If you do long hikes regularly it is very likely that your sleeping bag is ready for a good cleaning.
Most sleeping bags come with some washing instructions, but these are often brief and it can be confusing. If you want to make sure that your sleeping bag is thoroughly cleaned for future hiking trips, here are a few tips to help you clean a sleeping bag.
How To Hand Wash Your Sleeping Bag
Some sleeping bags need to be hand washed as they are made from synthetic materials that can be ruined if they are washed in a machine. Your sleeping bag will have a tag that says if it should be hand washed or machine washed.
If your sleeping bag needs to be hand washed, start by filling a bath half full with cold water. When the bath is half full, add half a cup of mild fabric wash. Stir the soap into the water until you can see that it is fully dissolved.
Now you can place your zipped up sleeping bag in the bath. Try to lay the sleeping bag down flat across the bottom of the bath, and then step into the bath and walk up and down the sleeping bag until every part is fully covered with soapy water. The walking will also help to work with the soap through the sleeping bag, ensuring that it is properly clean.
Leave the sleeping bag in the water for at least half an hour, and then drain the water and replace it with clean cold water. You may need to do this a few times to fully remove all of the soap water.
When the sleeping bag is clean, drain the water and roll the sleeping bag up tightly in the bath to drain away the excess water. Make sure that you don’t squeeze the sleeping bag though, as this can make the stuffing lumpy!
How To Machine Wash Your Sleeping Bag
Some sleeping bags need to be machine washed. If your sleeping bag needs to be machine washed, set the washing machine to a delicate wash with cold water, and then put your sleeping bag into the washing machine. Your washing machine may be too small; if this happens you will need to take your sleeping bag to a laundromat with a bigger washing machine.
When you put your sleeping bag in the washing machine, make sure that the bag is unzipped with the zip left halfway up. It can also be useful to put some tennis balls in the washing machine, as they will move around during the wash and prevent the stuffing from becoming lumpy.
You should also avoid adding fabric softener as this can ruin the sleeping bag.
When the wash is finished, start a second rinse cycle to make sure that all the soapy water is gone. When you are sure that the sleeping bag is clean, remove it from the washing machine and roll it up to remove water. If you are at home you can do this in the bath, and if you are at a laundromat do it next to a drain.w
How To Dry Your Sleeping Bag
Drying a sleeping bag can be a difficult task as they tend to suck up a lot of water. If you are at home you can hang the unzipped sleeping bag outside on a washing line, but make sure that the weather is good as it will take the sleeping bag a long time to dry—it could even take up to two days.
You can also wash your sleeping bag in a tumble dryer, but make sure that the tumble dryer is on a low heat as a high heat could melt the synthetic fabrics. Make sure to monitor it, and throw a few tennis balls in there too!