Living in Wisconsin, we all understand how important our winter gear, especially our coats, are to keeping us warm. But with all the snow, slush and occasional snowman building with the kids, many people want to know how to care for their winter coats so they’ll last longer, and keep their “like new” look. Let’s review how to safely clean a down-feather “puffy” coat, as well as strategies to keep wool and wool-blend coats clean and safe from moths …

How to Clean a Down Coat
In many cases, you can clean your down coat in your home washing machine, as long as it’s a front load. If your washing machine is a top load, do not use it to clean your down coat, as the center agitator can damage your jacket. You could always take your coat to a laundromat to use one of their machines, but if you have a busy schedule the time investment may not be worth it. If this is the case, just drop off your down coat at your local Klinke Cleaners and we’ll take care of it for you.

If your care label states that machine washing is OK, and you have a front-loading washing machine, follow these steps:

1) Remove any loose mud or dirt from the coat, close all pockets, zip up coat and turn the jacket inside out (after you’ve zipped up the front).

2) Make sure your machine and the detergent compartment (if you have one) are free of any detergent and fabric softener, because the cleaning agents you typically use for clothes can damage down feathers and strip waterproofing off of the coat’s fabric.

Because of this, you’ll want to wash the down jacket with a cleaner that’s made specifically for technical outerwear.

3) Add the correct, measured amount of cleaner into the machine and set the wash cycle to cold/delicate. If possible, set your machine to rinse 2-3 times on the slowest possible spin cycle to make sure all the detergent is removed.

4) Next, tumble dry your down coat on low heat. Why not high heat to dry? Because setting the dryer to a higher temperature could melt the fabric. Air-drying is also not recommended. This is because feather clumping is much more likely when air-drying, and the feathers may start to smell if they’re left wet for too long. Adding 2-3 tennis balls is an excellent way to avoid feather clumping. Many people believe that the tennis balls are for fluffing the feathers, when in fact their purpose is to add “space” in-between them to allow for proper drying and separation.

5) Make sure the jacket is completely dry. 

Tips for Keeping Your Wool Blend Winter Coat Clean
If you have a wool, or blended wool coat, there are some easy strategies you can employ to keep them clean and looking new …

–  Occasionally use a lint roller to remove things like hair (from pets or people) and lint.

–  Inspect your coat at the beginning and end of the season and remove any loose threads. If there are a lot of threads or if pilling has occurred, get a “clothes shaver,” which is excellent at removing both.

–  Use cedar hangers, which keep moths at bay (they also don’t smell bad like mothballs).

–  Before storing your winter coat, it’s a good idea to place it in a garment bag to keep hair (especially from cats), lint and dust from accumulating on it

–  Stuffing coat sleeves with acid-free paper helps prevent creases (typically in the elbow area) from becoming permanent.

–  When it comes to washing your wool coat, unless the care label explicitly states machine washing is OK, it’s not recommended.

If you don’t have the time, or the inclination, to wash your down-feather or wool coat, bring it to us and we’ll be happy to take care of it for you.

Thank you for visiting Klinke Cleaners. Stay warm!