not wash a sleeping bag in the top-loading machine with an agitator as it could rip or strain seams. Considering a top-loader without an agitator would be fine.
  • Avoid using bleach, fabric softener or some alternative-bleach products.

Storing Sleeping Bag

Though you already know how to wash a sleeping bag, it is also recommended that you store the sleeping bag properly in order to help it last longer. You can be guided by the following:

  • Once you get home from any outdoor adventure, air out the sleeping bag. You can use the loops on the foot box in order to hang it from the hanger or simply hang it over the back of the couch, from the top of the door or on a clean floor. There is a need to make sure that the bag is completely dry before you store it.
  • You should loosely stuff it into the large cloth sack or a mesh bag. Or a big pillowcase might do great as well. You shouldn’t keep it in the small stuff sack for long-term storage as this would compress the insulation fibers and eventually loses the fluffiness.
  • And of course, store it in a clean and well-ventilated area, so a large closet is a wise choice.

Sleeping Bag Care and Maintenance Tips

Whatever kind of sleeping bag you have, it’s best that keep it clean, dry and protected as well. With that, it will last longer, and it will insulate more effectively. Some tips to consider include the following:

  • Consider the use of a sleeping bag liner. These liners could be wool, silk, cotton or polyester and are lightweight too. They will keep the sleeping bag clean since they act as the barrier in between the skin and the sleeping bag. Also, they add about five to fifteen degrees Fahrenheit to the temperature rating of the bag. Simply wash the liner after using it.
  • Sleep in clean clothing. Though you are too tired, you should avoid crawling into the bag wearing the clothes you hiked in. The sweat, body oils and dirt could rob the sleeping bag of the insulating power. You should at least change into long and clean underwear and socks for sleep. Or if its warm, you can wear a clean shirt and underwear. You can also use a clean bandana or knit cap to keep the oily hair off the hood. Wipe or wash your face before going to bed as well.
  • Treat the bag gently. You should never jump around camp standing inside the bag as it will only trash the toe box.
  • Protect the bag from the ground. Once you decide to sleep under the stars, consider using a pad down on the ground. Some bags might feature durable waterproof fabric under yet still need protection too.

These are just some of the tips that you should not overlook when it comes to your sleeping bag.


So, have you learned the right way on how to wash a sleeping bag? I assume you did! With the steps rendered above, and with additional information, I am confident that you will use your sleeping bag a lot longer! Hit like, share and write your comments below!

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