Why Clean a Quilt at All?
Before we talk about how to clean a quilt, it’s important to understand why it’s even worth cleaning a quilt. Our sleeping quilts function best and are most comfortable when clean. However, backpacking is anything but a clean process, especially for extended trips like thru-hikes.
Can’t I just wash it myself?
You absolutely can. However, the process of washing down-filled items like our sleeping quilts at home can be both risky and tedious. All said and done, the process of properly washing a down-filled quilt takes nearly an entire day of stressful & physical work, that can still damage a quilt if done incorrectly.
So What is CO2 Cleaning?
CO2 dry cleaning is a sustainable alternative to traditional cleaning methods. Unlike conventional washing, eClean's CO2 cleaning service uses recycled liquid CO2 as a solvent. This eliminates the need for water, toxic detergents, and there's also no need for heat in the drying process.
Because of this lack of water, detergents, and heat, CO2 fabricare offers a gentle yet thorough cleaning that preserves the loft and insulation properties of the down feathers in your quilt, ensuring its long-lasting performance.
In short - CO2 is able to penetrate deep into the fabric and effectively remove that 'trail funk' (stubborn mud, sweat, or oil stains), but it's also gentle enough to prevent things like color loss & shrinkage.
It's kind of a win-win for your quilt & the environment too, as you could be saving dozens of gallons of water compared to traditional wet washing methods as well.
Our Personal Testing
We wanted to see if it was as good as it sounded, so we sent in a quilt that traveled the full Pacific Crest Trail to eClean, and have pictures to show the color, cleanliness, and loft restored through the process. We sent in the quilt anonymously, so we're confident we weren't shown any preferential treatment throughout this process.
Overall, we think this is the way to go for quilt cleaning right now. Compared to handwashing, we saw time and energy being spared while coming in at an affordable cost of $59.99 for our quilts. It took approximately two weeks from start to finish, and the cost covers shipping both ways.
(Above and below) This 20° Enigma we sent in had large, oily stains that were removed or severely lessened.
The smell went from, "I can't imagine sleeping in this again," to smelling like new.
(Above) Lastly, we saw over an inch in loft restoration from the process.
The Final Take
Today, we learned that keeping your sleeping quilt clean isn't just about stains - keeping those down feathers fluffy is the key to your quilt performing it's best.
While it is definitely possible to clean your own quilt, by opting for a CO2 cleaning service like eClean, you can save yourself a good amount of elbow grease, water, time, and effort while getting the most out of your quilt!