How to Wash a Sleeping Bag
After a long day of trekking through the woods, exploring a national park, or even just traipsing around the backyard, your sleeping bag is your source of warmth and comfort while you rest in the great outdoors. As you climb in for a good night’s sleep or for a rousing round of ghost stories in the tent, it might not be as comforting if you notice some lingering stains and odors.
Just like our comforters and sheets at home, it’s a necessity to thoroughly wash and dry your sleeping bag on a routine basis. However, because it’s made with specialty fabric and fills designed to keep you warm and dry in outdoor conditions, the care and maintenance of sleeping bags is a bit different than cleaning regular linens and bedding.
Here’s how to wash, dry, and deodorize your sleeping bags using Revivex cleaners and deodorizer—so you can confidently get back to snoozing after a day’s worth of adventures.
Besides the obvious benefit of a nice smell, cleaning your sleeping bag at least once a year will maintain its loft and performance – keeping you warm and comfortable for many nights. Whether it is synthetic or down-filled, proper care of a sleeping bag begins with a wash using the right gentle cleaner and optional deodorizer, followed by correct drying and storage at home. If you have a basic, inexpensive sleeping bag, you may even be able to use regular laundry detergent. However, always check the manufacturer’s care instructions first before washing it. Read on to learn more.
- Revivex Pro Cleaner or Revivex Down Cleaner
- Front-Loading Washing Machine or Top-Loader without Agitator
- Large Machine Dryer
- Wool Dryer Balls or Tennis Balls
Estimated Time: Wash: 1 hour | Machine Dry: 1-5 hours (down bags take longer to dry)
- Check the sleeping bag’s care instructions.
- Close all zippers. Turn bag inside-out.
- Select delicate/gentle cycle with cold or warm water.
- Add 2 fl oz (4 capfuls) of Pro Cleaner for synthetic-filled bags or Down Cleaner for down-filled bags. For extra smelly bags, add 2 fl oz of Revivex Odor Eliminator to the fabric softener dispenser, or follow the DEODORIZE instructions below to soak.
- Press start.
- Run an additional spin cycle to speed dry time. After this step, you may choose to waterproof your sleeping bag (see instructions below).
PRO TIP: Spot clean stains or dirty marks by scrubbing gentle cleaner onto the spot with a toothbrush. Repeat as needed.
- Use a large machine dryer that allows the bag to tumble freely.
- Add wool dryer balls or tennis balls to speed dry time and break-up down clumps. Dry on low-medium heat.
- Check periodically to ensure the shell fabric does not melt.
- Hang and inspect bag to be sure it is completely dry before storing.
- Once fully dry, check for “leaking” down feathers and any rips/tears. If there is leaking or the fabric is torn, use a peel-and-stick repair patch like Tenacious Tape Mini Patches.
PRO TIP: If you’re washing a synthetic bag and a large dryer or a low heat setting is not available, hang or lay the bag flat to air dry in low humidity with no direct sunlight.
Sometimes a good wash just isn’t enough to get rid of funk. Use an odor eliminator to remove stinky, persistent smells from all types of gear. Once the sleeping bag is clean, deodorize it with Revivex Odor Eliminator. It’s a gentle formula with water-activated microbes that consume odor-causing bacteria from mold, mildew, urine and sweat – so odor is gone and not just covered up.
- Revivex Odor Eliminator
- Bathtub / Large Container
Estimated Time: 10 minutes to treat, dry overnight
- Fill a tub with just enough cool water to submerge the sleeping bag.
- Add 2 fl oz of Odor Eliminator to 20 gallons of water. Stir to mix.
- Unzip the sleeping bag and submerge in solution saturating inside and out. Soak for 5 minutes then remove. Do not rinse.
- Let the bag sit for a couple hours, then follow drying instructions above.
PRO TIP: Revivex Odor Eliminator also treats odors in tents, wetsuits, dog beds and active wear. Use the solution within 72 hours of adding water for best results.
Spraying the exterior of your sleeping bag with a durable water repellent (DWR) helps prevent down insulation from becoming wet. Once wet, down-filled bags lose the ability to retain loft and heat, resulting in an uncomfortable sleep. Synthetic sleeping bags are better at keeping you warm if wet. Spraying it with DWR will further help the bag repel water and dirt. Ensure a good night’s sleep at camp by waterproofing gear with Revivex Durable Water Repellent.
Estimated Time: 10 minutes to treat
- Remove clean sleeping bag from the wash and make sure it is no longer turned inside-out.
- Treat the exterior of the bag with Revivex Durable Water Repellent. Shake can well. Spray 5-10 inches from garment in a well-ventilated area. Provide an even spray to the entire bag.
- Follow drying instructions above.
Once dry, store the sleeping bag loosely in a large cotton or mesh sack. For easier stuffing, start with the foot of the sleeping bag with the zipper partially closed. Avoid compressing your bag for an extended period as it will reduce the bag's loft or insulation.
PRO TIP: Use a pillowcase if you do not have a large mesh sack for bag storage.