Can you wash your Canada Goose or other expensive down coat? That was the question I had after years of paying for a dry cleaner to do it. So I chucked it in my washing machine and I can tell you yes. Yes you can wash a down jacket at home. Read on.
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One of my earliest memories, although I have no idea how old I was, is of me standing in the front hall of the house I grew up in getting bundled up to go outside on a cold winter day.
Standing there in my coat, boots, snow pants, mittens, and hat, so protected against the weather I was more like a stuffed animal than a human. Arms and legs locked into place by stuffed mounds of nylon, dacron and scratchy wool. The final step before going out into the kind of cold that makes your nostril hairs freeze in place, was the doing up of the coat.
This step normally went well, but if Betty was in a hurry to get me out of the house she'd grab onto the zipper and tug it up fast and hard. If I looked down at the wrong moment the zipper teeth would chew into my chin leaving me screaming and my chin scarred.
That chin scar was how you could tell the kids of all the mothers on the street that had a job, soap opera or drink to get back to. Those kids had the tribal scarring of a tiny red welt on their chin all winter long.
As a kid, my coats were never down filled. They had some kind of revolutionary 70's era pillow filling in them that mainly kept you from getting wet as opposed to cold.
Now my two main winter coats are down filled. The first one, is a white, down filled inexpensive coat known as The Upper East Side coat in New York. Because .... everyone on the Upper East Side owns one. I got mine on Amazon and you can too. They aren't as cheap as they were a few years ago but if you buy the coat in the *summer* the price on it is always lower than it is in the winter.
The second one is a Canada Goose "Resolute". This Canada Goose has been my go to Canadian winter coat for the past 13 years. The Canada Goose coats are the warmest coats known to mankind. They were "the" coat to own if you worked in television and shot outside.
The only problem is … you have to dry clean it.
I have a thing about dry cleaning. I hate it. It isn't the price, it's the pain.
I realize it doesn't take that much time and it's really no harder than filling up your car with gas, but I hate that too, so I guess it all makes sense.
Can you wash a down jacket in the washing machine?
I'd been washing a different down coat in my washing machine and dryer for years. It was a white coat that got filthy after about 5 wears. And THAT down coat said you could machine wash it, so I did and it always came out perfectly.
For some reason, the Canada Goose coat says dry clean only. So for 10 years I watched my beautiful red Canada Goose coat get dirtier and grungier and filthier. I dry cleaned it a few times but figured there had to be an alternative. I looked online to see if anyone had washed their coat in their home washing machine but couldn't find anyone who had.
I guess the $1,300 price tag on the coat is enough to stop anyone from taking the risk.
Unable to stop myself any longer, and unable to wear the coat because of the bizarre black/grey/red colour it had become, over the Christmas holidays I said a little prayer, removed the fur collar (it just unzips), and stuffed my $800 when I bought it, currently $1,600 Canada Goose coat into my washing machine.
How to wash a down jacket at home.
My Canada Goose coat washed perfectly in the washing machine. Perfectly.
Here however, are my disclaimers.
1. If you wash your Canada Goose coat in your washing machine you void the warranty.
2. If you let your coat get as dirty as mine was it might take several washes as well as working in a bit of stain remover. (I had to wash my coat a total of 4 times, using various stain removers in between to get it clean. I started off with the "delicate/hand wash" cold cycle to be safe then gave up and went full force with a regular wash with warm water.)
3. To dry it, you need to add a few tennis balls or dryer balls into your dryer to help smash the down and let it fluff up. Do NOT try to air dry a down coat. It needs to go in the dryer.
4. It will take around 7 hours to fully dry. That's your dryer running for 7 hours straight. Just so you know.
5. I'm not responsible if your Canada Goose coat happens to fall apart if you wash it and you're forced to wear leg warmers, a snood and oatmeal mittens to keep warm. Not. Responsible.
Having said that, I can tell you I will never dry clean my Canada Goose coat again. I'll be washing it in my own washing machine at the end of every season while I fondly finger the tiny scar in the middle of my chin.
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She is correct! I’ve purchased down pillows at tag sales of which they were getting rid of them because they were dirty. I threw them in the wash with oxiclean, let them soak some, then washed. They turned out lovely. Also, if you place a clean dry towel in the dryer with any wet clothes or down items, they dry twice as fast as expected. If you have something large and very wet after washing like a duvet, down coat or pillow I’d add two large, clean towels to absorb even faster. I love your posts & writing style Karen.
Just learned something new about adding dry towels to speed up the drying process! Thank you!
Congrats on your beautiful clean coat! and thanks for sharing your thoughts with us .
My mother was always worried about washing down jacket at home always told me. The house washing is not cleaned correctly, and the jacket weighs so much that it is not easy to lift. But since I have read your steps, I have had a wave of hope. May God makes it work, and I surprise my mother. May God grant you a great reward
My Canada Goose is white, so my concern is that the black lining might run into it or that the red label on the arm might run? Did you find these areas colour fast on your red coat? Thanks, Sarah
Hi Karen, I'm going to do this! I have washed other down jackets with no issue, so here I go. My coat is white and so dirty because I also have a thing about dry cleaning. I do have one question, did you turn your coat inside out first? I read another post that suggested this, but think that this might expose the more delicate interior to too much heat. Wondering about your thoughts on this. Thank you, Meanie
HI Melanie. I did not turn my coat inside out. :) ~ karen!
I have a red Expedition model of Canada Goose. Super warm!! The fur on the hood is not detachable (!). I’m trying to find someone (anyone) who has either accidentally or mistakenly washed real fur trim to share what the outcome was. Any thoughts?
I'd go to a thrift store to see if you can buy an old cheap fur collar and wash it! And then report back. :) ~ karen!
Regarding fur: besides getting tangled or snagged, I think the main issue with washing real fur is that it is of course attached to animal skin, which is basically leather, so heat or excessive soaking can dry it out. Yesterday, I did hand-wash the detachable coyote fur ruff from my 8-year-old Canada Goose parka and it turned out beautifully! I filled a sink with tepid water and a tiny bit of laundry detergent and added the ruff, gently squeezing it while it soaked for a couple of minutes. I then drained it and did the same thing in fresh water, and then carefully squeezed out what I could before laying it on a towel.
I rolled it up in the towel very tightly to help dry it, then immediately unrolled it and, holding each end of the zipper, I shook the ruff up and down as quickly as I could to shake out extra water and help fluff the fur back up. Then I laid it on my glass dining table, repeating the shaking motion a few times until it was dry, which only took a few hours.
Once dry, I brushed it gently with a very soft brush and, voila! Beautifully fresh and clean.
I wouldn't wash every down coat as some of them have leather trim or appliques, but I've washed my black Canada Goose Citadel parka a couple of times thanks to this post. I turn it inside-out when transferring to the dryer and include wool dryer balls and it puffs up beautifully!
That's the nice thing about having an old coat - you don't mind trying out "crazy" things like ignoring the label and just washing it LOL
It's also the nice thing about owning an old house, lol. Glad you're keeping your coat clean. :) ~ karen!
FYI there is a Canadian brand Toboggan that makes wonderful down parkas for a fraction of the cost of Canada Goose. That being said I’ve only had it for 3 years but it’s wonderful I am so warm (I live in Alberta). The fur is faux but often remove the fur anyways.