Ask Kristin

Fabric Softener on Down?

Is it safe or advisable to use Febreeze or other "fabric refreshers" on my down sleeping bag?

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.


Is it safe or advisable to use Febreeze or other “fabric refreshers” on my down sleeping bag?

Submitted by – James, Lancaster, PA


Nope, steer clear of chemicals like this. If your bag stinks, maybe it needs a wash or simply a good airing out. Down bags should never by dry cleaned (because of the chemicals used) but you can safely wash it at home if you have a big, front loading washer sans agitator or take it to the local laundrormat. Use the gentle cycle, cold water, and small amount of soap especially made for sleeping bags like Nikwax Down Wash.

Be very careful transferring your wet bag from washer to dryer, as the fabric can stretch and the interior baffles (that hold the down in place) can tear. Dry the bag thoroughly on low heat with a whole bunch of tennis balls (6-12); they bounce around and break up clumps of wet feathers so your back fluffs back up.