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How to Wash Your Winter Jacket Like a Pro: A Complete Guide

How to wash winter jacket

When winter rolls around, your trusty winter jacket becomes an indispensable companion. It’s there to keep you warm during chilly mornings and biting cold nights.

But after a season of use, it’s likely your jacket has seen its fair share of coffee spills, slush, and snow. So, how do you go about washing it without damaging its insulation or affecting its waterproofing?

Fear not! This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about how to wash a winter jacket, ensuring it’s fresh and ready for the next cold snap.

A Definitive Guide to Washing Your Winter Jacket

1. Check the Care Label

Care Label

Before you toss your jacket into the washing machine, the first and most crucial step is to check its care label.

This will give you specific instructions tailored to the jacket’s material and construction. Here are a few common care label symbols to be aware of:

Machine Wash: A simple tub icon means you can wash the item in a washing machine without any difficulty.

Hand Wash: A hand inside the tub symbolizes that the item should only be washed by hand. Any other option other than that might harm the jacket’s material.

Do Not Wash: A crossed-out tub means the item shouldn’t be washed. In such cases, spot cleaning or professional cleaning is recommended.

2. Choose the Right Detergent

Choose the Right Detergent

Selecting the right detergent is half the battle when determining how to wash winter coat or jacket. There are so many things to consider just to make your jacket last longer after every wash.

For most winter jackets:

Use a gentle or mild detergent. This type ensures the fabric isn’t exposed to harsh chemicals that might degrade it.

For down jackets, consider a specialized down detergent. It helps preserve the natural oils in the down feathers and maintain the jacket’s longevity.

3. Prepare Your Jacket for the Wash

Prepare Jacket for Wash

Zip up all zippers and fasten any snaps or Velcro closures. This prevents them from catching or tearing during the wash.

Empty all pockets and remove any detachable items, like faux fur trims or hoods.

Pre-treat any noticeable stains using a gentle stain remover. Remember to test it on an inconspicuous area first!

4. Hand-Washing Your Winter Jacket

Hand washing winter jacket

If your care label indicates hand wash or if you simply believe in the hands-on approach, here’s a comprehensive breakdown:

Begin by filling a large basin or tub with cold water. Cold water is generally gentler on fabrics and dyes. Add a capful or the recommended amount of gentle detergent, ensuring it’s adequately dissolved.

If unsure, always opt for less detergent to avoid residue build-up on your jacket.

Once your soapy solution is ready, place your jacket into the basin, ensuring it’s fully submerged.

Gently agitate with your hands, pressing the fabric between your fingers and palms in a kneading motion. This action helps to dislodge dirt particles from the fabric.

Let the jacket soak for about 15-30 minutes, occasionally stirring it to ensure an even wash.

Note: If your jacket has specific areas that are more soiled or stained, now’s the time to address them. Using a soft brush or cloth, gently scrub the stained area in circular motions. Remember, always be gentle to avoid causing any damage.

5. Machine-Washing Your Winter Jacket

Machine washing winter jacket

Machine washing is a convenient method for many, but when it comes to your treasured winter jacket, special care is paramount to ensure it emerges from the cycle looking as glorious as ever.

Here’s a deeper dive into the machine-washing process:

Inside Out is Right: Turning your jacket inside out serves a dual purpose.

It not only shields the outer surface from direct contact with the machine drum, potentially preventing scuffs and snags, but also ensures the inner lining gets a thorough clean, which is often where sweat and oils accumulate.

Detergent Dosage: Overloading your detergent can leave residues, while using too little might not effectively clean your jacket.

Always follow the detergent’s recommended amount for a medium-sized load, and consider using less if your jacket is the only item being washed.

Choosing the Right Cycle: Opting for a gentle or delicate cycle with cold water is the safest bet. Cold water not only conserves energy but also reduces the risk of shrinkage and color fading.

The gentle agitation of this cycle will cleanse the jacket without being too harsh on its fabric and structural integrity.

Adding Fabric Softener? Think Again: It might be tempting to add fabric softener for that extra soft touch, but resist the urge.

Fabric softeners can reduce the garment’s wicking capabilities and even affect any water-resistant treatment your jacket might have.

For down jackets, softeners can flatten the down, reducing its insulating properties.

Load Size Matters: Your winter jacket needs room to swish around and get cleaned properly. Overloading can restrict movement, leading to an incomplete wash.

As a thumb rule, if you’re washing a bulky jacket, let it take center stage in the drum. For lighter jackets, you can include one or two similar items.

6. Drying Your Jacket

Drying winter jackets

Drying your winter jacket is a pivotal step where many often falter. While it might be tempting to wring out the wetness, it’s crucial to resist this urge as it can deform the jacket.

If opting for a tumble dryer, especially for down jackets, tossing in a couple of tennis balls can work wonders; they bounce around, breaking up wet insulation clusters, ensuring an even dry.

Always set your dryer to low heat, as high temperatures can shrink or even melt certain fabrics, and might harm the insulation.

For those who prefer air drying, spread the jacket flat on a clean towel in a shaded area, avoiding direct sunlight that can fade its color.

While hanging might seem convenient, it’s best avoided, as the weight of the wet jacket can stretch it out, altering its shape.

With proper drying techniques, your jacket will be ready to brave another winter, looking and feeling as good as new.

7. Storage Tips

Storage Tips

Even after cleaning, the way you store your winter jacket can determine its longevity and performance.

Besides hanging or laying it flat, consider using garment bags to protect against dust and pests.

Remember, the storage space’s humidity level is crucial; too much moisture can lead to mold or mildew, so always aim for a cool, dry environment.

Investing in dehumidifiers or moisture-absorbing packets can be a game-changer.

The key is ensuring your jacket remains breathable, safeguarded, and ready for the next season.


Knowing how to wash a winter coat or jacket properly can extend its life and ensure it remains as protective as the day you bought it.

Remember, the key is always to check the care label and be gentle. Your winter companion will thank you with years of warmth and comfort.

Also, Check out our Men’s Winter Jackets | Women’s Winter Jackets

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