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20478Re: [Hammock Camping] Re: How do you wash a down sleeping bag?

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  • Cara Lin Bridgman
    May 3, 2010
      I spent this weekend washing my husband's queen-sized down comforter
      from LLBean because our new cat decided to pee on it--twice! There's
      not much more lingering than cat pee!

      The first thing I did was stuff the whole comforter into one of those
      mesh laundry sacks for washing delicate items. This got most of the air
      out and contained the bag. Then, I put the bag in a tub. At my house,
      we don't have a tub, but I've a nice large plastic basin. I used the
      shower head to fill the basin with cold water (no point wasting energy
      to heat the water when I'm going to sun-dry) and I used my feet to
      squish the water into the comforter and the air out of it. Then, I
      added probably two cap-fulls of woolite. I still had the woolite and it
      goes into suspension well, but last Fall, I used ordinary 'organic'
      laundry soap (mostly baking soda) for my JRB No-Sniveler. So, I spent
      20 or so minutes squishing the soapy water through the comforter. It's
      lots easier to use your feet than your hands. Then, I dumped out all
      the soapy water and filled the tub with clear water and squished the bag
      some more. I think I did the 'rinse' cycle four times. The last time,
      I dumped in about 1 cup of vinegar to make sure to get all the soap out.
      I did not rinse out the vinegar. After I poured the water out, I
      stood on the comforter to squeeze out more water. Then I folded it in
      half and squeezed some more. Finally, I folded it into quarters and
      squeezed. It looked a lot like a huge roll of bread dough. All this
      time, the comforter was in the mesh bag.

      I took the comforter and put it into my washing machine (Japanese made,
      top-loading, no central agitator), removed the mesh bag, and turned on
      the spin cycle. I ran the bag through about 40 minutes of spin. Then,
      I hung the bag in the sun for two days, fluffing whenever I thought
      about it.

      It's during the drying that I've learned to appreciate the black side of
      the JRB quilts. When I washed my no-sniveler, it dried in <4 hours of
      direct sunlight! I am contemplating dying the comforter black!

      Right now, we have a happy, fluffy, comforter and my husband and I, at
      least, don't notice any cat odor. I admit we've not left it on the bed
      long enough to give the cat a chance to see if he notices any odor.

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