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How to wash a feather down jacket

When outdoor temps drop and the cold sets in, a feather down jacket may be one of your favorite items to keep you warm. With consistent use, day after day, a down jacket can get dirty inside and out with grime, sweat and body oils.

The good news is that you can usually clean your down jacket using a washer and dryer. Properly washing your jacket can keep it looking and smelling fresh while keeping  you warm. This guide can show you how to wash a down jacket at home, along with other helpful tips for proper care.

What is a down jacket?

A down jacket is a puffy, cold weather coat that uses a natural filling of duck, goose or a combination of these feathers to keep you warm. The down insulation creates a puffiness or loft that generates warmth by trapping air and retaining heat between the feathers. 

Some puffer jackets are made with a down filling, while others may consist of a synthetic material. Check the care label on your jacket to determine the material, proper care and cleaning instructions.

Does washing a down jacket ruin it?

Typically down jackets can be washed, although it’s important to always follow the care instructions on your garment tag. If the tag recommends washing, consider using gentle care on the delicate fabric and material. Properly washing a down jacket can help keep it looking clean and smelling fresh. 

How to Wash Down a Jacket Step by Step

How often you wash your down jacket can depend on how frequent you wear it and the activity you’re wearing it for. Are you commuting to work or climbing mountains, or both?

You may want to wash your feather down items separate from other laundry items because the type of material and the wash cycle, heat settings and care instructions may differ from a regular wash. It may require a down-specific detergent that is more gentle than typical laundry detergent. If you’re only washing a few similar items, adding a couple of towels can help keep the load balanced during the wash cycle.

Simply follow these steps to learn how to machine wash a down jacket. For more laundry tips, see how to do laundry in 8 steps: laundry 101.


  • Down detergent

  • Dryer balls (or clean tennis balls)

  • Toothbrush or sponge (optional)

  • Front load washer
  • Dryer


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Step 1: Check the care label

Before you begin, take a look at the care label for washing and drying instructions. While most feather down items are machine washable, double check and follow the guidelines on your garment tag.

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Step 2: Pretreat your jacket

Check your jacket for dirt marks and stains. Focus on more susceptible areas including the underarms, cuffs and neckline. Consult your jacket’s label for specific stain treating instructions, but common tips include gently spot cleaning stubborn stains with a down-specific detergent. 


You can use a clean toothbrush or sponge to lightly scrub the area in a circular motion to lift the stain. Tough stains may require a soak in a sink or bathtub of water. Rinse the spot thoroughly.

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Step 3: Load your laundry

Empty your pockets, fasten any zippers or buttons and turn your jacket inside out. Loosely load your down coat into a front load washing machine. If you’re washing it with other feather down items, it’s best not to overload the washer for proper cleaning. For smaller loads, consider adding a couple of towels to the wash to help balance the load.

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Step 4: Add laundry detergent

You may want to use a down-specific detergent when washing feather down items. Read your down jacket care tag for recommendations. Learn more about powder and liquid laundry detergents.

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Step 5: Set your wash cycle

Follow the care tag instructions on your down jacket for the wash cycle setting and water temperature. If possible, add an extra rinse cycle to ensure your jacket is thoroughly rinsed.


Refer to your owner’s manual for your washer’s specific cycles and settings. As always, please consult the care tag on the garment that you are washing. For more details, take a look at how to choose washing machine settings and dryer cycles


Can down jackets go in the dryer?

Your down jacket can go in the dryer only if your garment care tag recommends it. Follow the instructions as it may require an air fluff setting on your dryer. It may take a few hours. Periodically check on your jacket – open the dryer and gently shake it out to redistribute the down feathers.

Make sure it’s completely dry before removing it from the dryer. If you have any concern about it feeling damp, allow it to air dry another 24 hours. Once it’s dry, remove your jacket and hang it on a hanger.

How do you fluff up a down jacket after washing it?

If your garment care tag recommends putting it in the dryer, this may help fluff your down jacket. Dryer balls can keep your laundry from clumping together and help clothes dry faster by increasing the airflow between items.

Can you hand wash a down jacket?

If you’re wondering how to wash and dry a down jacket by hand, follow these steps.

  • Fill a large sink or bathtub with room temperature water and add down-specific laundry detergent. Spot clean your jacket, put it in the water, carefully agitate it and then let it soak for 10 to 15 minutes. 

  • Drain the water and refill with clean water to rinse the detergent from your jacket. Allow it to soak for another 5 to 10 minutes. After you drain the water, make sure that material is rinsed clean of the detergent. You may need to rinse it multiple times.

  • Gently squeeze the water out of your jacket–avoid twisting it. You can roll it up in a towel to squeeze out more water. If you air dry it, make sure to gently fluff it frequently to redistribute the down feathers.

How do you recycle a down jacket?

Instead of tossing out your old down jacket, avoid the landfill and consider recycling it. As winter approaches, look for coat drives that donate winter gear to those in need. Charities, consignment stores, thrift shops and sometimes retail stores will accept used clothing items.

Explore Whirlpool® washers & dryers

Whether washing a down jacket or keeping up with everyday laundry, Whirlpool brand washersdryers and space-efficient combos offer a wide variety of options to dream up your ideal laundry room. Browse and compare the selection of models in different sizes, styles and features to find the perfect laundry solution for your family.

Learn more laundry tips and methods with Whirlpool brand

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