With proper care, your Jacks ‘R’ Better down quilt will maintain its loft and ability to keep you warm.
One of the keys to the long life of down products is proper storage. Quilts should be stored in a cool and dry location. They should not be stored in a compressed manner, such as in a compression or stuff sack. Ideally, they should be stored in their included packaging, a large laundry bag, laying flat (e.g. under a bed), or hung uncompressed in a closet.
Keeping your quilt clean is important. Your Jacks ‘R’ Better down quilt can, and definitely should, be cleaned when it starts to accumulate oils. If your quilt has started to lose loft, or the fabric is badly discolored, it is time for the quilt to be washed. Body oils, hair oils, lotions, and cosmetics are all acidic and will slowly decompose down. DO NOT DRY CLEAN your quilt. Either wash the quilt yourself by carefully following the detailed cleaning instructions below, or have an experienced cleaner WASH your quilt using a special down soap.
There is no reason, with proper handling, for your quilt to touch the ground. If it does, remove light dirt, leaves, and debris with a light brushing. After returning from a trip, a light sponging with a damp sponge or with a down detergent and a second sponging to rinse will postpone the need to wash your quilt. When used as an under-quilt the hammock bottom serves as a protective liner to keep your body oils and perspiration from the quilt.
When washing is required, your Jacks ‘R’ Better quilt(s) may be machine washed in a front-loading washing machine. Use the gentle cycle, pre-soak, extra rinse, and spin dry cycles. DO NOT wash in a top-loading, agitator-type washing machine. Before putting your quilt in the washing machine be sure to fasten the foot box omni-tape on the leg end sides upon itself, it will snag the quilt material otherwise. Also fasten the snap at the top of the foot box omni-tape. If washing a torso length underquilt remove the shock cord suspension prior to washing. The cord is easily replaced using a hood turner as a threader, available in most fabric and sewing stores for under $5. When transferring your quilt from the washer to the dryer, be sure to place your hands under the quilt and lift it from the bottom. Do not grab the wet quilt from the top to pull and lift as the weight of the wet material and down could cause internal quilt damage. It is important to handle wet quilts carefully using the technique described.
If you do not have access to a front-loading washing machine, hand washing is recommended. Simply fill the bathtub or stationary tub with warm, not hot, water and use a down detergent. Do NOT use bleach or fabric softeners. Soak for up to an hour, but not longer. Soaking the quilt may require patience due to the DWR finish. You will have to work at getting all the down submerged. Gently knead the quilt from one end to the other, to ensure that all the down is thoroughly exposed to the soap. Rinse thoroughly with cold water. Use care when lifting the quilt wet. It is very heavy and can tear baffles if not supported. Gently press out excess water, or use an extractor if in a Laundromat. Water may be extracted in a regular upright washer by carefully arranging the quilt in the machine against the outer tub wall and using the spin cycle only. DO NOT RING OUT YOUR WET QUILT! It is important to eliminate as much water as is practical before the drying process.
Once the quilt is cleaned, it is time to dry it. It is safe to put a quilt into a commercial dryer set on permanent press or air fluff. The danger is too much heat. If you are unsure of the machine or its setting keep a close watch. Dials on public machines can be incorrect. If you feel the shell is getting hot, either select a lower temperature or air dry the quilt. Drying may take several cycles. During washing, the down will collect in clumps. Periodically during the drying process (at the end of each drying cycle or every few hours if air drying) it is important to go through the entire quilt and pull apart these down clumps, distributing the down more or less evenly through the quilt. This only takes a few seconds and will ensure that the down dries quickly and evenly. Alternatively, two or three tennis balls placed in the dryer will help gently break up clumps of down. Take care; dry it slowly, and completely. Your reward will be a clean, fully lofted quilt.
Washing a quilt is somewhat time-consuming, though not a particularly difficult process. It is an important element in quilt longevity. With regular washing, you can expect many years of service from your Jacks ‘R’ Better quilt.