Can You Put a Sleeping Bag in the Washing Machine

Can You Put a Sleeping Bag in the Washing Machine? [YES or NO]

Sleeping bags are an essential piece of gear for any camping or hiking trip, but they can get dirty and smelly over time. However, the method of cleaning a sleeping bag is important. 

So Can You Put A Sleeping Bag in The Washing Machine? Yes, you can put a sleeping bag in the washing machine, but it’s best to pick a front-loading washer or top-loading one without an agitator. The regular top-loading machines might not give enough room for the sleeping bag to move and clean well.

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of washing your sleeping bag and keeping it clean and cozy for your next outdoor adventure.

Can You Put a Sleeping Bag in The Washing Machine?

Yes, You can machine wash to clean most sleeping bags, provided you use a front-loading washer or a top-loader without an agitator. Your washing machine at home might not be strong enough to clean your sleeping bag effectively. It’s better to use a laundromat with big machines, especially a front-loading one.

Also, If your washing machine has a small capacity, it may not be able to accommodate the size and weight of your sleeping bag. This can result in poor cleaning performance.

Again, remember that certain home front-loading machines can be compact and energy-efficient. As a result, it might not provide adequate space for your sleeping bag to move around and get cleaned thoroughly.

Factors To Consider Before Putting A Sleeping Bag In The Washing Machine

Before tossing your sleeping bag into the washing machine, it’s essential to consider several factors to ensure you don’t inadvertently damage it. Here are the key factors to keep in mind, backed by factual information:

Care Label and Manufacturer’s Instructions

Always check the care label on your sleeping bag or consult the manufacturer’s instructions. These guidelines are specific to your sleeping bag’s material and design. 

It provides the most accurate information on whether it can be machine-washed and at what temperature.

Type of Sleeping Bag

Your sleeping bag’s material decides how you should clean it. The bag comes in various types, such as down-filled and synthetic.  If it’s down-filled, use a gentle, down-specific detergent. But if it’s synthetic, you can use a regular mild detergent to wash it.

Check the State of The Sleeping Bag

Look at the sleeping bag carefully. If you see any tears or holes, fix them before anything else. Also, see if the bag is dirty or has insulation problems. Then, decide if it needs a full wash or just a small clean-up.

Machine Capacity

Ensure your washing machine can accommodate the size of your sleeping bag. For larger bags, you’ll need access to a commercial-sized machine. You can measure the capacity of your washing machine by calculating its volume in cubic feet using the following formula.

Volume (cu. ft.) = pi × r × r × D, where pi is approximately 3.14, r is the radius of the washing machine tub in feet, and D is the depth of the tub in feet. 

Once you know the capacity of your washing machine, you can determine how much laundry it can hold in every wash. As a general guideline, top-load machines hold around 12 pounds of laundry. 

Front-loaders handle 15 – 18 pounds, and extra-large front loaders can wash up to 22 pounds per cycle.

How to Wash a Sleeping Bag In The  Washing Machine?

Here are the steps to follow on how to put a sleeping bag in a washing machine:

Preparing the Sleeping Bag

The preparation involves:

  • Clear away loose dirt and debris.
  • For stains or soiled areas, gently spot clean with non-detergent soap and water. Use a toothbrush on the hood and collar, where oils collect.
  • Close all zippers, Velcro fasteners, and snaps. 

Load The Sleeping Bag

Put the sleeping bag in the washing machine, but be sure it can move around easily. If your front-loading machine is small, you might have to wash the sleeping bag by itself or go to a laundromat with bigger machines.

Put in Extra Items

To make the washing machine work better, you can put in some things like towels or T-shirts that need washing too.

Detergent Selection

Use a mild, such as Nikwax Tech Wash, to avoid damaging the insulation and causing clumping. Also, non-detergent soap or a specialized detergent designed for outdoor gear or down-filled items will serve this purpose. Regular laundry detergents can leave residues that affect the bag’s insulation.

Water Temperature

Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for water temperature. In most cases, it’s advisable to use cold or lukewarm water to prevent damage to the bag.

Use A Gentle Cycle

Select a gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine. This setting is less aggressive and better suited for delicate fabrics like that of sleeping bags. Don’t use a top-loading machine with an agitator because it can pull and tear the seams.

Rinse It Really Well

Once the washing is done, rinse the sleeping bag twice to ensure all the soap is gone. Another way is to run the bag through a full wash and rinse cycle without using any soap.

Dry It The Right Way

Make sure to dry the sleeping bag completely to stop mold or mildew from growing. Choose low heat in the dryer to protect the fabric and synthetic fill. 


Store your clean, dry sleeping bag in a breathable large storage bag, or you can hang it to dry properly in a cool place. Avoid long-term compression, which can damage insulation.

You can see this video on how you can wash your sleeping bag in a washing machine. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are questions people also asked about putting a sleeping bag in the washing machine and their answers.

How long does it take to dry a sleeping bag? 

Cleaning your sleeping bag can take one to two hours, depending on hand or machine washing. Drying may take up to three hours, and overnight hanging ensures full dryness.

How often should you wash a sleeping bag? 

Cleaning your bag matters, but doing it too much can harm performance. As a general guideline, wash your regularly used bag annually. Avoid dry cleaning, bleaching, or ironing your sleeping bag or quilt.

Final Words

Washing a sleeping bag in a machine is manageable by following the outlined steps and manufacturer’s instructions. Choosing the right detergent, gentle cycle, and proper drying preserves its comfort and durability, ensuring it is a trusted outdoor companion.     

The benefits of washing a sleeping bag include prolonging its lifespan, improving its insulation, and keeping it smelling fresh. Remember to air out your sleeping bag after each use and spot-clean it as needed to help prevent dirt and sweat buildup.

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