Sleeping bags are a lightweight and portable beddings for those who go for hiking, camping and hunting very often. The adventurous trips are most of the time messy and it’s inevitable that yours will get dirty.
Sleeping bags are just like our beddings and therefore it becomes essential to keep them neat and clean. Washing them safely is very important as they are the ones which will provide you a comfortable sleep after a long adventurous day during your getaway.
It is not only important to maintain the quality of the bag but no one would ever like to sleep in a dirty and smelly bag.
Basically, there are two types of sleeping bags: synthetic filled and down filled and believe it or not, they are extremely easy to wash if you have a proper know how.
The washing and caring of the sleeping bags totally depend on the type of bag you own. Washing a down filled bag requires proper care and special attention whereas synthetic ones are comparatively easy to wash.
Outlined below are some of the tips and tricks which can help you to safely wash and clean your camping bag with ease:
Use a Vacuum Cleaner
A vacuum cleaner can only help you to extract the dirt, dust and unwanted particles from your sleeping bag.
Using a vacuum cleaner plays a small but important role in eliminating the impurities from the sleeping bags. Such impurities can cause allergies and even some respiratory illness.
Spot Cleaning Your Sleeping Bag
If your sleeping bag is not extremely dirty and if there are just a few spots here and there, do a spot cleaning. Do not give it a full wash if it is not really necessary. This is because washing your sleeping bag regularly can cause some wear and increase the chances of reducing the fluffiness of the bag.
In the spot cleaning process, you can prepare a paste of a non-detergent soap along with water and use a toothbrush to clean the shell of the bag properly. The hood and the collar of the sleeping bag can be the dirtiest areas as the oil from skin and hair build up there.
Clean a Sleeping Bag in a Washing Machine at Home
The thing to note while opting for a machine wash for your sleeping bag is to use a big front loader washing machine. DO NOT use a top loader machine with a central agitator because it can damage your sleeping bag. Therefore using a regular washing machine with a front loader is advisable but you can also use a top loader washer as long as it doesn’t have an agitator.
Normally, synthetic sleeping bags are easier to wash in a machine when compared to the down sleeping bags.
- Before putting your sleeping bag in the washing machine run a rinse cycle on your washing machine, in order to remove the residue of soap from the previous use.
- If your sleeping bag has a waterproof cover on the top then turn it upside down as the nylon shells and fluffiness of the bag can be affected during machine wash.
- Make certain that the sleeping bag is zipped when you wash it.
- While washing your sleeping bag in a machine ensure that you use warm or cool water with a non-detergent soap. Normal day to day detergents can hamper your down sleeping bags.
- In order to maintain the balance of the front loader machine add some of your clothes like towels, t-shirts etc.
- It is also advisable that you rinse your sleeping bag twice in order to remove all the soap residues from the bag. Run it for the second time in the washing machine, but only use the wash and rinse cycle.
What NOT to do when you wash your sleeping bag:
- Do not dry clean a sleeping bag. Chemicals used in this cleaning process can remain inside your sleeping bag and can cause allergic reactions, irritation of your skin, or significant physical injury.
- It is not safe to wash a sleeping bag in a top loader with an agitator because it can rip it apart. However, washing the sleeping bag in a top loader with no agitator it is ok.
- Do not use bleach or bleach replacement solutions and never use softener. It will do more harm than good.
- Be super careful when you take out the bag from the washer because is soaked with water and the weight can rip it apart.
Hand Washing In a Bath
If you have decided to wash your sleeping bags with hands then you will require a bathtub to soak it.
- So before you start filling up the bathtub with warm water, rinse it first.
- Before adding the sleeping bag in the bathtub you can add a mild soap in the bathtub and mix it properly until it is dissolved.
- Place the sleeping bag completely zipped as flat as you can in the bath.
- Once you submerge it in the bathtub, leave it for an hour or so in order to remove the dirt and other impurities.
- It’s advisable that you remove all the dirty water from the bathtub and refill it again with fresh water.
- Rinse your sleeping bag properly with fresh water.
- TIP: with your bare feet walk down on the bag in order to remove the residue of the soap.
- Once your bag is free from the soap residue, remove all the water from the bathtub. The sleeping bag will be waterlogged and it is very important to remove all the excess water before you take it out.
- Be very careful when you take out the bag from the bathtub. The bag will be heavy with all that water and the weight can damage it.
Drying Up Your Sleeping Bag After Washing
- While drying up your sleeping bag set the dryer on the lowest possible setting. There are chances that the fabric or the synthetic material in the sleeping bags can melt on high heat. Read the manufacturer instructions beforehand.
- Air drying it, unzipped, suspended on a washing line or leave it outside until all the water evaporates.
- Do NOT place your bag in a place with direct sunlight.The sun can damage the shell fabric of your bag. Safely put your bag in a shaded area.
- Before you actually place the sleeping bag in the storage bag, ensure that it is completely dry.
TIP: If you use a dryer then add two or three tennis balls or some clean sneakers inside. It will help restore the loft of the bag.
How Often Should a Sleeping Bag Be Washed
Washing of your sleeping bags completely depends on the type and on how often are you using them. I have more than one for different occasions and situations and some of them have never been washed. I just giving them an appropriate airing and it’s all they ever need.
Consider washing yours if it starts to smell. Keep in mind that repeated washing can damage and reduce its efficiency. Follow the manufacturer instructions or the directions on the label.
It becomes important to a give a wash to the sleeping bags in order to maintain its high efficiency. It doesn’t matter how costly and best quality sleeping bags you purchase, its maintenance is completely in your hands.