How To Wash A Winter Coat At Home

by Jessica Willingham

Washing a winter coat is likely confusing because it's made of higher quality, more delicate fabric like down, wool, or even tweed. Most of us don't have time (or even cash flow) to be running winter outerwear back and forth from the dry cleaners. Here's how to wash a winter coat so it lasts all season long.

If You Have A Down Coat...

If you're going to wash your down coat coat (the warmest there is), then you'll first need to completely clean your washer. It sounds counterintuitive. I mean, the washer is already clean, right? Well, you are going to be using a different kind of soap than you would for the normal, everday load of laundry so you need to make sure none of that soap or residue is left in the washer, ready to mess up your perfectly poufy down jacket.

You'll want to use a specialized soap, or these soap flakes, to wash your down jacket. The typical fabric softener or soap will likely damage the down. So after you've run the washer on a rinse cycle to ensure the washing machine is clear of residue, then wet your down jacket in the sink. This will get rid of any dirt on the outside.

Once you get the vest and a little less than the normal amount of soap, you should set the machine on cold and on delicate settings. Congrats, the easy part is over!

The hardest part of washing a down coat is actually the drying process. When you take the down out of the washing machine, the feathers have likely clumped together. You'll need to gently hand pick the clumps apart or else they will stay clumped and even mildew. You can hang your jacket outside to dry (on a warm day or in the summertime) or you can dry it in the drying machine. Throw a couple tennis balls or dryer balls in the machine with the jacket to continue working out clumps.

Set the dryer on a low heat setting for twenty minutes. Every time the cycle is up, come in to check on the down by pulling it out, working the clumps again, and putting it back into the dryer to continue drying. Repeat this process until the jacket is completely dry. It's a long and tedious process, but it's definitely worth it to have a clean and fresh jacket to wear all winter long.

If You Have A Wool Coat...

If you are trying to washing wool or a wool blend in attempt to avoid the dry cleaning, it's best to keep it out of the machines and try to treat spots and steam wrinkles out instead. Wool will shrink or felt up in when washed in the machine, so it's best to steam clean a wool coat.

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