Cleaning a Sleeping Bag

by April Reinhardt
(last updated September 12, 2016)

Sleeping bags present a problem when it comes time to clean them. I have a super capacity washing machine, and still cannot wash a sleeping bag in it because doing so tends to make the washing machine walk across the floor, due to an unbalanced load. I've either had to make a trip to the local Laundromat to use their largest washer to wash the sleeping bag, or wash it by hand in my bathtub. I've usually opted for the latter remedy, since it takes less money to do it myself. Follow these simple instructions to clean your sleeping bag at home:

  1. Completely unzip the sleeping bag and lay it on a flat surface. Make sure the surface you're using is free of dirt and debris, or cover the work surface with a clean bed sheet or table cloth.
  2. Using a solution of water and detergent in a spray bottle, spray obvious stains, thoroughly saturating them.
  3. Turn the sleeping bag over and wet the stains on the other side.
  4. Using a toothbrush, agitate the detergent into the stains.
  5. Once you've washed the stains by hand, it's time to hand wash the entire bag. Fill your bathtub halfway with hot water, making sure that it is a temperature that your hands can stand. Use a generous portion of laundry detergent, adding it to the water.
  6. Immerse the bag into the tub and rub the fabric against each other with your hands. Continue rubbing and agitating the fabric until you completely wash the entire bag on both sides. This may take quite some time, depending upon the size of your sleeping bag.
  7. With the sleeping bag still in the tub, drain the water and then refill it with clean water.
  8. Push the sleeping bag up and down in the water to rinse it. You may need to drain the water and refill the tub several times to completely rinse the bag of soap.
  9. Once the rinse water looks clear instead of soapy, murky, or filmy, the sleeping bag is clean and rinsed. Drain the water from the tub.
  10. Leaving the bag in the tub, press hard to push water from the material. Ask someone to help you wring the sleeping bag of excess water.
  11. Once you've removed all of the water that you can, lay the bag flat outside in the sun to dry. If that isn't possible, dry it in your dryer using a very low heat.
  12. Once the bag feels dry, roll it inside of a thick blanket and tie it shut. Remove it from the blanket thirty minutes later. Feel the blanket. If it is damp, the sleeping bag isn't dry. Put it back inside of the dryer to dry it, or allow it to air dry outside.

It is imperative that you make sure your sleeping bag is thoroughly dry before you roll it up and store it. Even slight moisture can encourage mold and mildew to grow.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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