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  1. #1
    Senior Member Just swingin's Avatar
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    Might be a bad idea but....?

    So I have an old down comforter at home as well as two old military down sleeping bags, that I hope to get the down out of for some attempted underquilts. My question is would it work to dampen or wet the bags and comforter then cut them open to extract the down? I thought that after I get it out I could put it in something and run it in a dry to dry/loft the down before use?
    Last edited by Just swingin; 06-13-2013 at 13:29.

  2. #2
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    Not a bad idea at all! That's how I re-purposed the down from a sleeping bag and a jacket. They were already clean, so I just soaked them in the sink, then cut open one section at a time and gently scooped out the soggy down into a colander. I was able to salvage every bit of down without it flying around. (I also salvaged the 2-way zippers.) Then I divided the wet down into equal-looking little piles and re-used it while still wet. So much easier than drying & packaging it!

    Be careful not to squeeze wet down! You don't want to break its loft-ability!

    I prefer to harvest the down when I'm ready to use it, instead of trying to dry and package it to use later. It's easy to insert approximately equal blobs of wet down into the new UQ channels, then sew up the openings, then either tumble-dry it on the lowest setting or air-dry outside. No loose fluff to chase around the house, and when it's dry you have a new, clean down-filled UQ ready to go.

    This has worked well for me, but I'd like to know how other folks recover and re-use down from jackets, sleeping bags, etc.

  3. #3
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    That is the old way of doing it. I have done may projects that way, it cuts out most of the mess. At least two members have found a different way of managing down, that does not involve getting the down wet.

    I have gotten down wet and then put it in the new item, dried it and everything has been fine since the 1970's.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by HURTHEART View Post
    That is the old way of doing it. I have done may projects that way, it cuts out most of the mess. At least two members have found a different way of managing down, that does not involve getting the down wet.

    I have gotten down wet and then put it in the new item, dried it and everything has been fine since the 1970's.
    Yes, sometimes the "old way" still works pretty well! Occasionally I find a good quality down sleeping bag or jacket in thrift stores. It's worth the effort to wash them gently and extract the clean down.

    I remember the Frostline kits that came with lots of little clear plastic packets filled with down. They were very convenient for "turning out" just the right amount of down into each channel, but I still used a spray bottle with water, in the bathtub with the shower curtain closed, to keep the down from flying while I filled sleeping bags & jackets etc. Now I'm thinking about re-purposing the down from a bag, a comforter, and a jacket I made about 40 years ago from Frostline kits. They're "vintage" items now but the down is still quite fluffy and clean after decades of gentle care. A lofty fortune at today's prices!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Just swingin's Avatar
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    Thanks very much for the info. I hope to give this a shot in the near future. Grad school makes doing the important stuff challenging.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just swingin View Post
    Thanks very much for the info. I hope to give this a shot in the near future. Grad school makes doing the important stuff challenging.
    Don't I know it! It's been a long time since I finally broke out of the Grad Gulag, and I STILL have trouble getting to do the important things! You can do this!

  7. #7
    Pimms's Avatar
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    Good tip to wet first before and during use of the down. I would have never thought to do that and would have made a huge mess with potential loss of the precious down. Thanks for the information!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pimms View Post
    Good tip to wet first before and during use of the down. I would have never thought to do that and would have made a huge mess with potential loss of the precious down. Thanks for the information!
    Hi Pimms, When I did it the last time I got the down out of an old sleeping bag and into the new one without much mess. I cut out one section (baffle) at a time from the old one (after washing and while still wet). I put the down for that section into a plastic bag, and then transferred it to the new one. Handle it gently while it's wet so you don't break down the tiny fluff that gives it loft. If you're making something that has different size sections or baffles than the original, you could divide all your down into approximately equal portions either by separating it into equal-looking piles, or by weight as long as it's all evenly wet. Of course the actual weight of the wet stuff isn't relevant, only the relative proportions. (So, which weighs more, a pound of wet down or an ounce of dry down?! )

  9. #9
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    I did this when redistributing the down in my JCP UQ. The down was a mess regardless.

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