How to Wash A Winter Coat: Laundry Hacks

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For better or for worse, those of us who live in cold climates have been busting out the winter coats. After my coat’s been sitting in the closet for six months, I like to give it a wash before spending the next six months living in it. 

And inevitably, at one point during the winter, I’m going to have a spill or a stain that I’ll have to deal with. Amazingly, a poll from Hammonds, a UK-based furniture company, revealed that 38% of people wash their winter coats once a year or LESS! 

As a rule of thumb, we should be cleaning our winter coats twice per season and as needed. I think something that stops people from cleaning their coats is that they don’t know how. I get it! Washing a winter coat can feel like a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. 

That’s why I’m going to cover how to wash a winter coat, including down coats, wool coats, and faux fur, so that you can wash your coat with confidence. 

How to Wash A Wool Coat 

Wool coats are some of the most popular coats out there, but how the heck do you wash them?! If laundering a wool coat has stopped you from buying one in the past, or if your wool coat is getting a little… un-fresh, it’s time to clean it. 

For most wool coats, dry cleaning is your best option. And that’s the end of the article! Just kidding, but if your wool coat tag says dry clean only, I would not suggest cleaning it at home. 

If you don’t want to dry clean your coat and your wool coat doesn’t say dry clean only, you can wash it in your washing machine. Before doing this, you’ll need to prepare your wool coat for washing. 

To prep your wool coat for washing, use a garment brush and brush the coat in a downward motion. Do this over a towel so any dirt and debris that comes off can be easily cleaned up. Then, spot treat any stains with a product that is certified for wool garments. 

Once stains are treated, turn the coat inside out and place it in a mesh washing bag to avoid snagging the material. If your washing machine has a wool cycle, that’s ideal. If not, set your washing machine to the gentle cycle and only use a wool wash, not regular laundry detergent.

Hang your wool coat flat to dry. And if this seems like too much work, it’s time for a dry cleaning run! 

Setting the cycle on the washing machine

How to Wash A Down Winter Coat

Down winter coats are really popular and really warm, but they’re also quite expensive. So preserve your down coat for as long as possible by caring for it and washing it correctly. Luckily, down coats are easier to wash than wool. 

Before putting your down coat into a washing machine, pretreat any stains. Down coats should be washed in a front-loading washing machine or a washing machine without a center agitator for best results. This is because you want very gentle agitation for your down coats. 

Add your detergent, making sure to choose a detergent specially formulated for down coats. When your cycle is finished, you can dry your down coat in the dryer on a low heat cycle. I recommend adding wool dryer balls to fluff your coat back up after it’s tumble in the washing machine. 

When your coat is at that slightly damp stage, take it out of the dryer and hang dry until thoroughly dry to avoid any shrinkage or heat damage. 

Melissa Maker putting winter coat into washing machine

How to Wash Faux Fur Trim 

Many of us have coats with faux fur trim. When you buy it, this is really stylish, but when that faux fur gets matted and grimy, your coat stops looking glamorous. Luckily, it’s easy to get that fur trim looking luxurious and new. 

This may not be what you want to hear, but I recommend hand washing if you’re washing faux fur. It’s more work than the washing machine, but you don’t want to risk ruining a piece of your coat!

If possible, remove the fur trim from your coat. If not, just work around it and then clean the rest of your coat according to the tag instructions.  

Fill a basin or sink with cool water and a tablespoon of gentle detergent. Add your faux fur and make sure it’s submerged entirely, then let soak for 10 minutes. Squeeze out the soapy water and rinse until the water runs clear. 

Roll your faux fur up in a towel and squeeze gently to get out as much water as possible. Then air dry on a drying rack until fully dry. Only once your fur is fully dry, brush gently with a soft brush. 

Melissa Maker holding coat and faux fur coat trim

Wash Winter Coats the Right Way

Washing a winter coat can be a lot of work, depending on the material. But console yourself with the knowledge that you only have to wash them a couple of times a season. Unless you spill your mulled wine all over your white parka, but that’s a whole other story. 

Stay cozy and warm with your fresh, clean winter coat! And don’t forget, Clean My Space has so many articles to help you get through your laundry, including 5 Annoying Laundry Problems Solved and How to Wash Cloth Face Masks. 

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

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