down sweater/jacket care

10:21 a.m. on December 4, 2001 (EST)

My current down sweater is going on 5 yrs old and really is starting to look much older. When I compared it to my wife's 1 year old by a simmilar manufacturer the loft difference was quite noticable. I have followed what I consider normal care characteristics in that it has been stored in a large mesh sack and not compressed other than during use.
My question is this:
Does dirt and/or oil that has gotten in there (I assume some has) reduce the loft? The jacket has not been washed yet, though it has been unintentionally soaked on a couple of occasions. Should I throw it in my front loader on delicate with some nikwax down wash and then the drier on no heat? In case it helps, it's a hardwear sub zero old style without any type of water-resistant laminate. my wife's is a moonstone.
Thanks in advance for any help/opinions.

7:11 p.m. on December 12, 2001 (EST)

from what i have come to understand, yes, all kinds of oil and dirt accumulate in down bags and jackets. When this occurs, it begins to wear down (pun!) the materials at a faster rate.

Lucky you have a front loader. Wash the article first. Use Snow or other gentle soapless detergent from the grocery store, or pay big bucks for the nikwax wash. Then wash it in the nikwax treatment to restore the shells moisture repellancy. Toss it in the dryer on very low or fluff with a tennis ball. The ball will prevent clumping.

In an ideal world I would do this once a year, more if heavy use.

good luck!

May 25, 2018
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