Written By: Maddie Liseblad
It’s Spring and that time of the year when many focus on de-cluttering and dusting their homes. However, Spring is not only the time for cleaning the house, it’s also the time for putting away heavy winter gear to make room for lighter and brighter Spring and Summer clothing. Unfortunately, putting away winter gear is not merely as easy as tossing that ultra heavy sweater into the back of the closet, especially not if you have a good quality down jacket you want to protect for future seasons. Down is a great material that will keep well for essentially a life time, if it’s well cared for.
Clean the jacket
The first step in storing a down coat is to clean it properly. Complete steps to cleaning a down coat can be found here. It’s imperative to clean the coat before storing because the longer soil remains on the jacket, the harder it will become to remove. In addition, insects and various bugs tend to be attracted to clothing that may contain food particles and body oils. So by cleaning the down coat, it has a better chance of remaining stain and bug free.
Dry, dry, dry
Once the jacket has been cleaned, it’s important to make sure it is completely dry. Keep in mind down has a tendency to absorb water and may feel dry even though it really isn’t. And wet down is a recipe for disaster in the form of mildew.
Don’t hang up, lay down
A down coat should never be hung up on a peg or a clothes hanger to be stored long term. If it is hung up for a long period of time, the down will have a tendency to settle into the bottom of the jacket’s various compartments.
The recommended way to store a down jacket is to fold it and let it lay flat. And one of the most important rules for extending the life of your down coat is to not store it compressed. While down can generally be compressed to a very small size, and thus allow for storage of a lot of items in a small area, it is not advisable. Down has a tendency to keep better if it is allowed to stay puffed up as much as possible. If down is compressed for a long time, it may not readily expand to its full potential again. So avoid space-saving vacuum-packaging solutions.
Avoid storing anything in plastic bags as they can trap moisture and thus cause mildew. This is especially important for down jackets. It is much better to store it in a breathable cotton bag as it will allow the jacket to breathe while keeping it dust-free. If a cotton bag isn’t available, a solution is to wrap the jacket in a brand new cotton sheet that has been washed. Do not to use old cotton sheets, even if they have been washed, as used sheets often contain body oils even after washing.
Once the jacket has been folded and packaged for storage, it should be placed in a clean, dry place. A location that has a moderate temperature and humidity is preferred. Avoid extremes such as a warm attic or a damp basement.