Washing your sleeping bag can be a bit of a controversial subject for some campers and particularly for gear manufacturers. Many companies consider warranties void if you’ve thrown your bag through a washing machine or dryer as this may damage zippers or reduce warmth. At TETON, our bags come with a stain-resistant outer layer, so they probably won’t need frequent cleaning. If they do get dirty, you can simply spot clean the area by wiping with a damp, warm cloth.
Taking certain steps to care for your bag each time you get home from a trip may help to make washing unnecessary or at least less frequent. When you’re done using a sleeping bag, unzip it completely and air dry it for a day or two. If you can hang it in the sunshine this will help to sanitize the bag—just spread your bag out on the driveway or hang it inside out on the clothes line so it can soak up some sun. Otherwise, drape it over a stairway railing or an unused piece of exercise equipment. It’s amazing how some clean, dry air and sunshine help keep your bag sanitary and fresh-smelling.
Some campers recommend a large front loading washing machine (like the ones available at the local laundromat) for soiled bags, but again, this voids most warranties, including the TETON Sports warranty. If you do decide to go with a machine for cleaning be aware that this will likely void the manufacturer’s warranty.
TETON recommends the bathtub method which is similar to the steps in our “Washing Your Backpack” post, located here. It’s a bit challenging, but it is a better option than your machine for protecting your warranty.
- Fill a bathtub with warm water and add some mild detergent—but only a little bit.
- Agitate by hand. Your hand agitation coupled with the soap will clean the sleeping bag.
- Rinse well.
- Dry. Hang it up in an open area, preferably outside in the sun.
Another recommendation we came across included using an essential oil like lemon mixed with water in a spray bottle or use a commercial deodorizer. A clothesline comes in very handy here. Simply open the bag fully, lay it length-wise on the clothes line, spray your bag with the desired deodorizer or sanitizer, and let it air dry in the sun.
If you don’t have means to store your sleeping bag open, be sure to hold off on folding or stuffing your bag until the fabric is completely dry. Do not take the bag to a commercial dry cleaner. If your bag gets heavy use, consider purchasing the TETON Sports washable sleeping bag liner.
Please post any questions you may have.