How to Wash a Sleeping Bag (And Store It After!)

Last Updated on October 12, 2022

Washing a sleeping bag is essential to keeping it clean and fresh for your next camping trip. But, if you’ve never done it before, it can seem like a daunting task. Here’s a step-by-step guide to washing your sleeping bag so it will be ready for your next adventure.

To wash your sleeping bag, first remove any dirt or debris from the outside with a brush or vacuum cleaner. Then, unzip the sleeping bag and shake it out to loosen any dirt inside. Next, fill a bathtub or large container with warm water and mild soap.

Submerge the sleeping bag in the water and gently swish it around to cleanse the fabric. Finally, rinse the sleeping bag thoroughly in cool water to remove any soap residue.

  • Before washing your sleeping bag, make sure to check the care instructions
  • Some sleeping bags can be machine-washed, while others must be hand-washed
  • If your sleeping bag is machine-washable, set the machine to a gentle cycle and use a mild detergent
  • Avoid using bleach or fabric softener, as these can damage the sleeping bag’s materials
  • If hand-washing is required, fill a bathtub with cool water and add a mild detergent
  • Gently swish the sleeping bag around in the tub until it is clean, then rinse well with cool water
  • Once the sleeping bag is clean, allow it to air dry completely before storing it away
  • Never put a wet or damp sleeping bag into storage, as this can lead to mildew growth

How to Wash a Sleeping Bag in a Washing Machine

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t wash your sleeping bag very often. But when it starts to smell musty or feels grungy, it’s time for a cleaning. The good news is that you can easily wash a sleeping bag in a washing machine.

Here’s how: First, make sure your sleeping bag is rated as machine-washable. If it isn’t, then hand-washing is the best option.

Next, put your sleeping bag in the washing machine by itself – do not add any other clothes or items. Use warm water and a mild detergent designed for delicate fabrics. Once the cycle is finished, remove your sleeping bag from the machine and allow it to air dry completely before storing it away.

How Do You Wash a Sleeping Bag Without Ruining It?

Washing a sleeping bag is different than washing other types of clothing. You want to avoid ruining your sleeping bag by following these simple tips. First, check the care label on your sleeping bag.

Most will say something like “hand wash only” or “dry clean only”. If it says hand wash only, then you will want to use a mild detergent and cool water. Fill up a bathtub with cool water and add a small amount of detergent.

submerge your sleeping bag and gently agitate it in the water. Let it soak for about 20 minutes before draining the tub and rinsing your sleeping bag in clean, cool water. Once it is rinsed, you can either lay it flat to dry or put it in a front loading clothes dryer on the delicate cycle with low heat.

If your care label says dry clean only, then take it to a local dry cleaner that specializes in outdoor gear. They will have the proper solvents and equipment to safely clean your sleeping bag without damaging it.

Will Washing a Sleeping Bag Ruin It?

When it comes to washing a sleeping bag, there is some debate on whether or not it will ruin the bag. The truth is, it depends on the type of sleeping bag and how you wash it. If you have a down sleeping bag, you will want to be extra careful when washing it as down can lose its loft and become matted if not washed properly.

Synthetic bags are less delicate, but can still be damaged if not cared for correctly. To avoid damaging your sleeping bag, always follow the care instructions that came with the bag. If you don’t have those handy, here are some general tips:

– Use a mild detergent designed for delicates and avoid using fabric softener as this can coat the fibers of the sleeping bag and make it less effective at insulating. – Wash your sleeping bag in cool water on a gentle cycle. Hot water can break down the fibers of synthetic fabrics and cause down to lose its loft.

– Line dry your sleeping bag or use a low heat setting on your dryer. Excessive heat can damage both synthetic and down fillings. If you take these precautions when washing your sleeping bag, you should be able to avoid damaging it.

How Do You Store a Sleeping Bag?

Most people will just stuff their sleeping bag into whatever space they have in their pack. However, this isn’t the best way to store a sleeping bag and can actually damage it. The best way to store a sleeping bag is to first put it into a large mesh sack.

This will protect it from getting caught on anything and getting damaged. Then, you can either roll it up or fold it up and put it into your pack. Make sure that you don’t put anything heavy on top of your sleeping bag so that it doesn’t get squished.

Should You Unzip a Sleeping Bag to Wash It?

If you need to wash your sleeping bag, it’s best to unzip it first. This will allow the water and detergent to reach all parts of the bag, and will also help prevent the zipper from getting caught on something while it’s being washed. If your sleeping bag has a down fill, be sure to use a mild detergent and don’t put it in the dryer – hang it up to air dry instead.

How to Clean a Sleeping Bag || REI


Assuming you’re talking about a standard sleeping bag: To wash a sleeping bag, put it in your washing machine on the delicate cycle with cold water and mild detergent. You can also hand wash it in cold water if you’re careful.

After washing, dry your sleeping bag on low heat or air dry it. If you have a down sleeping bag, make sure to fluff it up after washing to maintain its loft. When storing your sleeping bag, keep it in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.

You can store it in its stuff sack or hanging in a closet.

Author: Camp Grasp

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