How to wash winter jackets – proven tips and tricks for cleaning various clothing fabrics

Written by Kremena Ruseva

If you want to refresh your winter clothes before the season, there are some simple methods you can use. Do you know how to wash winter jackets? In fact, after winter coats and down jackets have spent a few months in the closet, it is recommended to give these garments another wash. Surprisingly, not many people think about it before you have to dress warmly in winter and then encounter musty clothing fabrics. Luckily, this household chore is easy to do with tried and tested cleaning techniques and home remedies that you can find below.

Can you wash winter jackets in different ways?

how to wash winter jackets from different fabrics


At some point during the winter season and holiday season everyone inevitably has to face and deal with mulled wine stains from spills or other stains on winter clothing. As a rule of thumb, winter coats and jackets should be cleaned twice per season and as needed. However, this depends on whether dry cleaning would be required according to the care label, or the washing machine would be sufficient for this.

choose a suitable detergent and wash winter jackets


The cleaning products that you need for each type of coat or winter jacket are very different. Some of them can be easily cleaned with detergent, while others should not touch water and need a brush. If you wear such items of clothing every day, you should wash them accordingly more often.

read care label carefully and wash winter jackets in accordance with the instructions

In addition, the care label usually includes all the information you need to know about washing, such as whether the fabric is machine washable, what cycle and water temperature to use, as well as specific instructions on certain detergents and drying. Accordingly, it goes without saying that you should interpret these instructions as rules and not as suggestions. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

Remove faux fur trimmings from winter coat and clean separately

  • Never try to wash natural fur. This fabric needs a professional cleaning or furring.
  • Feather and wool require special detergents, while suede should never get wet.
  • In general, many people choose leather, suede, and wool coats to have them professionally cleaned. However, faux fur, vinyl, waterproof fabric, fleece, and feather are easier to clean from the comfort of your own home.
  • You’ll also find that feather and fleece can go in the dryer while all others need to air dry.

With the right techniques and this guide, you can optimize the cleaning process, you can wash your winter jackets and keep them looking neat without shrinking or fading. Follow the steps below to take better care of everything from wool, leather, faux fur, fleece and other winter coats.

Before you wash your winter jackets

apply stain removal on certain clothing like wool before the wash cycle

  • Pre-treat stains: When you pull out your unwashed clothes, they might already have a few stains from food, splashes or just heavy underarm perspiration. It is best to pre-treat these stains with a stain remover or with a drop of dishwashing liquid. Apply such products directly to the stain and then leave for 10 minutes before throwing the clothes in the washing machine or scrubbing with a damp cloth.
  • Close all buttons and zippers: The metal teeth on zippers can damage other clothes in the washing machine. To minimize the risk of snags and tears, it’s best to close, fasten, and button everything on your coat or jacket before washing it. This also helps the clothes hold their shape as they’re tumbled around in the washing machine.
  • Wash similar materials and fabrics: When certain conflicting clothing fabrics rub against each other, it can result in damage, fading, or deterioration of the clothing. To keep your winter clothes in perfect condition, you should always wash them separately or with clothes made from similar materials.
  • Make sure to empty the pockets.

How to clean synthetic or polyester winter clothes

pretreat parka or down jackets stains

Synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon, and elastane are particularly attracted to natural fats and oils like sebum. In fact, synthetics and polyester are known to be dirt and odor magnets. To make matters worse, synthetic garments are more likely to absorb odors and stink faster than natural fibers. This means that garments that are fully synthetic or contain synthetic fibers are more likely to get musty. Also, as with any winter coat or jacket, always check the care label before washing. Many items made of polyester can be machine washed with a good quality detergent on a cold water program. It is recommended to air dry synthetic/polyester coats to avoid shrinkage and damage.

How to clean parkas and down jackets properly

How to wash winter jackets check for stains before washing

Down jackets are very popular and very warm, but they are also quite expensive. So preserve your down jacket as long as possible by taking care of it and washing it properly. Fortunately, down jackets and parkas are easier to wash than wool. Again, before you put such clothes in the washing machine, you should pretreat any stains.

how to wash winter jackets light clothing materials like down jackets wash at home in the washing machine

For best results, down jackets should be washed in a front-loading or in a washing machine without agitator in the middle. In addition, a fairly gentle movement during the washing process is recommended. Add your laundry detergent and make sure you choose a product specifically designed for down jackets. When the wash cycle is over, you can tumble dry the jacket on a low setting. Also add drying balls to fluff up the feathers again after they fall in the washing machine.

How to clean a wool coat?

care for wool coat with a brush to remove dirt

Normal detergents, hot water and washing machine cycles can cause the fibers in wool to break or shrink. That’s why it’s important to be particularly gentle with your fancy wool coat. You can either hand wash it in a tub of cold water and baby shampoo, or use the washing machine on a gentle cycle. However, in the second case, make sure to use cold water and a detergent specifically designed for wool products. Lay the coat flat to dry, gently reshaping the shoulders and arms with your hands as it dries. Dry cleaning is the best option for most wool coats. However, if it doesn’t say so on the care label, you can do the wash at home.

gently wash folded winter clothing like a wool coat in a washing bag

To remove dry dirt that gets on the surface, rub with a stiff brush. Spot clean the collar and cuffs with a damp cloth and mild soap or use a household dry cleaning kit to clean and freshen up your wool. Do this over a towel to easily remove dirt and debris. Then spot treat any stains with a product certified for wool garments. Turn the coat inside out and place it in a mesh laundry bag to avoid snagging the material. If your washing machine has a wool cycle, this would be ideal. Lay your wool coat flat to dry. And if that seems like too much work for you, it’s time for dry cleaning.

How to wash winter jackets with faux fur trim?

wash faux fur trimmings from winter jackets by hand in soapy water without spinning

It is best to dry clean coats or jackets with faux fur trims. However, most of them can also be washed at home. Faux fur is a synthetic blend that you can clean in a washing machine with a very small amount of mild detergent. Have your machine partially filled with cold water, add the detergent and let the coat soak for 15 minutes.

set the washing machine on a gentle wash cycle and wash winter jackets

Set the washing machine to drain and spin and then switch to the rinse cycle. First you can drain the faux fur, spin again and rinse again if necessary. If the fur is matted and lumpy after washing, use a clean, dry brush to gently separate the fibers.

How to wash fleece winter jackets?

cleaning fleece with a cloth to protect the fabric from damage

Fleece jackets are practical year-round, do double duty in the winter as comfortable indoor loungewear and outdoor sweat-blocking outerwear. To freshen up your fleece clothes, turn them inside out and throw them in the washing machine. Your machine settings should be on “cold” and “gentle”.

turn the fleece jacket inside out and wash at low temperature

Otherwise, your fleece will become fluffy and may even be less water-repellent. This also happens when you wash it with materials like cotton, so make sure to wash fleece separately from other clothing fabrics. Run an extra rinse to remove any detergent residue and allow to air dry.

How to wash rubber/vinyl winter jackets?

How to wash rubber vinyl winter jackets

As usual, pay attention to the care label on raincoats and other outerwear made of rubber and vinyl. According to experts, some vinyl coats can be washed in the machine, while others are better cleaned by hand. If you wash the garment in the washing machine, you should follow the instructions on the label.

How to wash rubber vinyl jackets properly

Allow to air dry as the high heat and agitation can cause damage. To wash the coat by hand, soak it in clean, cold water in the bathtub for half an hour, just as you would wool. When you are finished, rinse the jacket in cold water until it comes out clean and again let it air dry.

How to wash a leather or suede jacket?

treat a suede jacket with a scrubbing brush and remove accumulated dirt or stains

It is a mistake to wash leather or suede coats at home. These clothing fabrics require special care and should always be professionally cleaned.

proper leather care wipe with a damp cloth

However, if you want to give it a try and the leather needs a quick touch-up, you can use a damp cloth or suede brush to remove surface dirt from such winter jackets between cleanings.

Do you know how to fold your clothes to save space? You can find tips and tricks here!

 

 

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