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  1. #1
    Detail Man's Avatar
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    Washed my UQ to regain loft

    Here's something I did for gear maintenance. Just wanted to share for all the new hangers, and all those funky smelling folks I've hung with on group hangs (no names to protect the guilty). Go wash your quilts!

    My 20* Incubator is about 2 tears old and on the last couple of cool weather hangs I've not been as toasty warm as I thought I should. I knew my quilt suspension was tuned in, and always made sure to fluff the quilt before hanging it.

    This past weekend I measured only about 2.5" loft, not the advertised 3.5" for a 20* quilt. So I decided it was time to wash it. I filled the bathtub with nice warm water, used some Castille soap (just a few swishes to color the water), and washed the quilt. It took a while to get everything good and wet, massaging it to get the air out.

    I am a stickler for keeping my gear clean so the quilt didn't "look" dirty, but the water was noticeably hazy after working it around for several minutes. (The Mrs must have been right all those times about my hiker funk after a trip. ) After 5 rinses I was satisfied it was clean. All in all, I took about hour for the wash and rinses. If you try it, take care not to pull on the quilt unnecessarily. Wet down is very heavy.

    After the wash and rinse, I mashed as much water as possible out of it. Then I placed it in my washing machine, spread evenly around the agitator, and ran the spin setting for a couple of minutes to remove more water.

    Then to the dryer with tennis balls. I alternated between low heat and fluff air, keeping the quilt warm enough to dry well, but not get the fabric or shock cord too hot. Every now and then I would inspect the progress, breaking apart any clumps of down that migrated to the ends of the quilt.

    This morning I measured loft again. It's back about 3.5" where it should be. Very worth it. Can't wait to try it out again.

  2. #2
    Senior Member born2roam's Avatar
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    I might actually give that a go again.

    But then let pro's do it. Last time I did it I never got the loft back as it was but my mom wanted that wood fire from my quilt not to enter the house....

    Thanks for reminding.

    Grtz Johan
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  3. #3
    titanium_hiker's Avatar
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    yep- i need to wash my old Nest UQ- it's not as fluffy as it once was.

    thanks for the reminder!
    my hammock gear weights total: 2430g (~86oz)
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    (see my profile for detailed weights)

    gram counter, not gram weenie!

  4. #4
    Senior Member ibgary's Avatar
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    Washing is not not good for down. One more reason I now use synthetics.

  5. #5
    canoebie's Avatar
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    There are pros and cons to every alternative. I think it could be argued that washing is not "good" for anything. The cost to benefit ratio of washing down that is really "funky" has to be weighed. I have a down bag that I have been sleeping in regularly for 6 years, it is time for the benefit of the lost funk and whatever wear and tear there is will be the con. I do think there are measures one can take to minimize the impact on down so it is more usable and "fresh." Each of us makes choices based on how we view the benefits and drawbacks. I like down, it works for me.

    My wife swears by a pad for bottom insulation, I like an UQ. Point is we both sleep like the happy campers we are.
    Revolution is about the need to re-evolve political, economic and social justice and power back into the hands of the people, preferably through legislation and policies that make human sense. That's what revolution is about. Revolution is not about shootouts.

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  6. #6
    dragon360's Avatar
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    I'm curious to how frequent you would have to wash down for it to be damaging? Down seems pretty resilient to me.

    I have a few that are in need of some rejuvenation. I've held off the washing but I think its time!
    The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering. - St. Augustine

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Pipsissewa's Avatar
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    I think the potential for damage in mostly to the quilt itself, not the down (unless you don't dry the down completely = mold!). I think the baffle material and/or the seams are vulnerable to tearing, especially when wet. Just my thoughts on the subject. For the record, I wash down any time I think the article is dirty.
    "Pips"
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  8. #8

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    The issues I know about are as follows:

    All lightweight quilts/bags can be torn by improper handling with wet insulation due to the weight of the water. I would not trust any cleaner who did not routinely process whatever you want cleaned as they may not have a clue. I have met some who did things like jackets and did not have a clue.

    All insulation loses loft with the accumulation of oils off the skin. A lot of that moves with perspiration so it gets into the filler making washing a smart move.

    Synthetic insulation is often coated during manufacturing with something to stick it together and keep it together during manufacturing. Washing a synthetic new bag should lead to more loft.

    When cleaning down the problem is stripping the natural oils in the down that help it work. Solvent dry cleaning will end in very puffy down that is brittle and short lived. Water cleaning in mild cleaning agents gets the body oil but leaves most of the natural oils in the down. There is a tradeoff there that is worth keeping in mind.

    Personally I like down most of the time but am more interested in synthetics when I will be in a lot of continued damp situations like fall canoe trips where one really never gets things dried out for days at a time.

  9. #9
    Detail Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by canoebie View Post
    There are pros and cons to every alternative. I think it could be argued that washing is not "good" for anything. The cost to benefit ratio of washing down that is really "funky" has to be weighed. I have a down bag that I have been sleeping in regularly for 6 years, it is time for the benefit of the lost funk and whatever wear and tear there is will be the con. I do think there are measures one can take to minimize the impact on down so it is more usable and "fresh." Each of us makes choices based on how we view the benefits and drawbacks. I like down, it works for me.
    Well said Canoebie. With careful cleaning, the wear and tear should be minimal, if any. The pros far outweigh the cons for me.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pipsissewa View Post
    I think the potential for damage in mostly to the quilt itself, not the down (unless you don't dry the down completely = mold!). I think the baffle material and/or the seams are vulnerable to tearing, especially when wet. Just my thoughts on the subject. For the record, I wash down any time I think the article is dirty.
    This was the first time I have washed any of my quilts. I was pretty amazed at how heavy a wet quilt can be. So much water gets inside the fabric that it was actually flowing with the draining water. Ripping a baffle loose was a real concern, but being aware and taking my time, it was not a problem.


    Quote Originally Posted by nothermark View Post
    All lightweight quilts/bags can be torn by improper handling with wet insulation due to the weight of the water. I would not trust any cleaner who did not routinely process whatever you want cleaned as they may not have a clue. I have met some who did things like jackets and did not have a clue.

    The 3rd Rule at at house is: "Take care of your gear and your gear will take care of you." It's been my experience that no one will care for my gear better than I will. Gear doesn't come cheap. Why risk a delicate operation to someone without an interest in keeping your butt warm on your next hang. For me, I'm more comfortable with that responsibility being mine. This isn't to say there aren't folks out there offering an excellent service somewhere, however.

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