Washing a sleeping bag

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Washing a sleeping bag

Postby slug » Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:04 am

Gday all, another query,

I recently spent a fairly chilly night in my sleeping bag. It has never let me down before, however ive often had a few drinks or have slept in trackies or the like. The other night I just couldn’t stay warm. On thinking about it I the warmth of the day im worried because it has spent a bit of time in its bag it has lost its loft. I know you should hang them up or at least store in a pillow case so they don’t bunch up but it usually gets used every few months so thought its be ok.

So my question, is washing it going to bring it back to its former glory? I don’t really want to because I know washing a sleeping bag is a bit of a pain.

Any thoughts?
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Re: Washing a sleeping bag

Postby GypsyLady » Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:09 am

You don't say what the fill is...if it is a polyester or synthetic of any description then a gentle cycle in the washing machine should be fine.

My only hesitation would be if it was wool.

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Re: Washing a sleeping bag

Postby slug » Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:45 am

Ahh yeah sorry, im sure it’s a synthetic of some sort. A Roman brand.
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Re: Washing a sleeping bag

Postby GypsyLady » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:08 am

Then a gentle cycle in the washing machine should be fine. I don't know if it will restore it to its former glory but it certainly will be cleaner & fresher.

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Re: Washing a sleeping bag

Postby Little Kopit » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:25 am

Well, I learned the hard way with an artificial insulation jacket.

You have to use a machine that tumbles, not one that has a central vertical agitator. A vertical agitator tears the insulation into strips. I trek out to the commercial outfits 2x a year. I use sleeping bags as comforters. & yes, they get restored, but it takes ages going through the dry cycles. The shop attendant gives me tips on what to do to take less time. You want at least one shirt or 1 pair of jeans to dry with the bag.

& if you do two sleeping bags, 2 dryers!!!!


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Re: Washing a sleeping bag

Postby slug » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:45 am

[quote="Little Kopit"]Well, I learned the hard way with an artificial insulation jacket.

You have to use a machine that tumbles, not one that has a central vertical agitator. A vertical agitator tears the insulation into strips. I trek out to the commercial outfits 2x a year. I use sleeping bags as comforters. & yes, they get restored, but it takes ages going through the dry cycles. The shop attendant gives me tips on what to do to take less time. You want at least one shirt or 1 pair of jeans to dry with the bag.

& if you do two sleeping bags, 2 dryers!!!!


You mention needing something in with the sleeping bag when drying it, does this help it somehow? Have you tried hand washing in a bath tub or similar and just letting it “drip dry”?
If it takes going to a laundromat it should be worthwhile if it brings it back to its old self!

Thanks
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Re: Washing a sleeping bag

Postby Little Kopit » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:23 am

You need a machine to get the camping out of it. As I say I use sleeping bags as comforters. I think I put my head to pillow only when I'm clean. Yet somehow, the dirt gets into the bag. Hand washing doesn't do that. When I'm camping, I can't claim to always be so beaut.

& hand washing doesn't do the tumble dry of one of those big commercial dryers.

The only thing that might do it would be winds of 70 km or higher, maybe.

What I do is just take what I have to wash off to the laundry that week and that keeps me busy. I also take reading matter. Sitting around a laundromat is something only do 2x a year or if I take a goodly camping trip

I don't know what you paid for yours, but I paid $90.00 CA$ when I got them maybe 10 years ago. They're almost like new, the 3 I have. Of course, I rotate them, but I also have them for company when company comes. FWIW my source is Mountain Equipment Coop http://www.mec.ca, one of the best of it's kind around. To me, I don't find gear like that all the time and it's worth looking after.

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Re: Washing a sleeping bag

Postby Komodo » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:29 am

I air out my sleeping bags - but a cotton liner (or better still a silk liner) will make your sleeping bag more effective. Plus it gives you options for those hot nights.
A cotton liner will increase your thermal rating by roughly 3 degrees and a silk one roughly 6 degrees.

ie sleeping bag rated at 0 degrees with a cotton liner is now roughly rated at -3 degrees
with a silk liner that makes it -6 degrees
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Re: Washing a sleeping bag

Postby Poodle Jewel » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:29 am

I have washed mine in the machine but then just thrown over the clothes line and let the breeze blow through it,no problems.
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Re: Washing a sleeping bag

Postby GypsyLady » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:41 am

I would not under any circumstances be recommending putting the sleeping bag into a tumble dryer...especially not a synthetic one....or wool for that matter either.

It would be a clothes line job just as PJ suggested.

I imagine this is something you would be doing at home and not when on the road or camping.

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Re: Washing a sleeping bag

Postby Little Kopit » Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:02 am

Always tumble dry. I talked about this with MEC over the problem I had with the jacket and again re. the sleeping bags. A good laundry with a paid attendant is also a very good idea.

I must say, though MEC is mostly mail order for people like me who don't live in larger cities, the people on the phone know the products. An outside clothesline just wouldn't do the same fluffing job.

I have been stuck re. 'the jacket'. I'd gotten it really dirty shoveling 'snow' out of my truck when the truck bed outside had lots of road stuff on it. I'd rinsed the jacket before heading to one laundry. Their tumble machines were down. I was stuck with doing it all by hand. There is no comparison between that and a drying in the tumble dryer at a good laundromat.

Yes, I always use a sheet with my sleeping bags. The camper has its flannel and its cotton sheets. The house has it's set. That's part of being more or less packed to go. In late fall, say to -5, I will go camping and skip the inside heat for the camper. 1 sleeping bag for under me and one over me. & if it's really going to be down there temp wise, then take the 3rd sleeping bag. Plus, you remember 'Twas The Night Before Christmas "Ma in her kerchief and I in my cap". It's quite cozy. i'd rather that than a mummy down bag.

But down I deal with the same way.

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Re: Washing a sleeping bag

Postby Young Camping Family » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:52 pm

::() I for one would NOT put a sleeping bag in a tumble dryer. Maybe the outsides are made differently in US/Canada - cos I know my parent's had some old sleeping bags that were only cotton on the outside - but the only ones I've ever seen for sale here in the past 10 years have a satin-ish/nylon material on the outside that would, to my mind, melt/warp in the heat of a tumble dryer.
I washed some old sleeping bags last week that I got from MIL and after a wash in the front loader I just draped each one over the backs of a couple of kitchen chairs (we don't have a clothes line). They came out fine!
Also it sounds like your laundromats are different to ours - I've never seen one that is manned, and all of the machines in there are commercial washers and dryers which if anything are harsher on your clothes (and the dryers get REALLY hot!).

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Re: Washing a sleeping bag

Postby slug » Wed Apr 01, 2009 1:14 pm

I checked out the care instructions on the label and it says you can use a front load washer and a warm cycle on a dryer. Alternatively you can also wash in a tub of some sort and it recommends drying while on a flat surface which I assume would take ages!
This is on a Roman sleeping bag, synthetic type filling. I’m going to email them to see what else they say, particularly in regards to “re-lofting” it as this is what im more concerned about than cleanliness!!
:roll:
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Re: Washing a sleeping bag

Postby Derek Bullock » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:28 pm

slug wrote:I checked out the care instructions on the label and it says you can use a front load washer and a warm cycle on a dryer. Alternatively you can also wash in a tub of some sort and it recommends drying while on a flat surface which I assume would take ages!
This is on a Roman sleeping bag, synthetic type filling. I’m going to email them to see what else they say, particularly in regards to “re-lofting” it as this is what im more concerned about than cleanliness!!
:roll:


Kids trampoline is the way to go if you want to do that. I always hang them on the line though.

I have the big Fisher & Paykel washing machine and have always washed sleeping bags and doonas on the gentle cycle with cold water only. Never had any tearing or bunching of the inners.

I believe LK is talking about the big commercial dryers in Laundromats. On a warm, not to hot cycle you wouldn't have any problems with drying a sleeping bag. Whatever you do, don't use a very hot cycle. Also the little home dryers don't tumble large items, they roll them and this is not good and will cause you some grief.

My sleeping bag, king size single with a hood, is about 15 years old now and as good as gold. the filling is a blend of hollow polyester fibre and it has been through the washing machine several times a year.
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Re: Washing a sleeping bag

Postby Little Kopit » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:41 pm

Derek, you're right. I am talking commercial dryers.

& there are laundromats that combine businesses, ie. hair stylist and tanning salon (these are for those who will use airmiles to head to sunny climes in winter, ie. Carribean, maybe Oz, too). Then too, they take in laundry to do. & the attendant does it. Do I need to say that a lot of the drop the laundry off customers I've seen have been guys.

But never mind how they become staffed, it's a trend I have found very helpful for these items. The one in my new-to-me residence this year seems to be owned by a store which sells washing machines. Anyway, when I asked the attendant where to find a washer-spinner for home, she gave me the phone # of the store owner.

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