How To Clean A Sleeping Bag

There are several ways to learn how to clean a sleeping bag. When learning how to clean a sleeping bag, it is advisable to avoid using a washing machine although some individuals may recommend it. Cleaning a sleeping bag is best done by hand in a bathtub. There are several precautions when cleaning a sleeping bag to prevent damage. Drying a sleeping bag will need to be done in a commercial dryer although the washing can be done at home.

Things you'll need:

  • Mild detergent
  • Scrub brush (not firm)
  • Access to commercial dryer (at a laundromat)
  • Bathtub
  1. Fill the bathtub. Fill the bathtub about one-fourth of the way with warm water. Avoid using scorching hot or cold water as they will not produce the best results when cleaning a sleeping bag.
  2. Prepare the water. Place a mild detergent into the water, preferably one designed for synthetics or for cleaning a sleeping bag. Consider purchasing a specialized cleaner for down at any major sporting goods store. Never use commercial grade stain removers or other strong detergents.
  3. Scrub the sleeping bag. Push the sleeping bag down into the water several times. Begin scrubbing the sleeping bag with your hands or a soft brush. Scrub the sleeping bag from top to bottom. Do not worry about small stains because it's not possible to remove every single stain.
  4. Rinse the sleeping bag. Drain the water from the bath tub. Fill the water tub will cold water and push the sleeping bag down into the water. Repeat this step three to four times until the water runs clear and all the detergent is removed from the sleeping bag. Do not attempt to wring the sleeping bag nor lift it from the water.
  5. Remove the sleeping bag. Roll the sleeping bag as you normally would. Do not wring the sleeping bag. Lift the sleeping bag out of the tub and place it in a large laundry basket or inside a large pillow case.
  6. Dry the sleeping bag. Take the sleeping bag to a laundromat. Place the sleeping bag into the commercial dryer and set it to medium-low tumble dry. Place two tennis balls and a kitchen towel inside the washer. Utilizing the tennis balls will ensure the sleeping bag fluffs and the towel will reduce static electricity and increase drying time. Prepare to allow for a total drying time of two to four hours.


  • Consider using a sleeping bag liner to reduce the need for cleaning the entire sleeping bag.
  • Never place your sleeping bag in a home dryer or in the sun to dry; both methods will cause damage.
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