Why Does My Down Jacket Smell?


A down jacket is a great way to stay warm and comfortable during the cold winter months. However, over time, a down jacket can start to smell bad. In this article, we’ll explore some of the common reasons why down jackets can develop bad smells and what you can do to prevent and remove them.

What Causes a Down Jacket to Smell?

Body Odor

One of the most common causes of bad smells in down jackets is body odor. When we wear our down jackets, we sweat, and the sweat gets trapped in the down and feathers. As the sweat dries, it can leave behind an odor. If a down jacket is not washed or cleaned regularly, the odor can become more pronounced over time.

Mold and Mildew

Another common cause of bad smells in down jackets is mold and mildew. These types of smells are caused by the growth of mold and mildew in the down and feathers. This can happen if the jacket is stored in a damp or humid place, or if it gets wet and is not properly dried.

Smoke and Other Odors

Down jackets can also absorb odors from smoke and other sources. This can happen if a jacket is worn around people who smoke, or if it’s stored in a closet or other space that smells bad.

How to Remove the Smell from a Down Jacket

Step 1: Identify the source of the smell

The first step in removing the smell from a down jacket is to identify the source of the smell. If the smell is caused by body odor, it can be removed by washing the jacket. If the smell is caused by mold or mildew, it may require a more thorough cleaning.

Step 2: Clean the jacket

Down jackets should be cleaned using a mild detergent and cold water. Avoid using hot water or putting the jacket in the dryer, as this can damage the down and feathers. Instead, let the jacket air dry completely before wearing or storing it.

Step 3: Deodorize the jacket

Once the jacket is clean, it’s a good idea to deodorize it to help prevent the smell from returning. A simple way to deodorize a down jacket is to stuff it with newspaper and let it sit for several days. The newspaper will absorb any remaining odors.

Step 4: Use odor absorbers

Another way to remove bad smells from a down jacket is to use odor absorbers such as charcoal or baking soda. Simply place a small bag of charcoal or a box of baking soda in the jacket, and leave it overnight. The charcoal or baking soda will absorb the odors.

Step 5: Professional Cleaning

If the smell is persistent and you have tried all the above methods but still unable to get rid of the smell, it is best to take your down jacket to a professional cleaner. A professional cleaner will have the tools and expertise to properly clean and deodorize your down jacket, ensuring that it’s free from bad smells and in the best condition possible.

How to Prevent Your Down Jacket from Smelling

Step 1: Wash it regularly

Washing your down jacket regularly is one of the most effective ways to prevent bad smells from developing. Most down jackets can be washed in a machine on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. Be sure to read the care instructions on your jacket before washing it.

Step 2: Dry it properly

It’s important to dry your down jacket properly after washing it to prevent mold and mildew from growing. Avoid using a dryer, instead, let the jacket air dry completely. If possible, dry it in the sun, as the UV rays can kill bacteria and mold spores.

Step 3: Store it properly

Storing your down jacket in a cool, dry place will help prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Avoid storing your jacket in damp or humid areas, such as a basement or attic. Instead, store it in a closet or other dry space.

Step 4: Avoid smoking or being around smoke

Smoke can stick to down and be hard to remove, so it’s best to avoid smoking or being around smoke when wearing your down jacket.

Step 5: Use a jacket cover

When not in use, store your jacket in a breathable jacket cover to keep it in good condition and to protect it from dust and odors.

How to Remove the Smell from a Down Jacket Without Washing It

Step 1: Air it out

One of the simplest ways to remove bad smells from a down jacket is to air it out. Hang the jacket outside on a clothesline or inside on a hanger for a few hours, or even better a couple of days if weather permits, to allow fresh air to circulate through the feathers and remove any odors.

Step 2: Use a fabric freshener

A fabric freshener, such as a spray or a dryer sheet, can help remove bad smells from a down jacket without washing it. Simply spray the freshener on the jacket or place a dryer sheet in the pocket and let it sit for several hours. The fabric freshener will absorb the odors.

Step 3: Use Baking Soda

Another effective way to remove bad smells from a down jacket is to use baking soda. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda all over the jacket, and let it sit for several hours. After that, use a vacuum cleaner to remove the baking soda from the jacket.

Step 4: Use Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is a natural odor absorber that can be used to remove bad smells from a down jacket. Place a few activated charcoal briquettes in a small cloth bag, and put it inside the jacket. Leave it there for a couple of days, and the activated charcoal will absorb the bad smells.

Why does my brand-new Down Jacket smell?

A brand-new down jacket may smell bad for a variety of reasons. One possible explanation is that it was chemically treated during the manufacturing process to make it water-resistant or fire-resistant. These chemicals can emit a strong odor that can take some time to dispel.

Another reason could be that the jacket was stored in an area where it was exposed to odors such as smoke or chemicals.

Another possibility is that the down used in the jacket is of poor quality and was not properly washed before being used in the jacket, so it is carrying the odor. It’s also worth noting that some people are more sensitive to certain odors than others, so what one person perceives as a strong smell may be missed by another.

In any case, airing out the jacket and storing it in a well-ventilated area can help to dissipate any odors. If the smell persists, it may be best to contact the manufacturer for further advice.

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