Washing And Drying Down Jackets At Home?

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I’m looking at buying a combined washer/dryer (no space for separate) and was wondering how easily I’d be able to wash and dry down jackets at home.

Does anyone have any experience using a combined washer/dryer for this?

Is it feasible to also clean and dry sleeping bags?

Until now, I’ve been taking them to a down cleaning specialist.

 Route Adjuster 09 Dec 2022
In reply to afx22:

Always been OK doing mine (sleeping bags and jackets).  I have always bought the Down treatment (Graingers I think).  The wash is straightforward, drying needs a bit more care, you need to ensure that you do this on a low heat, slowly and then put something in the machines to bump and hit the down on each turn of the dryer - tennis balls work but if yoi buy down treatment kits they often come with some plastic spiky balls for this purpose.  These balls ensure that the down doesn't clump when drying and that it lofts well.  On a combined washer / dryer I can imagine that drying will take a long time, perhaps several attempts.  I have a vented dryer which work much quicker but it can still take a couple of cycles to fully dry.

In reply to afx22:

I tried and failed washing a down jacket. hours in tumble drier with two tennis balls and it was trashed...never recovered. I probably did something wrong but will never risk it again.

 Hardonicus 09 Dec 2022
In reply to afx22:

Watch out using a combined dryer. I had one once and manage to fark waterproof with glued seams as it used to get very hot indeed. I would be very wary of using one on a down jacket - laundrette might be a safer option.

 PaulJepson 09 Dec 2022
In reply to afx22:

I've not heard anything positive about combined washer/dryers. 

 ro8x 09 Dec 2022
In reply to afx22:

Have done it once and would do it again. Washed and left to dry out as normal on the line so it was as dry as it would get naturally. I then lobbed a load of tennis balls in the tumble drier and stuck it on a low heat and left it for 10 minutes and it was totally fine afterwards.

 Jimbo C 09 Dec 2022
In reply to afx22:

I successfully hand washed (and hand dried) one once, but you need to commit a lot of time to gently shaking each compartment regularly as it dries out.

 LastBoyScout 09 Dec 2022
In reply to afx22:

Have not had any issues washing basic down jackets in our washer/dryer.

Wash with Nikwax Down wash, extra rinse and spin. Hang up to mostly dry and then tumble dry on low setting with a couple of balls. Finish off hanging in the airing upboard and lots of gentle shaking.

Haven't yet risked it with any of my newer, more techy, down stuff, but it's not yet in need of a wash anyway.

In reply to afx22:

Thanks for all the replies.  The consensus has tipped me closer towards buying the washer/dryer.

Being able to clean my stuff at home will make me a better climber, obviously

 Snyggapa 09 Dec 2022
In reply to afx22:

Have you got room to stack a dryer on top of the washing machine or is that not practical?

In reply to Snyggapa:

Unfortunately not.  I can only dream of such lavishness.

 GeoffG 09 Dec 2022
In reply to afx22:

I've used my Hoover washer/dryer about 6 times to wash different down jackets. Same process as mentioned above. I use Nikwax Down wash on a delicates cycle. The jacket finishes very wet so I spin dry at top speed. Then leave in the machine with 3 tennis balls and a spiky ball for 2 hours on low temp dry and the jacket comes out fantastic each time.

 damowilk 09 Dec 2022
In reply to afx22:

Has anyone used one of the newer types of heat pump condenser driers to dry down? Better or worse (or the same) as traditional driers?

In reply to PaulJepson:

But there's plenty negative to say. They make small capacity expensive and unreliable washing machines, so not even good if you don't want to use the dryer. Absolutely rubbish as a dryer especially if you have more than half a load in it.

I'd rather get a washing machine than a washer dryer and dry outdoors or on drying racks about the house. I bought a combined washer dryer *once*.

For a down jacket, use Nikwax's wash and proofing according to instructions and give it a blast in the tumble dryer once air dried (if the garment can take it) in your local launderette. Can't imagine you are washing machine fulls of down jackets every week, so if this is a once in a blue moon thing, don't factor it into your washing machine decision . If you use a tennis ball in the dryer make sure nobody is around to chase you out of the launderette

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