How to Wash a Down Jacket at Home.

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.

Red Canada Goose Resolute parka with fur trimmed hood.

Skip right to the instructions.

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?

YES.

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.

Until now.

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.


This is how it turned out.

 

A red Canada Goose down coat on a gold mannequin with the fur trimmed hood up,

 

How to wash a down jacket at home.

Wash & dry a down jacket.

Wash & dry a down jacket.

Active Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours
Difficulty: Easy(ish)
Estimated Cost: $0

How to wash a down jacket at home in your own washing machine.

Materials

  • Down coat
  • Washing machine
  • Dryer
  • Gentle washing powder

Instructions

  1. If your coat has a removable fur collar, remove it.
  2. Apply stain remover like Resolve to any terrifying stains.
  3. Wash in the washing machine on warm with the bulky items setting if you have one.
  4. Repeat stain removal and washing if needed but remember the more times you wash the greater chance your coat colour will fade. Just like jeans.
  5. Dry in the dryer until the coat is completely dry and puffed up. This could take up to 7 hours for a large coat.

Notes

* If you wash your Canada Goose coat in your washing machine you void the warranty.

*This Resolve product in particular is fantastic.

* If you can feel any down that's squished down and not fluffed up after drying, shake the area of the coat a bit to loosen the wet down and put it back in the dryer.

* Make sure the coat is COMPLETELY dry or you'll end up with stinky damp down.

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I'm an Amazon affiliate some I get a few cents when you buy something I've linked to.

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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How to Wash a Down Jacket at Home.

130 Comments

  1. jackson says:

    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

  2. lanasmith says:

    Congrats on your beautiful clean coat! and thanks for sharing your thoughts with us .

  3. Jane Monroe says:

    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.
    Jane

  4. Rene says:

    Chin in the Zipper
    Thanks for the laugh!! So relatable….I remember those days and being that kiddo! Not sure what my mom was doing later, probably smoking cigarettes and drinking a martini while pregnant with my little sister…
    Note that: CG coat material most likely has and most outdoor jackets have a “DWR/Durable Water Repellent finish” on the surface which is applied in the fabric stage. It makes the water bead up on the surface. This finish can degrade after repeated washing and durability varies by manufacturer. There are some products out there that will boost the water repellent finish like Nik Wax; which can has a spray and a ‘wash-in ‘.
    https://www.rei.com/product/724690/nikwax-txdirect-wash-in-water-repellent-treatment-10-fl-oz

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Rene! ~karen

      • Rem says:

        Hello Karen,

        I checked in to read up on how to care for chickens and saw the
        title of this blog post and felt the holy sh!t feeling in the pit of my stomach that I felt the first time I attempted this feat.

        I have a black puffer that at retail cost just under $1,000 which I purchased for a little over $500.00. When quoted the price to dry clean it at a posh dry cleaner here in New York I decided that I would figure out how to wash it myself. So I read blog posts and watched You Tube videos and took the leap. I was nervous but I did it. (Full disclaimer I made sure that I purchased a Mackage as a backup at a sample sale here in New York just in case).

        I washed my coat by hand then semi dried it at my local laundromat with dryer balls since the outer layer is nylon. I washed it using a stain solution soap and a wool cashmere soap by the brand called The Laundress (I asked their staff for guidance and they recommended I use these). Then I air dryed it on a hanger in the warmest spot in the apartment for weeks. I make sure I do this at the height of summer in July/August so it has plenty of time to dry. I LOVE The Laundress soaps. This stuff ain’t cheap at all but IT IS WORTH IT and is highly concentrated. A little goes a long way. The women who started the brand are Ralph Lauren alum. I have washed my coat twice now and it has always turned out well. Their soaps are kind of fatty if this makes sense and so this helps to maintain the fat on the feathers instead of stripping it like your average detergent would do. I read a comment from a woman saying that after she washed her puffer it was no longer warm to wear. I think this was the cause. Mine is as warm as ever. I sure hope this helps in some way.

        Rem

  5. Susan Adamson says:

    Throwing a tennis ball or 2, not one your dog has been chasing, in The dryer with anything down filled, helps to puff it right back up!

  6. Vikki says:

    While I’ve never lived anywhere that is cold enough for a down coat (thank you God!), I have washed my down pillows again and again. I don’t do anything special about washing–just slap them in the washer on “regular” cycle. But…they are a pain to dry. It does take a long time in a dryer, so I usually wash mine in the hottest part of summer. I run them through the dryer cycle a couple of times, then I hang them in the sun for a day or two. It’s always worked out fine. The part I hate about dry cleaning is the smell it leaves.

  7. David Lee says:

    Old blog but still useful in 2020 during this Coid-19 crisis. Staying home meant seriously thinking about doing it. I have a top load washer and decided not to use it. Instead I hand wash with down detergent in the bath tub and it worked, though not as thorough.

    Into the dryer at low heat (2 out of 4) for about 2 hours timed dry.

    Now the coat smell fresh!

  8. Katie Ditchfield says:

    My CG has an attached fur hood. I brought it to the dry cleaners here in town and not one dry cleaner would touch my jacket without Having me sign a waver lol crazy right. “Who wants to pay for someone to ruin their coat, I can do that for free lol” Any-who, I just finished hand washing my coat in the bathtub with warm water & woolite baby detergent. Most of the stains came out (lime green colour jacket) thankfully.😅 I just put it in my washer on “gentle spin” to get some of the water out because damn those coats are thick (and warm). Now I have it hanging in my extra bathroom with the heat cranked and a dehumidifier next to it. Betcha it’ll end up just as good as the dry cleaners.

    • Karen says:

      Good job Katie! ~ karen!

    • Eloise says:

      How did it turn out in the end? I’m having the same problem fur trimmed hood that doesn’t detach.

    • Jane Monroe says:

      I’ve washed a coat with a fur hood trim which couldn’t be removed. Did it in cool water gentle detergent and hand wash cycle, very gentle, then dried it for about 5 minutes to puff & warm it up. Then hung it to dry near a dehumidifier, which is always running in my basement, laundry room. Turned out nice.

  9. Piers says:

    I washed mine.
    Front loader.
    Cold wash and NikWax down washing liquid.
    Dried it for 2 hours on a low heat.
    Was fine.
    And clean.

  10. Karen says:

    I washed mine and my daughters this past weekend. Hers is 4 years old and has never been washed or drycleaned. Mine is 3 years old and never cleaned. I put both in a front load washer on gentle cycle and used woolite. I dried them on medium for probably an hour followed by on hour on no heat/ air fluff. I tossed in a pair of Nike sneakers to help with the fluffing. They came out perfectly and looking brand new. Thanks so much for being the first brave soul to do this!

  11. Nicky says:

    I took the plunge and washed my white CG gilet this weekend, after sending to the dry cleaners more than ten times over the past 2 years and it constantly coming back dirty.

    It’s come out a treat – perfectly clean and looks brand new – Cant thank you enough for your fantastic helpful tips. I will be washing it myself regularly going forward.

    • Karen says:

      Excellent! But don’t wash it too much. I’d limit it to once a year. Like, just don’t go washing it after every time you wear it. ;) Well, unless you only wear it once a year I guess, lol. ~ karen!

  12. Catherine says:

    Hello Karen. Thanks for your informative posts. My daughter and I both have CG Kensington coats (mine is green, hers black). I’d like to give it a try in the washing machine and have read your instructions and also lots of comments. Does it make a difference if it is washed in a top loading or a front loading machine? I think I saw something about this somewhere on google and wondered about that.
    Thanks!
    Catherine

  13. AlexFirth91 says:

    I know this article is old but my Canada Goose which has no fur has wash and dry instructions so it depends on if a coat has fur or not. Mine says not to dry clean.

  14. Chaudhry says:

    I have Chilliwack CG. Fur cannot be remove. Can i machine wash it at home? ( I wish not to chemically treated with it which dry cleaners do in market)
    It’s been 2 year I did not wash it.

    Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chaundry! I’m afraid I can’t vouch for whether or not the fur will wash well because I haven’t done it myself. Some furs wash fine (when they have no skins attached to them usually) others do not. The only thing you can do if you’re adamant about not taking it to a dry cleaners is to hand wash one corner of the fur and see how it turns out. Good luck! ~ karen

  15. Ann says:

    Hi there – I read your post and finally washed my canada goose. It has totally lost its loft and I am very regretful that I didn’t dry clean. I’m hoping I can somehow revive it. Did you use down detergent? Did you rinse a few extra times to get the detergent out? The first time I used regular laundry soap (Natureclean) and some stain remover, and dried for a long time (maybe not quite 7 hours, but my jacket is not a thick as yours) with balls and the loft of the jacket is significantly reduced and not nearly as warm as it was. I rinsed it and washed it again in down detergent, and then dried it even longer and it is the same if not worse than it was. I don’t know if I permanently destroyed the loft by using non-down specific detergent the first time or what. Wondering exactly what your methods were?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ann! I’m so sorry to hear about your coat. The method I used is exactly how I describe it in my post. I washed it on a regular cycle several times to get it clean. I then put it in the dryer for 7 or so hours. It basically took a day to dry. If your down is all mashed down at the bottom my guess is, it isn’t dry. I did not use a down specific detergent. I used regular mild detergent. The kind you’d use to wash linen for example. I believe it was Method detergent. I have a neighbour who asked me a few weeks ago if my coat was as warm as it was the day I bought it and I said yes. I bought my coat many, MANY years ago before Canada Goose became the go-to coat. She asked because she said her coat isn’t as warm as it used to be. She has it dry cleaned once a year. My only guess is that Canada Goose has somehow changed the down they use to an inferior down as the coat has become more popular and production has amped up. However, having said that I really do think the most likely scenario for you is that the down just hasn’t dried. I’d keep it in the dryer until the loft comes back OR if you want to hurry it up, take your coat and dry it at a laundromat where they have larger, more powerful dryers. Hope that helps. ~ karen!

      • Ann says:

        Thank you so much! I will try keeping it in the dryer, though it does not feel wet or damp at all, and I’m sure I kept it in there for 5-6 hours and it is probably 1/2 the weight of yours (it is a modern CG probably rated to -20 not -40). I’m hoping that maybe there’s a residue left on it from the stain remover, and either I have to rinse it a bunch of times and then re-wash, or like you say try drying some more. I’ll post what I find!

  16. Jason says:

    what setting are you supposed to dry it on?

  17. bobbie harrington says:

    I was tired of my dirty Canada goose parka, use it for ice fishing mostly. hate the dry cleaner smell, so wouldn’t do that. today I thought I’m going to wash this coat…then thought someone online must have tried it YES, thank you so much! subscribed, too. my kind of woman…just figure it out and do it.

  18. mid says:

    looking into washing a coat and appreciate your sharing your experience! would just comment that a powder detergent should be used to not clog up “breathable” coatings, and that after a few washes, the dwr coatings should be replenished (there are spray on and wash-in products available for that). otherwise, water soaks into the material and gets the down wet.

  19. Lexi says:

    I am not sure if this has been asked, but how much soap, and what kind of soap did you use? what were your settings on your washing machine? (i have a front loader washing machine). I am interested in washing my rudsack down coat and my danier down coat in the washing machine and dryer it off (low setting? what setting did you use here too?)

    quite nervous about it, but with a family of 6, dry cleaning all those coats is a $$$$$$$ guzzler

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lexi! I think all that information is in the post, but I don’t have time to go and check through it right this second. I can tell you I used a gentle soap (like you’d use for natural fibres, started on delicate in the washing machine then washed again in regular cycle because my coat was so dirty the gentle didn’t do it. Just regular hot setting for the dryer. ~ karen!

  20. lucinda kempe says:

    Karen,

    Quick ?. I’m 5’3″ tall, 140 lbs, 34DD, slim hips, long waist. What size CG should I get? Hope you don’t mind.

    Thanks,
    Lucinda

  21. lucinda kempe says:

    Hey, this was great. Well written, smart and, my favorite thing, sassy. However, I don’t own a CG, but have been debating it and the idea of dry cleaning was a no-no. but you go, girl. Love your moxy. And style and the balls to put the sucker in the washer!

    So glad you got it clean and thanks for reporting back.

    Lucinda

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Lucinda. Yeah, I was terrified beyond belief, but it had to be done. Yup, I’ve got balls. Boobs, balls, the whole shebang. ~ karen!

  22. brittany says:

    Incase anyone is going to wash their fur based on my comment, I used downwash by nikwash from sportchek it was only 13 dollars and lasts 3 washes. I used warm cycle on delicates and extra low heat to dry with wool balls.

  23. brittany says:

    Thank you, you inspired the courage to wash my chilliwack bomber…. with the hood. It turned out amazing the fur is just as nice if not nicer than before! My jacket no longer smells like a tanning bed :)

    • Karen says:

      You’re kidding? That’s GREAT! So glad you tried washing the fur. I was pretty sure it would work, but you never know. I have no idea why your jacket smelled like a tanning bed, but I’m glad you’ve wiped it out, lol. ~ karen!

  24. LISA says:

    I just bought a CG Expedition. When I got it home I put it right on. Now I am sneezing like crazy, so I smelled the fur. It smells like mildew. Anybody know what I can do? I really like the color, you can’t get it anymore, it is pre-Bain and I am worried that the fur is not the only thing that is mildewed (could also be the down.) Any suggestions?

  25. Luci says:

    On mine, the fur on the hood cannot be unzipped, its attached. So I guess, I cannot put it in the washing machine ;-( right?

    • Karen says:

      I probably wouldn’t Luci, but I’ll tell you that I know a lot of people that do wash fur. The premise being that animals get wet outside all the time. I think the real issue would be the chemicals in the detergent you use ruining the oils in the fur (but that’s just a guess). The fur they use on these coats is coyote so you could do what I suggested to another reader which was to find a cheap coat from a thrift store that has some coyote on it and wash that to see how it reacts to the washing machine. It seems like a lot of work but it might be worth the test. ~ karen!

  26. Susan says:

    Hi Karen,I wash everything but was apprehensive with my Canada Goose Coat.I have an agitator in my washer is that ok.I saw another post and it said to use a washer without an agitator only.Thanks,Susan

    • Karen says:

      Hi Susan! I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to your question. :( I can only guarantee the results from a front load washer. I’m not sure the agitator would make a big difference but you never know. If you’re worried about it you could just take your coat to a laundromat and wash it there. They have large front load washers and it’s a lot more convenient and less expensive than taking it to a dry cleaner. Or … you could take a chance and try the agitator route. ~ karen!

      • Susan says:

        Hi Karen,my friend happened to have a top load machine without an agitator so we crossed our fingers and washed it.My black Canada Goose Trillium jacket is now restored to it original condition.Thanks so much for your post I wouldn’t have taken the risk on my own.

  27. Zoe says:

    Yes I would like to know this as well. I have a Canada Goose Chilliwack Bomber with a coyote fur hood that is not removable. Would it be ok to machine wash the jacket with a garment bag covering the hood, on delicate? Would it also be machine dryable with a garment bag covering the fur?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Zoe! I really don’t know I’m afraid. The one thing I can suggest is trying to find a vintage coyote fur collar and washing it in the washing machine on delicate and seeing what happens! In fact if I go to a second hand store in the next little while I’ll see if I can buy one and wash it so we know what happens. :) ~ karen!

    • Karen says:

      No problem. 1. I know what a horror show it is, not knowing whether to clean the coat or not and 2. It’s my job to help people figure things out. :) ~ karen!

  28. Lisa says:

    I have Expedition, red, cannot remove the furry hood. Should I assume I will ruin my coat hood if I wash it?

    • LISA says:

      So glad I just got the PBI Expedition, the fur is detachable. I really had to think about it, because I wanted a dark color so I could wear it in the city without feeling silly, but the deal-breaker is that I do not want to dry clean. I only want the Expedition, it is so warm and I finally feel like I can brave outdoor winter. I will have to get used to the bright blue jacket and people thinking I work in the Artic, but I will be warm and my coat will be washed and dried.

  29. Smiley says:

    Searched if I can wash my Dauhters Canada Goose and found your blog. Thanks for the experiment on everyone’s behalf. Glad to hear u can wash in machine- only concern I have is my daughters fur trim on her hood is not removable. Can I still wash it? Does anyone know. Thanks

  30. Charray says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Just picked up my red Canada Goose from the dry cleaner. Paid $32 for the cleaning and the arms and side are still dirty. I’ve had to send it back a couple of times in past to get it clean, but the chemicals are really hard on the fabric.

    I will say a little prayer and throw it into the washing machine. Out of curiosity, is your washing machine a drum or front loading machine? I have the latter, but wondering if I should take it to a commercial laundry washer.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charray – Let me guess. You brought the dirty coat home and thought .. pfttt … forget this. I’m gonna see if I can wash it myself, right? I had the same struggle when I was deciding whether to wash mine. I couldn’t find anyone who had done it so I sucked it up and gave it a shot. I can’t guarantee anything of course, but I’m sure you’ll have good luck with yours. Scrub the arms and side a bit with a stain remover then wash. And yes, my machine is a front loading washing machine. A small one at that! ~ karen

  31. Charray says:

    Thanks for sharing this – too bad I didn’t see it earlier. Just picked up my red Canada Goose from the dry cleaner. Paid $32 for the cleaning and the arms and side are still dirty. I’ve had to send it back a couple of times in past to get it clean, but the chemicals are really hard on the fabric.

    I will say a little prayer and throw it into the washing machine. Out of curiosity, is your washing machine a drum or front loading. I have the latter, but wondering if I should take it to a commercial laundry washer.

  32. colleen says:

    Great post – I also took the risk to wash down comforters years ago and they turn out great. Since aluminum dryer balls were mentioned above, I thought I could contribute my experience with them. I make aluminum dryer balls from my used (washed) aluminum foil – you have to compact the layers and get them as smooth as you can, otherwise I think they would just be torn apart. As a result, the aluminum balls get tumbled in the dryer and form into beautiful, shiny, spheres. Not sure if they do provide much static relief, but I live in a very dry area and don’t use dryer sheets, and my husband prefers wool socks, so there’s always some static clinging. Since the balls get extremely hard, they are extremely loud. However, my dryer is in a separate room at the back of the house, so the faint banging I hear when I walk by is handy to let me know whether or not it’s still running. They do crack after a year or so, and they tend to hide inside clothing, so I always have two or three around. I don’t use fabric softener, either, and my clothes are always nice and soft. My husband sneaks dryer sheets in once and a while, but I honestly prefer the texture (and lack of synthetic scent) with just the aluminum. Hmmm. Didn’t realize quite how passionate I am on the subject. I feel I could go on, but I’ll spare you all.

  33. roxy says:

    I have a Kanuk washable down coat that is sadly coming to the end of it’s wearable life. Great coat. *sniff* Before the Kanuk I had this fancy schmany washable white down 3/4 length coat. Washed up great…finally fell apart one day. *sad* I went looking at a Canada Goose, and the dry cleaning (chemical/price) thing was the deal breaker. (I am a slob who has a dog who is a slob…well you get it.) I may now reconsider. Maybe an end of season sale…

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