Chill Out: The Best Way to Clean Winter Coats

Winter coats need special care.
Winter coats need special care. / Starkovphoto/iStock via Getty Images

For large portions of the country, summer days are quickly giving way to fall chills. Before long, some of us will be human Popsicles, braving the elements in overstuffed winter jackets. And while this bulky apparel can keep us from looking like Jack Nicholson at the end of The Shining, they do present one problem—how best to clean them.

Odds are you may not have laundered your coats since last winter. According to The Spruce, it’s probably a good idea to aim to clean the coats twice per season. And while dragging them to the dry cleaners seems like the easiest solution, you can do it at home so long as you’re mindful of the care needed for different kinds of fabrics. (There are exceptions like wool and natural fur, which are manufactured in such a way that makes cleaning them too difficult for your average laundry trip. Take those to the cleaners.)

Washing Down Coats

Considered nature's insulator, down gets a bad rap for being difficult to clean. It's not: Down is washable at home using cool or warm water on a gentle cycle. (Try to use a large-capacity machine without an agitator so it can move freely.) Dry low and finish with an air dry out of the dryer. If the care label recommends dry clean only, it's probably because of the outer material, not the down itself.

Washing Fleece Coats

Use cool or warm water on a permanent press setting. Dry on low or air-dry. (It'll dry quickly.) Try to make sure you’re not washing it as part of a load to avoid it collecting lint. You can also turn the jacket inside-out to help cut down on fuzzy consequences.

Washing Faux Fur Coats

You’re best off hand-washing faux fur in cool water and letting it air-dry. If you stick it in the dryer, you might melt the fibers. Brushing it afterward can help re-fluff the material.

Washing Leather Coats

Handwashing leather is best. You can wipe it down with a mild detergent and then wipe with a wet cloth. You’ll want to make sure you test the dye with a clean cloth on the interior to make sure it won’t run. If it does, it’s not going to be safe to wash. Take it to the dry cleaner.

[h/t The Spruce]