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How To Dry a Down Jacket in the Dryer

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Drying a down jacket can seem like a daunting task. The fear of damaging the delicate down filling or the outer fabric often leads many to avoid washing their jackets altogether. However, knowing how to properly dry a down jacket can ensure it lasts for years and continues to provide the warmth and comfort it was designed for. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of drying a down jacket in a dryer, provide tips to avoid common pitfalls, and answer some frequently asked questions.


To dry a down jacket in the dryer, first gently squeeze out any excess water and place the jacket in the dryer alone. Add a few clean tennis balls or dryer balls to help fluff the down and prevent clumping. Set the dryer temperature to low or air dry and periodically check the jacket, breaking up any clumps and shaking it out to redistribute the down. The drying process may take 2-5 hours. Once fully dry, shake the jacket to fluff the down and hang it in a cool, dry place to air out.

Initial Steps Before Drying

Before drying a down jacket in a dryer, it’s important to squeeze out any excess water gently. Avoid wringing it out, as this could damage the down. Instead, press the water out of the jacket and place it in a dryer by itself to ensure it has enough space to tumble-dry without crushing the down. Set the dryer temperature to low, as machine-drying the jacket at a higher temperature could damage the down or the jacket’s fabric.

Adding Dryer Balls

To help fluff up the down and prevent it from clumping, add a few clean tennis balls or specially designed dryer balls to the dryer. These balls will bounce around inside the dryer, helping to separate the down and maintain the jacket’s loft.

Choosing the Right Dryer Settings

When drying a down jacket, it’s crucial to select the right dryer settings. Set the dryer temperature to low or air dry. Avoid using high heat, as it could damage the down or the fabric of the jacket. Although drying a down jacket can take several hours, patience is key. Check the jacket periodically, removing it to break up any clumps, shake it out to redistribute the down, and then put it back in the dryer.

The Drying Process

The drying process may take anywhere from two to five hours, depending on the jacket style and size. Be patient, as drying the jacket on low heat is the best way to avoid damaging the material or leaving moisture that can turn into mildew and start to smell. Periodically remove the jacket from the dryer, break up any clumps of down, shake it out, and put it back in the dryer. This process helps to ensure that the down is evenly distributed and that the jacket dries thoroughly.

Post-Drying Steps

Once the jacket is fully dry, take it out of the dryer and give it a good shake to fluff up the down. If you notice any areas where the down is still clumped together, gently massage these areas to break up the down. Finally, hang the jacket in a cool, dry place to air out.

Risks of Improper Drying

Improper drying can lead to a number of issues. For instance, if the jacket is not dried thoroughly, the down feathers can clump together, reducing the jacket’s insulation properties and making it less effective at keeping you warm. Additionally, storing a wet down jacket can lead to the growth of mildew and mold, which are difficult to remove and can cause unpleasant odors.


Drying a down jacket in a dryer doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your down jacket is properly dried and ready to keep you warm for years to come. Remember to be patient and allow plenty of time for the jacket to dry fully. With proper care, your down jacket can be a long-lasting investment in comfort and warmth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use fabric softeners or dryer sheets when drying my down jacket?

No, it’s best to avoid using fabric softeners or dryer sheets when drying a down jacket. These products can coat the down and reduce its ability to loft, diminishing the jacket’s insulating properties.

Can I air dry my down jacket instead of using a dryer?

Yes, you can air dry your down jacket. However, it’s important to ensure it is thoroughly dried to avoid mildew and mold growth. Be sure to fluff the jacket periodically during the drying process to prevent down clumping.

What should I do if my down jacket smells after drying?

If your down jacket smells after drying, it may not have been thoroughly dried, and mildew or mold could have formed. Wash and dry the jacket again, ensuring it is fully dried this time. If the smell persists, consider taking it to a professional cleaner.

Is it safe to iron my down jacket?

It’s generally not recommended to iron a down jacket as the high heat can damage the down and the outer fabric. If wrinkles are a concern, try hanging the jacket in a steamy bathroom to gently remove them.

Can I dry my down jacket outside in the sun?

While it’s possible to dry a down jacket in the sun, it’s best to avoid direct sunlight as it can fade the color of the jacket and damage the fabric over time. If you choose to dry it outdoors, select a shady, breezy spot.

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