If your quilt has become dirty, typically the insulation will have problems lofting and perform less effectively, as well as feeling and smelling worse. It’s time to clean your quilt! Typically you need to clean your quilt once a year or less, this varies from user to user, depending on how often you use your quilt. The more you use it, the sooner you will have to clean your quilt. The procedure can be time consuming to prevent damage to the insulation and fabric, so make sure you have a few hours set aside to finish the job (typically about 2 to 4 hours, depending on what your washing). You can use these directions for both down and synthetic insulations, with minor differences which we will mention along the way.
Disclaimer: Since Enlightened Equipment quilts are made using some of the lightest-weight fabrics available, special care is required during use and cleaning to prevent damage to both the fabrics and insulation. Failure to follow these precautions can cause irreparable damage to the quilt, loss of insulation, and will void the warranty of your quilt.
- No washing machines: Agitators can damage and tear the fabric. If you wreck your quilt in a washing machine, it is NOT covered by our warranty, and we will not repair or replace it for you.
- Drying: Use no heat when putting products in a dryer, Hot spots can melt the fabric, and cause problems with synthetic insulation as well.
- Detergents: Use only cleaning supplies that are specifically made for down (read labels to be sure they are down safe). Synthetic products may use standard detergent, though as little as possible should be used.
- Wet Quilts: Quilts are extremely heavy when wet, so don't pick up and move the quilt until as much water has been kneaded out as possible. Picking a quilt up wet may put stress on the fabric and down and cause long term issues with quit.
What You'll Need:
-Bathtub or a large wash basin.
-2-3 tennis balls (these should be clean; if your dog chews on them, pick up some new ones).
-An appropriate detergent for down products, or standard clothing detergent for synthetic quilts and accessories.
Now you’re ready to get started.
- Check for any cord locks and snaps on the quilt and make sure they’re all well secured, with knots to keep the cord locks from falling off.
- Fill the tub or basin with the appropriate amount of water for the amount of detergent you will be using. Read the directions on the down wash to determine the correct amount of detergent to add to the water. Whether down wash or standard detergent for synthetics, try to use the least amount they recommend, as it can be easy to overdo it and using too much makes it harder to rinse thoroughly.
- Put your quilt in the water, and begin pressing all the air out of the down. You may be surprised at how well your quilt floats; insulation is excellent at holding onto air, so pressing the air out allows the water and detergent to reach all parts of the insulation. Do this until the detergent and water has completely saturated the quilt. Tip: put in stuff sack and slowly let the quilt out to help with water saturation.
- Drain the tub, and knead out as much water as you can. Don’t wring the quilt, just press it out. Knead: To massage or squeeze with the hands
- Refill the tub with warm water to rinse quilt out. Knead the quilt as you did before, pressing out as much of the detergent as you can. Let it sit and soak for 5-10 minutes, then drain the tub again, and knead out as much water as you can once more.
- Repeat step 5 until the water is clear. If the water is still cloudy and the detergent hasn’t been fully rinsed out, you may need to refill the tub and rinse again.
- While pressing the water out after the final rinse, it’s important to get as much moisture out as you possibly can, doing this poorly will result in extremely long drying times. Don't move the quilt until as much water as possible is out of the quilt. While soaked it's very heavy, and moving it can stress the fabric and stitching. Tip: It is beneficial to press out all the water you can, and then press the quilt between two dry towels to remove even more moisture.
- Move the quilt into your dryer, and throw the tennis balls in with it. These will help break up the clumps of down to speed up the drying process. Set to no heat and begin drying. Drying time will vary. Typical dry times are around 2 - 4 hours, but could take longer. Tip: Stopping periodically and manually spreading some of the down out can help ensure it dries completely. If the down still smells gamey, it isn't completely dry.
- For Down quilts: The washing process can result in down not being evenly distributed throughout the quilt. When all is finished, lay the quilt flat and gently shift the down into any empty spots. Make sure to distribute the down as evenly as possible for best warmth.
- Once completed make sure to get outside as quickly as possible and go on an adventure!
Now that your quilt is clean you will need to store it. Generally speaking insulation should not be stored while compressed, so all EE quilts include a larger storage sack for storage at home. Where possible store your gear in a room with dry air, and out of direct sunlight, also out of reach of pets as they tend to be very interested in what is inside your quilt.