How to Clean Sleeping Bags - Your Complete Guide


Keep your outdoor adventures fresh and clean with our expert guide on how to clean sleeping bags.

How do you feel about camping? On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being “I’d rather have a root canal” and 10 being “I’d live in the woods if I could”, how would you rate your interest in being one with nature? Camping can be a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work. And odds are, you’re bringing a lot of laundry back with you–including your bulky sleeping bags. Sleeping bags don’t need to be washed after every camping trip, but you should wash them at least once a year, or before you put them in storage for the season. Proper cleaning is not only hygienic, but can extend the lifespan of your sleeping bag. It’s important to know how to clean sleeping bags, because if not washed properly, dirt and body oils can migrate into the fill, making it less fluffy and warm.

What is the best way to clean a sleeping bag?

When it comes to cleaning your sleeping bag, you have two options: in a washing machine or by hand. Using a washing machine is easier, but may require a trip to the laundromat. Always check the care label on your sleeping bag before washing to see if there are any special instructions, as some may be hand wash only or require professional cleaning.

How to Clean Sleeping Bags in a Washing Machine

  1. Use a mild detergent, like our Stain & Odor Laundry Pods.
  2. Be sure to check the bag’s care label for special instructions! If there are none, typical instructions include washing in warm and rinsing in cold water.
  3. Most sleeping bags can go in the dryer at a low temperature. An oversized, commercial dryer will be more effective in getting it completely dry. You may need to run several cycles. Add a Wool Dryer Ball or two to help speed up drying time and keep the fill fluffy and evenly distributed!

Pro Tip: Try the Laundromat for an oversized front-loading machine, which has a rotating drum instead of an agitator. Do not use a top-loading machine, because its agitator can tangle strings and straps and cause additional damage to your sleeping bag.

How to Clean Sleeping Bags in a Bathtub

  1. Place the sleeping bag in the tub and fill with warm water.
  2. Add a mild detergent, like our Stain & Odor Laundry Pods or Ultra Concentrated Laundry Detergent.
  3. Step in and push the bag down with your feet to submerge it completely. Move the bag around with your hands to gently clean it. This step is a great way to get the kids involved!
  4. Follow up this step with a cold rinse to remove all suds.
  5. Drip dry, line dry or use an oversized dryer on a low setting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have more questions about how to clean sleeping bags? We’re here to help.

Should sleeping bags be washed?

Sleeping bags should be washed at least once a year, or before being put in long-term storage. If you are using your sleeping bag very frequently or if it is very visibly dirty (surprise rain shower lead to surprise mud, anyone?), you may want to wash it more often. Washing your sleeping bag is not only hygienic, but will extend the life of your sleeping bag!

Can you put a sleeping bag in the dryer?

While you should always check the care instructions on your specific sleeping bag, as a general rule sleeping bags can be put in a dryer. Dry on low or medium heat to avoid melting the fabric or synthetic fill. You may need to use more than one dry cycle to fully dry the sleeping bag. Add a Wool Dryer Ball or two to help speed up the process (and keep the fill fluffy and clump-free)!

Why can't you wash a sleeping bag?

You can absolutely wash a sleeping bag! Our tips and guides above should help you learn how to clean sleeping bags in no time.