How to wash a Rafiki down jacket? If you are wondering about the right way to wash your feather jacket, what detergent to use and whether to air dry or tumble dry? You can find all the answers in a new article from the "HowTo" series on Rafiki blog. Check it out!
Whether you decide to try our men's down jacket FUEGO or women's MORENA - the warmest insulating Rafiki jackets, which we have honestly filled with high quality and certified duck feathers with a fill of 650 cuin. Or you'll get the urge to throw on yourself the new technical-sport down jackets from this autumn collection 2023: the NEVIS (for girls) and GLEN (for boys). Or you're a die-hard or a winter-proof passionate climber, so the FLYNN II (girls) and FITZ (boys) climbing down jackets are just the right choices for you...
Our collection offers a wide range of down jackets to choose from. However, before you make a decision, it might be useful to learn about the proper care for such jackets. This will help you understand what to expect, what benefits to look forward to, and most importantly, how to maintain the jacket's quality over the years, especially if you plan to use it for outdoor activities like climbing.
What do you learn from this article? We'll advise you on how to treat your jacket so it retains its fluffiness. How to wash a down jacket? How and where to dry it? Which detergents are the best and what to look out for?
So let's dive into it!
Certainly, you don't need to wash a jacket as frequently as your underwear or socks. If your jacket is just a little dirty and you find a sweaty or dirty spot, you can clean it with a sponge and any natural soap.
Washing down jackets is no alchemy and no complexities are needed. You just need to treat your clothes gently and follow the correct laundry procedure, as well as the subsequent drying.
The same rule applies here as for climbing itself: you just have to go "step by step" and above all have the right "beta"!
1) First, empty the contents of all pockets and don't forget the inner pockets as well. You probably already have your climbing shoes out and you don't let them "smell" in your jacket, but even so, sometimes you find any forgotten tape, patch, cap or a neck scarf. After emptying the pockets, fasten all the zippers you can find on the jacket (YKK, Velcro, etc.).
2) Choose a suitable and gentle program. Today, the automatic washing machine will offer you so many programs that even Adam Ondra in the "Silence" in Flatanger cannot come up with so many. For simplicity: just choose the program without spinning. The ideal temperature would be 30 °C.
3) Use gentle detergent without fabric softener. On the market, you will find a large and wide range of detergents designed precisely to wash insulated feather clothing. For inspiration, you can look at the Grangers Down Wash product or the entire washing set - Grangers Down Wash Kit, which also includes "loft recovery balls" (more on those later).
4) After finished washing and rinsing, just drain the water from the drum of the washing machine.
5) Pull out a down jacket and gently rub it with your palms several times (this will be a perfect exercise for your strong climbing fingers). In no case, do not wring the jacket with the classic "twist in the opposite direction", but just shake it slightly.
6) Spread the washed jacket on the floor on a towel and cover it with a second towel. Then press the jacket carefully to squeeze out any more excess water.
To ensure that the down jacket still retains its "loft" (airiness) and that is not "crushed" or crumbled in only one part, you must also dry the washed jacket properly. You can use standard air drying or the more modern tumble drying. And how exactly do you do that?
The first assumption for a perfect drying process is to lay out the jacket in a well-ventilated area. You can use ordinary clothes dryers on which you spread the jacket horizontally instead of hanging it downwards. During the drying process, keep in mind that the jacket needs to be shaken and turned regularly and repeatedly to ensure that all areas are dry. Don't forget about the sleeves and the hoodie.
If you are drying your jacket outside (in the summer), choose a suitable place to dry, preferably somewhere shaded. It is important to avoid drying in the sun. If you are drying the jacket at home, do not put it on the heater or any other direct heat source. The feathers could over-dry and start to break after easily.
How about the dryer? Two simple rules: dry at a very low temperature (max. up to 30°C) and add special balls inside the dryer, which will help the feathers to be distributed more evenly and fluff better. You can use, for example, classic tennis balls or even special balls for drying "hedgehogs".
After removing it from the dryer, shake the jacket again and let it cool down briefly. Although drying with a drying machine is significantly faster, we still recommend that you do not immediately put the jacket in the wardrobe, but rather leave it spread out in the air in a horizontal position.
Better always check the labels on the clothes before the actual washing process (if you haven't already cut them off). Follow the indicated symbols. For a basic overview of all symbols as well as their detailed explanation, check out the article on the RockPoint blog: Symbols for washing and maintenance.
The most important piece of advice is the already mentioned selection of the right washing detergent. If you use regular washing powder, you could destroy or remove the natural fat layer that occurs on the feathers, which would make them lose their ability of thermal insulation. And you don't want that! Why else would you buy a down jacket? Feathers are primarily intended to insulate you and keep all your body heat inside. If you remove the fat-insulating layer by careless handling during washing, you will feel it very quickly at outdoors.
Don't forget to regularly shake the jacket during drying. Whether you use the classic method of drying in the air or even a drying machine. After washing, empty spaces form in the jacket, because the feathers fall off in some parts and it needs to be put back "nicely in its place" all over the inside of the jacket. The down jacket dries for at least two to three days, so regular shaking will ensure that your feathers don't get moulded.
As soon as you wash the jacket, whip it up again in your vertical adventures in the mountains and the rocks or wherever it takes you! And after that? Repeat the whole process with joy again!