How to wash a down jacket

Whether you're heading out on the West Highland Way or braving Edinburgh's Hogmanay, a high-quality down jacket will keep you perfectly snug and smug. Properly cared for, a Kathmandu down jacket can last for decades. Regular washing will help your down jacket last longer and perform at its best.

Don't have a Kathmandu down jacket? Easily fixed! Browse our range of men's jackets and women's jackets. 

How to wash a down jacket:

  1. Machine-wash your down jacket on a gentle cycle at 30 degrees °C.
  2. Carefully remove your jacket and lay flat to dry on a clothing rack.
  3. Put it in the tumble drier on a low heat.
  4. Throw in two to three tennis balls, or Granger’s drying balls.
  5. Gently fluff up the down jacket.

Kathmandu Product Expert Daan Dijkstra explains the best way to wash your down jacket.


  • Machine-wash your down jacket on a gentle cycle at 30 degrees °C. If it's available, select the ‘extra rinse’ option. Use a down-specific soap or detergent.

  • Skip the spin cycle. It’s better for your jacket to drip dry and/or use a tumble dryer.


  • Soak your down jacket for up to 60 minutes in a sink with a down-specific cleaner. These usually do not contain detergents that will launder the down feathers effectively, without weighing down the loft. 

  • Rinse by lightly squeezing out excess water (don’t wring it!) and follow the drying steps below. Wringing your jacket can damage the delicate down feathers and reduce both the life of your jacket and how effective it is at keeping you warm up on the top of Ben Nevis! 


  • Once the wash is complete, carefully remove your jacket — it'll be heavy — and lay flat to dry on a clothing rack. As you do this, gently fluff up the down.

  • It will take around 24–48 hours to drip dry depending on the weather conditions. As it dries, keep giving it the occasional fluff, particularly around any wet clumps of down.

  • When the jacket is almost dry, put it in the tumble drier on a low heat and check it regularly. To maximise the loft of your down jacket, throw in two to three tennis balls. This will really help fluff up your down jacket.

Things to avoid:

Down is a tough performer against the cold, but when wet, needs a little extra attention from you. To ensure you don’t damage your jacket, here’s what you should avoid:

  • Fabric softener. Stick to a down-specific detergent for the best results.
  • A dry clean. The solvents they use in the dry cleaning process can damage your jacket.
  • A top loader with an agitator. It’s a rougher wash, and your jacket deserves a gentle hand.
  • The spin cycle. Down is heavy when it’s wet, so err on the side of caution to avoid damage.
  • Wringing. Don’t wring your jacket, no matter how heavy it is. If you must, gently shake any excess water off while supporting the weight of the jacket.
  • Use or storage of your down jacket while it’s wet. Otherwise you’ll both be wet and smelly.

Want to know more about the sustainability of our jackets? As a Certified B-Corp, Kathmandu is committed to the principles of creating a more sustainable and inclusive economy. Read about Our Footprint here.