How to fluff a down jacket without a dryer: our simple guide

A woman washing a down jacket
how to fluff a down jacket without a dryer (Image credit: RossHelen)

Knowing how to fluff a down jacket without a dryer will help you maintain the lifespan of your premium puffer.

If you want to wash your down jacket but don’t have a tumble dryer to fluff it back up afterwards, it's not a problem. We're here with a simple guide to how to fluff a down jacket without a dryer, which breaks down how to maintain the loft in your down jacket so it keeps performing winter season after winter season.

If you’ve read our feature on fill power, you’ll know that your favorite down jacket keeps you warm by trapping air between the feathers and warming it using your own radiated body heat. It should go without saying, the more air inside your jacket, the better it is at performing its task. That’s why there’s nothing worse than a sorry, deflated-looking down jacket when it comes to staying cozy. 

How to fluff a down jacket without a dryer: Close up of blue down material

There’s nothing worse than a deflated-looking down jacket when it comes to staying warm (Image credit: Kseniya Ovchinnikova)

A premium down jacket doesn't come cheap. The bad news is that they are as fragile as they are expensive, so a bit of TLC is required to really get your money's worth. To keep yours in top condition for as long as possible, make sure you wash it regularly to remove bacteria and dry it properly to keep the down in good condition. If you don’t own a tumble dryer, you can still wash your down jacket and fluff it by hand. It does take a little longer, so you’ll probably want to wash your down jacket in the morning, so you aren’t awake in the early hours fluffing it.

Here's our guide on how to do this:

how to fluff a down jacket without a dryer: puffer jacket

Down jackets are no small investment and are some of the most fragile outdoor gear around (Image credit: Colombia)

1. Squeeze excess moisture from your jacket 

After washing your jacket, squeeze the excess moisture out of it. However, don't be tempted to wring it out like you should a wet cloth, as this can damage the fabric. The best way to squeeze the moisture out is to hang it over the sink and squeeze from the shoulders down to the sleeves and the collar down to the waist. Squeeze as much water out as you can, but be gentle. 

2. Hang your jacket up to dry 

Pop a hanger through you down jacket and leave it to hang somewhere cool to dry. Try to avoid humid conditions and use a drying closet if you have one, or a bedroom closet.  

3. Hand fluff your jacket  

This part is the most hard work. Every half an hour, remove the jacket from the hanger and give it a vigorous shake. Then, gently massage the jacket using your fingers to separate any feathers that have formed into clumps. It’s a good idea to set a timer for every 30 minutes, just so that you don't forget. You’ll repeat this process for five hours, fluffing your jacket ten times total. 

Finally, don’t pack your jacket away if it is still damp or it will start to smell. 

Other tips for the care of your down jacket

Sometimes, packing your puffer tight into a suitcase or a kit bag is unavoidable but you should try to make sure it doesn't suffer this fate too often or for too long. Compressing the jacket for long periods of time can effect the loft, flattening it and reducing its thermal qualities. Store your jacket in a way that helps to maintain its shape.

how to fluff a down jacket without a dryer: Matt Jones

If your hike takes you into rough terrain, consider whether you really need a down jacket as your outer layer (Image credit: Matthew Jones)

Another great tip to increase the lifespan of your down jacket is to avoid wearing it when you're taking on rough and rugged terrain. As mentioned, a down jacket is a relatively fragile outer layer, especially compared to a robust, waterproof hard shell. When you're thrashing your way through branches in the woods or taking on a rocky scramble, consider whether or not you really need to be wearing your down jacket.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.