How to Hand Wash a Sleeping Bag
To clean your sleeping bag, fill the bathtub with either warm or cool water, and then add laundry detergent or soap. You might want to use a cleaner formulated specifically for cleaning synthetic materials, if that’s what you have. Avoid using too much soap because it will be harder to rinse off, and because excess soap means unnecessary environmental impact, even if you’re using eco-friendly or biodegradable soap.
Put the bag in the water and stir the soap/detergent with your hands until it’s completely dissolved. After thoroughly scrubbing any really dirty areas with a soft brush, leave the bag immersed for an hour to remove the most stubborn grime.
Drain the tub and squeeze excess water from the bag.
Move on to the rinsing process: fill the tub with either warm or cool water, massage the soap gently out of the bag, wait 15 minutes, and drain the water and squeeze excess water from the bag. Repeat the rinsing step as needed to remove any trace of soap.
After the final rinse, gently squeeze the bag to get rid of as much water as possible. After that, carefully roll it into a ball by hand before transporting it to the dryer. This will help prevent the seams from becoming strained or torn.
If your dryer is large enough, you can use that; but if it’s not, you should retain the bag balled up and take it to the laundromat.
If you don’t have any access to a dryer, lay your bag out in the sun or partial shade on a clean surface such as grass or a blanket and allow it to dry. You may have to manually separate clumps of insulation as the bag dries out.
How to Machine Wash a Sleeping Bag
Some sleeping bags can be machine washed in a top-loading washer or front-loading washer that does not have an agitator. Keep in mind that certain front-loading washing machines for the home are small and designed to conserve energy, and that may prevent your bag from tumbling and cleaning effectively. You should consider going to a laundromat in this case, especially when washing a double sleeping bag.
Use a gentle cycle with warm (or cold) water and the appropriate detergent to wash the sleeping bag. Again, use very little soap to keep from creating too many suds.
To correct a machine’s tendency to spin off balance, you may need to throw in some towels or T-shirts as a counterbalance. So if the sleeping bag is mostly on one side of the drum, put the towels/T-shirts on the opposite side.
Use at least two rinses to get rid of all the soap. Alternatively, you might give it still another complete washing and rinsing (this time without soap).
Drying Your Sleeping Bag
Reduce the heat on the dryer to a low setting. Maintain a close watch on the temperature of your machine at all times. When subjected to extreme heat, some fabrics and synthetic fillers might melt.
When a down bag is almost done drying in the dryer, throw two or three clean tennis balls or a pair of lightweight sneakers in with the bag. This will help break down and redistribute any clumps that may have formed in the insulation, restoring the fill’s loft to its original fluffiness.
Make sure your bag is completely dry before putting it away. You may want to leave it hanging overnight by its loops if it has them. Check it in the morning to make sure it’s completely dry before packing it up or using it again.
Washing a sleeping bag is essential for keeping it clean, fresh, and hygienic. Not only does it help remove dirt and grime, but it also helps to prevent odors from forming and accumulating in the fabric. It also helps to keep the insulation functioning properly which can extend the life of your sleeping bag. Plus, washing a sleeping bag makes it much more comfortable to sleep in – after all, no one wants to curl up with something that is covered in dirt and stains!
Tip: Using a sleeping bag liner can help keep your bag cleaner, which means fewer trips to the washing machine.
And now that you know how to wash a sleeping bag, it’s a good time to learn how to store a sleeping bag.