How To Wash A Sleeping Bag

When it comes to camping gear, your sleeping bag is probably one of the most important items you own. It keeps you warm and cozy on chilly nights, and it’s your little cocoon of comfort after a long day of hiking. But after a few uses, it’s important to give it a good wash to keep it fresh and clean. In this article, we’ll go over how to wash a sleeping bag, step-by-step.

Step 1: Check the Care Label

Before you begin washing your sleeping bag, it’s important to check the care label. Some sleeping bags are machine washable, while others may require hand washing or dry cleaning. Make sure you follow the care instructions to avoid damaging your sleeping bag.

Step 2: Spot Clean Any Stains

If your sleeping bag has any stains, it’s a good idea to spot clean them before tossing it in the washing machine. Use a mild detergent and a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the stain. Be careful not to scrub too hard, as this can damage the fabric.

Step 3: Pre-Treat Any Odors

If your sleeping bag has any funky odors, pre-treat them before washing. You can use a specialized odor eliminator or simply sprinkle some baking soda on the sleeping bag and let it sit for a few hours. Vacuum up the baking soda before washing.

Step 4: Prepare Your Washing Machine

If your sleeping bag is machine washable, it’s important to prepare your washing machine properly. Use a front-loading washing machine, as top-loading machines can damage your sleeping bag. Set the washing machine to a gentle cycle with cold water.

Step 5: Add a Mild Detergent

Add a mild detergent to the washing machine. Avoid using fabric softener, bleach, or any other harsh chemicals that can damage the fabric of your sleeping bag.

Step 6: Wash Your Sleeping Bag

Place your sleeping bag in the washing machine and let it run through a gentle cycle with cold water. Avoid using hot water, as this can damage the fabric. Once the cycle is complete, run the sleeping bag through an extra rinse cycle to make sure all the detergent is removed.

Step 7: Remove Excess Water

After washing, it’s important to remove as much excess water as possible from your sleeping bag. You can do this by carefully squeezing the sleeping bag or using a clean towel to blot the excess water.

Step 8: Dry Your Sleeping Bag

When it comes to drying your sleeping bag, it’s important to avoid using high heat. High heat can damage the fabric and cause shrinkage. Instead, hang your sleeping bag up to air dry or use a low heat setting on your dryer.

Step 9: Fluff Your Sleeping Bag

Once your sleeping bag is dry, it’s important to fluff it up to restore its loft. You can do this by gently shaking it out or using a clean tennis ball in the dryer.


Q: How often should I wash my sleeping bag?

A: It’s a good idea to wash your sleeping bag after every camping trip. This will help keep it fresh and clean.

Q: Can I use regular detergent to wash my sleeping bag?

A: Yes, you can use regular detergent as long as it’s a mild detergent that doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals.

Q: Can I dry my sleeping bag in the sun?

A: It’s not recommended to dry your sleeping bag in direct sunlight, as this can damage the fabric. It’s best to hang it up in a shaded area to air dry.


Washing your sleeping bag may seem like a daunting task, but it’s important to keep it fresh and clean to ensure it lasts for many camping trips to come. By following these simple steps, you can easily wash your sleeping bag and keep it in top condition. Remember to always check the care label and avoid using harsh chemicals or high heat when washing and drying your sleeping bag.