How to Properly Wash a Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bag on a mat outdoors
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Sleeping bags are ubiquitous. From summer camping trips to sleepovers to kids in Scouts programs, sleeping bags offer warmth and convenience.

Whatever the reason, sleeping bag use means sleeping bags to wash and keep clean.

Obviously, an ounce of prevention is worth an awful lot when it comes to maintaining a clean sleeping bag.

Sleeping bags are bulky and difficult to launder. Due to this fact, they might not get laundered quite as frequently as they should.

Unfortunately, this just makes the job all that much more difficult. An extremely dirty bag can be a real challenge.

However, we’ve got a few helpful pointers and tips. Before you follow these directions though, refer to the laundering instructions that should be attached to the sleeping bag.

Some sleeping bags will wash up nicely in the washing machine- if your washing machine is large enough and the sleeping bag is small enough.

However, you can always wash the bag by hand in the bathtub or in the laundry tub, if you have one.

For this task, it is best to use a mild laundering soap—one that is typically used for hand washables.

Step 1 - Prep the Tub

Close the drain on the tub. Then fill the tub approximately half full of water.

Use a temperature that will be comfortable for your hands to be in since you will be doing the washing.

Step 2 - Add Detergent

filling a bathtub

Follow the instructions from the laundry detergent bottle and add the amount that is suggested for a small or medium size load, depending on the size of the sleeping bag.

Most children’s sleeping bags are considerably smaller and more lightweight, so a smaller amount of detergent will be sufficient.

Step 3 - Master the Clean

Without wringing or twisting the sleeping bag, work the suds into the fabric. Rub soiled areas until the stains disappear.

Usually it is possible to move the bag up and down, submerging the sleeping bag completely in order to work in the suds and wash the bag.

Step 4 - Drain and Rinse

rolled up sleeping bags

Drain the water from the tub with the sleeping bag still inside. Be sure the bag does not cover the drain, blocking the water from draining.

Then close the drain and begin to fill the tub with clean water. Submerge the sleeping bag several times to rinse the laundry detergent from it.

Allow the water to drain. Repeat the steps for washing and rinsing the sleeping bag as many times as is necessary.

You will know when the bag is clean because the suds will be white rather than a dirty looking gray or brown.

Additionally, the rinse water will look cleaner than the initial washing.

Once you believe the sleeping bag is completely clean, rinse it thoroughly with clean water to remove any trace of laundry detergent.

Drain the water completely from the tub.

Step 5 - Dry the Sleeping Bag

Once the water is drained, press the sleeping bag firmly to remove as much water as possible.

This may prove to be a tedious task, but you should remove as much water as possible for three very important reasons.

The sleeping bag will be much lighter to carry and hang up. The sleeping bag will dry more quickly. The sleeping bag will make less of a mess as you transport it from the laundry tub to its drying location.

Since it is best to let the sleeping bag air dry, find a location outside to secure it. A warm day with gentle winds is going to provide the best drying conditions.

It is best to keep the sleeping bag out of direct sunlight while drying it. If necessary, place the bag in the dryer.

However, be careful not to place the temperature setting too high. Use a low temperature setting and remove the sleeping bag as soon as the cycle is finished.

Roll the sleeping bag up once it is dry, and place it in its storage place.