/ Down jacket stinks - advice?

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Paul Sagar 09 Jan 2020

My belay jacket smells pretty bad. (Probably because I sweated into it a lot when hiking around last week in El Chorro, whilst insisting on trying to climb when it turns out I had the flu...yeah 5 days in bed since I got back, that didn't really work out.)

Washing them seems to be a right pain. Options:

1. Buy a specialist down washing product and risk trying to do it at home. Not keen because I'm sure I'll screw this up.

2. There seem to be a couple of specialist companies who can do it - anybody got any experience/advice (London based would be helpful)?

3. Anybody know any tricks for just removing the smell? I'm not that bothered about the jacket being dirty, it just wish it didn't pong.

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Martin W 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Paul Sagar:

The Johnsons cleaners in my local Sainsburys will wash down duvets - we had one of ours done fairly recently and it was fine.  We got it back in a nice big fabric bag which didn't compress the down much if at all.  I'd be surprised if they couldn't do down clothing as well.

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Andy Johnson 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Paul Sagar:

Have you tried washing it in warm water (only), carefully squeezing the water out, and then air drying it? Worked for my down gillet. Shake it periodically while drying to prevent the down forming clumps, and make sure the jacket is well-supported to avoid stressing the seams.

Post edited at 12:02
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Ciro 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> 1. Buy a specialist down washing product and risk trying to do it at home. Not keen because I'm sure I'll screw this up.

Washing at home is easy, as long as you have a tumble drier and a spare hour or so - takes a while but dry on a low heat and take it out every 5 minutes to bash it about a bit and break up the clumps. It'll seem pretty forlorn for ages, and then fluff up like new at the end.

I normally do mine at a coin op launderette and I've only ever used a regular laundry liquid.

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Paul Sagar 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Paul Sagar:

Thanks, it looks like Johnson's dry cleaners actually do a click and collect service and will wash down jackets. Too nervous to go near mine with water so I'll try leaving it to the professionals...

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gravy 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Paul Sagar:

get a sachet of down wash - put it on a gentle wash and then dry it in a tumble dryer with a couple of tennis balls to fluff it up again.  You'll never get the stick out but you can subdue it...

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Jon Greengrass 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Paul Sagar:

Never had any problems washing down jackets at home, My Rab jacket is 20 years old (proper made in Sheffield one) gets washed once a year at least and is still as lofty as new after being washed. My wife has 3 Rab jackets again they get washed at least once a year, they don't wash up as well as mine but hers are made of the much lighter neutrino fabric and the fabric is wearing a bit thin. All 3 of my kids have had Spotty Otter down parkas since the age of 4 the eldest is now 13 again no problems washing these once a year or more, they come up looking almost brand new.

1. My wife (boss of washing) uses Nikwak downwash or liquid soap.  Check your washing machine capacity can handle the weight of the jacket when wet and has a suitably gentle cold wash cycle. The only way to dry the jacket is in a tumble dryer with dryer balls, tennis balls or for the plastic free option felted wool dryer balls.

2. Never used a commercial cleaner for the jackets but our down bed duvet gets washed once a year through a variety of local cleaners wherever we have lived in the UK and never had any problems. If they can handle a 13tog king size duvet a jacket will be easy for them.

3. the only way to remove the smell is to wash it, don't be afraid, you will be amazed at how much better your jacket lofts after a proper wash and dry.

Post edited at 12:20
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galpinos 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> Thanks, it looks like Johnson's dry cleaners actually do a click and collect service and will wash down jackets. Too nervous to go near mine with water so I'll try leaving it to the professionals...

I had a test run on my wife's down jacket and it turns out it's really easy to do at home with a tumble dryer and tennis balls. The bigger the drum of the dryer, the easier it is.

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Iamgregp 09 Jan 2020
In reply to galpinos:

Yeah mine smelt f*cking terrible until xmas when we went back to the others half's mum's for Xmas (where they have a tumble drier).  Think we used Nikwak, the washing machine has a special setting for outdoors stuff, then two tennis balls in the tumble drier.

Came out smelling lovely, but some of the seams have started top open up so I now leave a trail of down wherever I go.

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Emilysaladfingers 09 Jan 2020
In reply to Paul Sagar:

Easy to do yourself if you have a drier or a laundry near by that does, I use non bio washing liquid on a low heat and then as others say throw some tennis balls in to dry it on low heat- it takes a while. Always comes out looking good as new and I've had it for about 15 years  

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Ben.o.neill 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Paul Sagar:

I’ve washed both of my down jackets several time with nikwax down wash, always with great results. You do need a tumble dryer though. The smaller the baffles the longer the down takes to un-clump. 

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marsbar 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Paul Sagar:

It's really not difficult.  Put it in the washing machine with the special down wash.  

Then put it in the dryer with some tennis balls or dryer balls.  

When it comes out of the dryer give it a really good shake. 

I do both of mine once a year. 

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LastBoyScout 10 Jan 2020
In reply to Paul Sagar:

I've washed all our down jackets with Nikwax Down wash several times with no issues - just done 2 of my sister's jackets with it.

A tumble drier helps, but you don't "need" it - the down can be fluffed up with a lot of shaking, but takes a lot longer.

I always do mine after cleaning out the detergent drawer of any softener residue and putting a synthetic wash through with no softener to rinse the machine out first.

If you want, you could always run them through again with down proofer:

https://www.blacks.co.uk/s:nikwax%20down/br:nikwax/

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Paul Sagar 10:06 Mon

Update:

As I don’t have ready access to a tumble drier and because I was far too nervous about screwing it all up, I ended up paying to get it done. Really happy with the result actually - for £25 a company called Laundrapp picked up the jacket from my flat on Thursday, and dropped it off again last night. It looks like new and doesn’t smell! More expensive than doing it myself I guess but in this case I was happy to pay the premium. Would recommend!

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MischaHY 10:25 Mon
In reply to Paul Sagar:

£25 isn't bad at all for a professional job. 

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