How to care for down coats

Quebec winters are cold and often unpredictable. That’s why every forward-thinking man should have at least one down-filled coat and warm accessories to match in his wardrobe. If you've made the wise decision to purchase a down jacket this year, you’ll need to learn how to care for it. Fortunately, the team at Ernest has put together the following tips for washing, drying and caring for your winter coat to ensure it stays in great shape for years to come.

How to wash a down coat

You should wash your down jacket sparingly. Every time you wash it, you risk damaging the insulating properties and delicate feathers. However, if your coat smells bad, is covered in dirt or has lost some of its volume, it’s time to wash it. You can hand wash your down coat or put it in the washing machine. Here’s what you need to know about each method.


Handwashing

If you want to wash your down coat by hand, start by closing all the zippers and fasteners. Fill your bathtub or a large container with warm water and add a small amount of mild detergent or specialized down cleaner. Submerge your coat in the water and agitate it to create suds. Let it soak for a few minutes and then drain the soiled water. Rinse the coat several times until the water runs clear. Allow it to drip dry for a while without wringing or squeezing it.

Machine washing

Front-loading washing machines are less likely to damage your down coat than top loaders. Before putting your down coat in the washing machine, close all the zippers and fasteners. Place a few tennis balls in the drum of the machine to prevent the wet feathers from clumping. Wash your coat on the delicate cycle with your usual detergent or one specially designed for down. Make sure the water temperature is no more than 30 degrees Celsius. When the cycle finishes, rinse the coat thoroughly.



What not to do

If you don’t take the time to learn how to properly care for your down coat, you could make the following mistakes. You should never:

  • Store your coat in a small pouch for months at a time.
  • Lift your coat while it is soaking wet. This can tear it.
  • Wash your coat thoroughly if there’s only a small stain that needs to be removed.
  • Forget to shake your coat to prevent the feathers from clumping.
  • Dry clean your coat. The harsh cleaning products can ruin it.

Remember, you can always ask the staff at Ernest for advice on how to clean your down coat. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

How to dry a down coat

There are two ways to dry your down coat. You can let it air dry or put it in the dryer. If you choose to let your coat dry naturally, lay it flat on a drying rack. During the drying process, shake it out every so often to prevent the feathers from clumping. However, air drying a down coat can take several days and could attract mould or mildew. For this reason, we recommend drying your coat in the dryer.

If using a dryer, gently place your wet coat inside and add a few tennis balls. Use low heat and run as many cycles as necessary to ensure the coat is completely dry. After each cycle, give your coat a shake to evenly distribute the feathers.


How to make it water repellent

A good winter coat won’t let in moisture when it's freezing cold. In fact, most down coats come with a waterproof coating. However, over time, your coat’s water repellent properties can lose some of their effectiveness. To reactivate this coating, simply soak your coat in cool water along with a water-repellent liquid. When you dry your coat, the product will take effect. For best results, use gentle heat a few times throughout the drying process.

How to repair your down coat

Does your down coat have a hole or tear in it? If so, you can probably repair it on your own. In most cases, you can simply sew up a small hole or seal it with a self-adhesive repair patch. If you don’t have any sewing equipment or don’t trust yourself to make the repairs, hire a seamstress to make your coat look great again.



How to store your down jacket?

To keep your down jacket fluffy and comfortable, you must store your coat on a hanger in a well-ventilated area. You should avoid placing heavy objects or other clothing on top of it to prevent the feathers from clumping. If you need to take your down coat with you on a trip, take it out of your luggage and give it a shake as soon as you arrive at your destination.

Ernest is your one-stop-shop for winter clothing and accessories

Do you need a winter coat, socks, gloves or a scarf to keep you warm this winter? Do you need tips on how to care for your favourite outerwear? If so, visit your nearest Ernest. Our team will gladly introduce you to our impressive selection of winter clothing and accessories from top brands. We look forward to seeing you in store.

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