How to Wash a Sleeping Bag

How to Wash a Sleeping Bag

There’s nothing better than a clean, washed sleeping bag to keep you warm during a cold night camping in the wilderness. Sleeping bags are absolutely essential in order to have a successful camping trip and they can sometimes be a hassle to clean and dry, especially if it’s being used often. Your sleeping bag can go through a lot on a camping weekend, from keeping you warm to collecting dirt in the wilderness, so it’s important to know how to wash a sleeping bag. They can sometimes be difficult and time-consuming when it comes to maintenance and proper cleaning techniques. If you’ve been wanting to purchase your first sleeping bag, make sure you do the proper research to ensure that you’re getting the right sleeping bag that matches your style of camping.

How to Care for Your Sleeping Bag


Before you clean your sleeping bag, it’s important that you know how to take proper care of it. Sleeping bags can be expensive and even more pricey to replace, so it’s imperative that the right guidelines are being followed in order to make your sleeping bag last as long as possible. 

Make Sure to Wear the Proper Clothes

When using your sleeping bag, make sure to wear clothing that won’t damage the interior fabric of the sleeping bag. Try wearing clothes made from lighter fabrics such as cotton or polyester. 

Avoid clothing items that are rough and more likely to tear the interior fabric of the sleeping bag such as denim or leather.

Wear Clothes that are Clean 

In order to keep your sleeping bag clean for as long as possible, make sure you’re wearing clean clothes that won’t track any dirt or mud into your sleeping bag. 

Make sure to avoid wearing any clothing items that have lingering smells on them as well. 

Plan Properly 

If you’re planning on sleeping outside, make sure to bring an extra sheet or blanket to lay beneath the sleeping bag to prevent any more wear and tear on the fabric. Putting the sleeping bag directly on the ground can result in stains and maybe even some tears on the fabric, so be sure to pack an extra layer to separate the sleeping bag from the ground. 

Pack the Sleeping Bag Correctly 

After every use, be sure to open the sleeping bag completely and allow it to air out in the open. Doing this will prevent the inside from smelling and getting dirtier over time. 

Once you are done with your sleeping bag, fold and store it in a proper place so it won’t get dirty when you’re not currently using it. 

How to Wash a Sleeping Bag 


You should start by acquiring the proper materials needed to clean your sleeping bag. Make sure you have a space to clean it in such as in a bathtub, a large sink, or a washer machine. Some sleeping bags have tags or instructions that you can use as a guide to cleaning your sleeping bag. Make sure you read the instructions carefully to avoid any mistakes that could ruin the fabrics. If you accidentally damage your sleeping bag you can always replace the liner rather than buying a new one.

Determine What Cleaning Supplies You’ll Need

When cleaning your sleeping bag, use a gentle detergent from the store such as Tide or Purex. Fabric softeners aren’t necessary but they can help soften the fabric of your sleeping bag during every cleaning cycle. Make sure to avoid any harsh products such as bleach or dish soap as these products can ruin your sleeping bag during the washing process. 

Cleaning Your Sleeping Bag 

Now that it’s time to wash your sleeping bag, pick a setting on your washer machine such as gentle or permanent press. Use warm or cold water and avoid the hot water setting to ensure that your sleeping bag won’t shrink. Some can be made out of materials that are susceptible to shrinking during the wash cycle if the water is too hot. 

If you’re hand washing your sleeping bag, the same rule applies. You should only use warm or cold water when cleaning. 

Drying Your Sleeping Bag 

Once your sleeping bag is finished in the washer machine, it’s time to dry it. 

If you decide to use your dryer machine, it’s imperative that you use a colder setting to prevent your sleeping bag from shrinking. Not all sleeping bags are meant to be put in the dryer, so make sure you read the tag on your sleeping bag to be sure that the fabric is safe in the dryer machine. 

If you’re not sure whether your sleeping bag can go into the dryer, it’s better to be safe and use a different technique. 

Gently wring out your sleeping bag and hang it somewhere it can dry such as over the edge of the bathtub, in a laundry room, or even outside. 

If you dry your sleeping bag somewhere other than the dryer, make sure that it is properly airing out otherwise it won’t dry and you might end up with a smelly sleeping bag. 

Caring for Your Sleeping Bag After it’s Clean 

Once your sleeping bag is completely dry, store it away properly to prevent it from getting dirty before its next use. 

When storing your sleeping bag, zip it up and keep it somewhere high and off the floor. 


Now that your sleeping bag is clean and dry, it’s time to go camping! Having a washed sleeping bag can make a camping trip much more enjoyable, especially when it’s taken care of properly and can last you for years. They can be very expensive, depending on the brand you get so you want to make sure that you’re taking care of your sleeping bag and cleaning it when it needs to be cleaned. It’s not necessary to wash them after every use, but keep an eye on how often it’s being used and never go too long without taking the proper steps to ensure that it stays clean and ready to be used. Happy camping! 

Written by Amber Phipps

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