Down jackets are known for their warmth, not their easy clean-up. Cleaning a down jacket requires careful washing in warm water and proper, gentle drying with dryer balls to prevent damage to the coat.
New down jacket owners often find themselves damaging their jackets with improper care. Unfortunately, unlike cheaper synthetic coats, down jackets do not handle a rough cycle through the washer.
Keep reading to discover the best, safest ways to maintain your down gear and enjoy this simple guide on how to wash a North Face down jacket!
- North Face jacket
- Washing machine & dryer
- Mild powder detergent
- Tennis balls or dryer balls
Why Do The North Face Down Jackets Need Regular Washing?
Most people don’t wash their coats enough, regardless of their material. Let’s face it; coats get shoved in closets and worn around for months before they see a single wash cycle. But down jackets and waterproof technical clothing needs regular washing to function well.
There’s a simple reason down requires regular washing: washing down keeps it fluffy, which keeps the wearer warm. The loft (essentially, the fluffiness of feathers) creates thousands of tiny air pockets that trap heat. But, loft only works if feathers stay fluffy and separated.
Additionally, most North Face down jackets come treated with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) layer. This DWR layer prevents water from seeping into the down, keeping the feathers fluffy and the loft functioning.
When DWR layers get dirty, the membrane that prevents water from leaking into the coat stops working. Because of this, DWR-treated coats require regular washing to keep the membranes clean and keep the waterproofing functioning.
North Face Down Jacket Washing Instructions
When it comes to washing a North Face down jacket, it’s crucial to do so carefully. Down jackets are sensitive and easily damaged, as well as costly to replace.
Make sure to follow these steps carefully to keep your insulated jacket in good shape and looking clean!
Empty all of the pockets in your North Face jacket and make sure there are no loose materials or objects. An everyday object like lipgloss or lotion can severely damage the loft of a down jacket if it goes through the wash with the coat.
Do not utilize a top-loading washing machine with a central-mount agitator. Top-loading washing machines without agitators are less likely to damage down, but the North Face recommends using a front-loading machine to wash down coats.
Keep all zippered pockets unzipped, but close up all velcro pockets to prevent wear and tear to the velcro.
Set the washing machine to a gentle, warm water cycle. It’s important to wash down coats alone, without any additional clothing articles.
The gentle cycle is important in preventing any damage to the fabric of the jacket. You should also use a powder detergent to clean the down jacket.
Now that the jacket should be perfectly clean and looking new, the next step is to dry it properly. Dry the down coat on tumble-dry without high heat to evenly distribute the loft of the jacket.
Throwing in a couple of dryer balls will help remove any excess water while drying. It’s also useful since it will speed up the drying process.
Another option if you’re unsure about using the dryer is to hang the jacket and let it slowly dry overnight.
How Often Should You Wash A North Face Down Jacket?
A good rule of thumb is to wash a North Face down jacket at least once a month when in use. However, down jackets need cleaning more often when worn during activities that expose them to more dirt, chemicals, and other DWR clogging materials that will stay on the fabric.
Down jackets used for skiing, camping, or other outdoor activities generally require washing immediately after the trip or at least once a week if the activities occur regularly. However, if you aren’t confident that the jacket needs washing, there’s no harm in giving it a cleaning to be safe.
Check out my full guide here on removing stains from your North Face jacket!
Tips For Washing Your Down Jacket
Down jackets are picky when it comes to their care, but you can get a better lifespan out of the coat by following some of these care tips:
Reapply DWR Frequently
The DWR of down jackets can wear down over time. The good news is, you can reapply it with the use of a DWR detergent. The most common option available is the Nikwax Down Proof.
Add Tennis Balls To the Dryer
Using tennis balls or dryer balls in the dryer evenly distributes the feathers of a down coat. The better dried and distributed the loft, the warmer the jacket stays.
Down coats do not survive handwashing well. Hand washing seldom gets out the detergent well and can cause clumping in the down. Additionally, overly wet down can tear the stitching and baffles of the coat.
Never Wash Down With Everyday Clothing
Everyday clothing comes in contact with oils, chemicals, and other substances damaging to down. Wash down materials alone and separate them from regular clothing to prevent damage to the down.
Add An Extra Rinse and Spin Cycle
The better rinsed out a down jacket is, the easier and better it dries. Put the coat through an extra rinse and spin cycle to remove all of the detergent. An extra spin cycle helps to remove as much water as possible from the down.
Final Reminders For Cleaning North Face Down Jackets
Down jackets need special care to keep them in good shape. Remember to always wash your down jacket by itself in a front-loading washer.
The safest way to keep your jacket in good shape is to avoid hand washing the coat.
Finally, remember to dry your down jacket without heat on tumble-dry to fluff the down properly.