Sleeping bag whiffy?
QMy sleeping bag is emitting a bit of a smelly odour but I’m hesitant to put it in the washing machine. Are there better ways of cleaning my bag?
Yes, there’s a couple of easy ways to help keep your sleeping bag smelling sweet. To begin with, and it may sound obvious, always sleep in fresh, clean clothes so you don’t be transfer the sweaty whiff of a day in the hills to your sleeping bag. This may not always be an option, though, in which case consider investing in a sleeping bag liner – these add extra warmth and are much, much easier to wash and dry.
Aside from these tips, it’s critical the only time your bag is compressed in its sack is when you’re walking. Compressing the insulating fibres means you’re concealing the musty odours and not letting them breathe.
3 DE-SMELLING SOLUTIONS
1 Flip your sleeping bag inside out and leave it hanging in the sun for eight hours to aerate – this will neutralise any odour. 2 Lay the inside-out bag on the grass and in the sun – the chlorophyll from the grass will help nullify the whiff. If the smell won’t disappear naturally, take it to a dry cleaners or handwash it yourself. 3 All sleeping bags come with their own cleaning instructions, but your safest bet is to handwash it yourself. With this gentle approach, you must only use a mild detergent or pure soap flakes so you don’t damage the bag.
Pick a good outside drying day (fine, warm, dry and a bit breezy, wherever possible), wash it in a bath then hang up to drain and dry. Ensure that it’s fully dry before you pack it away ready for your next adventure. The smell of a damp sleeping bag that’s been left to moistly fester in its own juices means even the midges won’t want to stay with you when you unpack it!
Alternatively, if your bag is only a bit grubby, a quick spray and wipe with a dedicated gear cleaner and a damp cloth may be all that’s required.
Shake out and air your sleeping bag each day it’s in use to help maintain its loft and keep it smelling clean and fresh.
Cotton or fleece sleeping bag liners cost from a few quid up to the luxury mummyshaped silk options, like this Rab one at £55.