How to Flatten a Down Coat That Is Too Puffy

by Bridget Johnson ; Updated September 28, 2017

Keep puffy down manageable while not degrading its functionality.

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You love the warmth that a puffy down jacket brings, but trying to shove it back into your closet is like wrestling with an abominable snow monster, and wearing it on the subway nearly takes up an extra seat. Keep the puff factor down to a minimum with your very own washer and dryer -- just be sure to check the care label to verify that your coat is washer-safe.

Items you will need

  • Washer
  • Dryer
  • Books
Step 1

Throw your down puffer in the washer for natural decompression; the feathery effectiveness diminishes when it gets wet.

Step 2

Put your down coat in the dryer for as little time as possible. The wash-and-dry cycle will bring tired old down back to life, but you can control how much the feathers are puffing out in the heat cycle. Using the lowest heat on your dryer, pull out the jacket to check on its progress every 15 minutes.

Step 3

Let the air do the bulk of the drying. A bit of tumble drying will help keep the feathers evenly distributed, but once the jacket has reached its desired level of puffiness you can let it air dry the rest of the way -- or hang it up to dry once out of the washer, manually breaking up any feather clumps as it dries.

Step 4

You can temporarily compress a down jacket with weight. Lay it flat on a hard surface such as a table top, and place books of approximately the same size and weight across the face of the coat. Leave the books on overnight, and the next morning the coat will be flatter. A similar compression effect can be achieved by using a vacuum-assisted space-saver sealed bag.

Tips

  • Make future compressions easier by purchasing a down jacket with the highest number of fill power that you can afford and seams that hold the fill in place.

    Check the label of your jacket to make sure you're not dealing with a synthetic fill, which can seem quite down-like but has a puffy quality that holds its shape despite efforts to compress its heft.

    To evenly distribute a down jacket's insulation in the dryer, add three new tennis balls to the low-heat cycle.

Warnings

  • Do not store a down jacket for an extended amount of time in any compression bag, including vacuum-assisted storage bags, as this will degrade the down.

    Check a jacket's washing instructions before attempting to run it through a washer and dryer.

    Use low heat to avoid scorching the jacket material or feathers.

    Do not overwash a down jacket. A couple of times per season is enough to keep it clean and the feathers well-maintained without damaging the fill.

Photo Credits

  • catalin_grigoriu/iStock/Getty Images