How Often Should You Clean Your Sleeping Bag: The Answer May Surprise You

by Stevie Smith June 12, 2023 5 min read

How Often Should You Clean Your Sleeping Bag: The Answer May Surprise You

When it comes to camping gear, your sleeping bag is one of the most important items you own. It keeps you warm and cozy during chilly nights in the great outdoors. However, when it comes time to cleaning your sleeping bag - it seems like every brand and person has their own unique thoughts on the matter. So, today, we're going to take you through the do's and don'ts of cleaning sleeping bags, as well as what some of the top brands currently recommend ... and of course, how our CO2 dry cleaning can make this a worry of the past!

Why Clean Your Sleeping Bag?

Camp Fire and Sleeping Bag

Firstly, it's important to understand why you need to clean your sleeping bag. Dirt, sweat, and oils from your skin can accumulate inside your sleeping bag, which can cause the fabric to degrade and to lose insulation over time. This can result in a less comfortable sleep and can even be dangerous in extreme weather conditions. Additionally, a dirty sleeping bag can attract insects and other unwanted pests.

How Often Should You Clean Your Sleeping Bag?

Sleeping Bag

The frequency at which you should clean your sleeping bag depends on how often you use it and the conditions you use it in. As a general rule of thumb, you should clean your sleeping bag at least once a year. However, if you use your sleeping bag frequently or in extreme conditions such as very dusty or humid environments, you should clean it more often.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Options

Eco-Friendly Soap

When it comes to cleaning your sleeping bag, there are several eco-friendly options that you can try. These options are not only better for the environment, but they are also gentler on your sleeping bag.

Spot Cleaning

If your sleeping bag has only a few small stains or spots, you may be able to spot clean it instead of washing the entire bag. To spot clean your sleeping bag, you will need a gentle, eco-friendly detergent, a soft-bristled brush, and warm water. You can also use baking soda and vinegar in place of detergent for an even more eco-friendly option!

First, mix the detergent with warm water in a small bowl. Dip the brush into the solution and gently scrub the stained area. Be careful not to scrub too hard, as this can damage the insulation. Once you have removed the stain, rinse the area with clean water and allow it to air dry.

Hand Washing

If your sleeping bag needs a more thorough cleaning, you can hand wash it using a gentle, eco-friendly detergent and warm water. To hand wash your sleeping bag, you will need a large sink or bathtub, a gentle detergent, and warm water.

First, fill the sink or bathtub with enough warm water to submerge the sleeping bag. Add the detergent and mix well. Place the sleeping bag in the water and gently agitate it with your hands. Be careful not to scrub too hard or twist the bag, as this can damage the insulation.

Once you have washed the sleeping bag, drain the water and refill the sink or bathtub with clean water. Rinse the sleeping bag several times to remove all the soap. Finally, gently squeeze out the excess water and hang the sleeping bag to air dry.

Dry Cleaning

If you prefer not to wash your sleeping bag yourself, you can take it to a dry cleaner or apparel care cleaner that uses eco-friendly cleaning methods. Look for a chemical free dry cleaner that uses non-toxic solvents and has experience cleaning sleeping bags. 

Brand Recommended Care Instructions

Packing For Camping

Most top of the line brands do not recommend machine washing. Instead, they recommend hand washing or using a textile cleaning company that is knowledgeable about the specific insulation and fabric of your sleeping bag. Some brand recommended care instructions include the following.


The recommended care for anREI sleeping bag is first, to care for it during and after use. When it comes to washing, the company recommends using gentle detergents for spot cleaning and professional cleaning for deep cleaning. While machine washing is not recommended, REI suggests using a large industrial washer from a laundromat and following the instructions on the individual product tag. 


Teton is a eco friendly brand that recommends gently spot cleaning of their sleeping bags. When deep cleaning is necessary, they suggest submerging the bag in the bathtub with a gentle cleaner and agitating it manually to break up any dirt or debris. Machine washing is NOT recommended as it will likely cause irreparable damage. 

Big Agnes

Big Agnes never recommends washing in a washing machine with an agitator. Instead, they recommend using a large industrial washer, such as those found at a laundromat. Use warm water and gentle detergent. For drying they recommend using no heated dry for several hours until the bag feels completely dry. Finally, hang the bag to dry for an additional 3-4 hours to prevent clumping. 

Western Mountaineering

Western Mountaineering recommends hand cleaning in the tub when it is time to deep clean. Different bags may have different specifications on how to best deep clean, but in general, use a gentle detergent and submerge in water. Rinse thoroughly (five or more times) to ensure all soap is gone. Never wring out the sleeping bag. Allow to dry in the sun. 

The North Face

The recommended care for aNorth Face sleeping bag is to use a professional down sleeping bag cleaning service. While they do state it is possible to wash at home, they do not recommend it and, therefore, do not provide any instructions.

The Best Cleaning Option: eClean Advanced Fabricare

eClean Advanced Fabricare

If you want to restore your sleeping bag to like-new conditions, the best cleaning option is eClean Advanced Fabricare. We are a professional cleaning service that specializes in cleaning outdoor gear, including sleeping bags.

We use a state-of-the-art liquid CO2 cleaning process that is gentle on your sleeping bag while effectively removing dirt, sweat, and oils. The process uses green CO2 dry cleaning that is safe for the environment and your sleeping bag.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, it's important to clean your sleeping bag regularly to maintain its insulation and ensure a comfortable sleep. There are several eco-friendly cleaning options available, including spot cleaning, hand washing, and dry cleaning. However, if you want to restore your sleeping bag to like-new conditions, the best option is eClean Advanced Fabricare. By taking care of yoursleeping bag, you'll be able to enjoy many comfortable nights in the great outdoors.

Also in CO2 Dry Cleaning Blog

How To Buy Used Outdoor Gear & Apparel With Confidence
How To Buy Used Outdoor Gear & Apparel With Confidence

by Stevie Smith January 06, 2024 8 min read

How Outdoor Retailers Are Leading The Sustainability Charge In 2023
How Outdoor Retailers Are Leading The Sustainability Charge In 2023

by Stevie Smith December 06, 2023 4 min read

Why Is My Sleeping Bag So Cold?
Why Is My Sleeping Bag So Cold?

by Stevie Smith October 09, 2023 3 min read

Has your trusty sleeping bag started to get a little too cold for mountain & winter use, or are you just noticing that it's not feeling the same as it did when it was new? It's a frustrating experience that can leave you longing for a good night's sleep. 

In this article, we dive into the reasons behind insulation loss in sleeping bags, specifically focusing on down-filled ones. We'll explore the science behind the properties of down, the impact of washing machines, and common causes for reduced insulation.