OK to Ignore "Dry Clean Only"?

I have a down parka that says "dry clean only". Do you think it would be fine to wash it as I do my down sleeping bag?

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I have a down parka that says “dry clean only”. Do you think it would be fine to wash it as I do my down bag (on delicate) with proper down wash, then dry with tennis balls on low heat?

Submitted by – Jacqueline – Dartmouth, NS


Dear Jacqueline,

Get out your scissors and cut that silly label right off. Whoever sewed it on doesn’t know what they’re talking about! Down should never be dry cleaned because the harsh chemicals strip the feathers of their natural oils and eventually performance suffers. Plus, it’s easy and way cheaper to wash your jacket at home. I recommend Nikwax Down Wash. You just add it to a regular wash cycle (warm water, gentle), but it’s best if you use a front-loading machine that has no agitator. Run it through a second rinse cycle to remove any residue, then toss it into your dryer on low. No need to add tennis balls—the tumbling motion is plenty sufficient. When the bag is dry, consider treating the shell with a waterproofer (like Revivex Spray-on Water Repellent), which will help rain bead up and roll off.

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