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How to Properly Wash Winter Clothes at Home

Special care for your special winter coats, jackets, and ski gear.

Winter clothes are tough when you need them to be tough. They keep you warm. But, they can be quite gentle to wash. To properly wash winter clothes, they need special care. Here are some tips.

How Often to Wash Winter Clothes

You really shouldn’t be washing your winter clothes more than a few times per winter.

Winter clothes often involve more than one layer. This is intentional. Layering helps keep you warm but it also acts as a barrier between your body and your winter outerwear. Winter outerwear is the outermost layer – which does not get as soiled by body odor, sweat, skin, and hair.

Every winter garment is different and every situation is different. To make an accurate estimate, we would need to see the garment, but here are our best high level suggestions for deciding how often to wash your winter clothes.

Down parkas and vests – 2 times a season
Dress pants and skirts – 2 times a season
Fleece jackets and sweatshirts – after 6 to 7 wears
Hats, gloves & scarves – 3 to 5 times a season
Outerwear – once per season

Washing Winter Clothes for Storage

There are three rules for storing your winter clothes:

  1. Clean Clothes Before Storing: Dirt, dust, smells, skin cells, and hair attract bacteria, bugs, and moisture. You don’t want bacteria, bugs, or moisture attracted to your winter clothes while they are stored away. In particular, moths can be attracted to scent which is a quick way to get moth holes on your favorite winter garments. Clean your clothes before storing them away for the year. Choose a scent free detergent if you are washing these garments at home. Or, send them to a dry cleaner for a professional clean.

  2. Fold Clothes in Storage. Don’t Hang Clothes in Storage: Hanging clothes for an extended period of time puts unnecessary stress on the fabric. Gravity is the enemy when it comes to storing your winter clothes. Instead of hanging your garments during the off season, fold them. You’ll find that the next time you wear them, the shoulders will fit better, the collars will be less worn, and you’ll prevent any unwanted dimples. Plus, your winter clothes will last longer.

  3. Control the Storage Environment: When choosing where to store your winter garments, you want to find a place that is dry and temperature controlled. Fluctuations in temperature can cause moisture. And, moisture can cause mold. A closet inside your house works well but try to avoid your garage, your attic, or unattached storage sheds. 

Dry Cleaning Winter Clothes

Dry cleaning your winter clothes at the end of winter cleans your clothes. But, it also prepares them for storage by tidying up the original shape, color, and texture. Storing your winter clothes is a long hibernation. You want to make sure your clothes are well prepared for this hibernation.

If they are not properly cleaned, stains can set, bacteria can spread, and fabric fibers can weaken. 

Key Steps in the Dry Cleaning Process

Our dry cleaning process very similar to the traditional dry cleaning process you are used to.


The cleaning process safely cleans your special garments without using water. Garments are placed in a large industrial machine and then submerged in the chemical solvent. The clothes are cleaned at a low-spin rate – ideal for soaking stains and not causing too much agitation to delicate garments.  All garments are checked for stains before being pressed.


Pressing is a laundry word for “ironing.” After the cleaning, your garments are pressed for a crisp, professional look.

Any garments that can’t be pressed are finished with a steam treatment to remove any wrinkles or imperfections. All dry cleaning garments are checked by a “Spotter” before packaging.


Hanging items will be packaged in a plastic garment cover and then placed back inside your Black 2ULaundry Bag.

Orders are typically bundled in groups of 6-10 items to uphold quality and prevent wrinkles. The 2ULaundry delivery will follow notes in your account as to where to hang the garments for delivery.

Steam Cleaning Winter Clothes

Steam is a one-of-a-kind sanitizer that is both gentle and penetrating at the same time. For the most part, it does a really good job cleaning without any risk of damage. Steam Cleaning your special garments is a great way to save. There are two ways to steam clean your winter clothes:

  • In a Washing Machine: Sometimes this is in your washing machine. When it comes to laundry, a washing machine incorporates steam into the cycle to rid clothing of stains or odors. When used without detergents or other artificial products, steam cleaning is a very eco-friendly way of cleaning.
  • With a Garment Steamer: A typical large or medium steamer consists of a water tank, heating element and long metal rod, as well as a rubber hose with a brush attached to remove hair and lint. The water is added to the tank and heated until it boils and becomes vapor. You apply the steam to a garment via the rubber hose, using soft, sweeping motions. Garments can be hung on the metal rod or on a regular clothes hanger.

Interested in learning more? We put together a Comprehensive Guide to Steam Cleaning.

At Home Dry Cleaning Kit for Winter Clothes

When it comes to cleaning clothes, the question you should ask your self is “where does the dirt go?”

In a pinch, at home dry cleaning kits work. However, they are not effective for removing stains or cleaning your garments. After all, where does the dirt go? Instead of cleaning your garments, at-home dry cleaning kits neutralize odors. The dirt goes nowhere. It is still in your garment…

And, that is ok. Most of the time when you are in a pinch, you need a quick solution. At home dry cleaning kits are a fine quick solution. However, if you are not addressing the root cleaning occasionally, your garment is slowly becoming more and more soiled. While the order is being neutralized, the dirt and stains are piling up.

At home dry cleaning kits work particularly well for sweaters. However, you’ll still want to wash or dry clean your sweater occasionally. 

What we have found works best is this. 

  • Keep a stock of at home dry cleaning kits in case you have a last-minute need.
  • Don’t fully substitute cleaning your garments with these at home dry cleaning kits. Instead, use them as a ‘get out of jail free’ card when you find yourself in a jam.
How to Wash Cashmere Sweater | 2ULaundry | How to Properly Wash Winter Clothes at Home

How to Clean Cashmere Sweaters

No matter what the tag says, and it’s very important to check the tag, it’s often best to hand wash cashmere. Additionally, to preserve its softness and shape, it’s best to wash it as few times per season as possible. Instead of tossing your cashmere sweater in the machine each time you wear it like you might other tops, consider layering with an undershirt whenever you wear it to help keep your sweater clean. When you do wash cashmere, hand-washing with just a few drops of Woolite or baby shampoo – as opposed to standard detergent – will prevent damaging the fabric and help keep it looking fresh.

Never hang a cashmere sweater to dry. Instead, to avoid stretching, lay it flat and gently pat it with a towel before letting the sweater air dry. Oftentimes, this can be done at home by laying it on top of a towel on your bed, couch, or table.

How to Wash Wool Coat | 2ULaundry | How to Properly Wash Winter Clothes at Home

How to Clean Wool Coats

Wool coats should be dry cleaned at the beginning and end of every season. If you wear your coat frequently, consider adding a mid-season dry cleaning session to your routine. In between dry cleaning, use a lint brush after each wear to keep your coat fresh. Remove any small surface stains by promptly and gently blotting the stain until it’s no longer visible–no rubbing!

How to Wash Down Jacket | 2ULaundry | How to Properly Wash Winter Clothes at Home

How to Clean Down Jackets

Surprisingly, down jackets and vests can typically be washed using a regular machine cycle with standard laundry detergent. When you wash your down jacket or vest, be sure not to add more detergent than necessary as it can cause clumps to appear in the down and prevent it from staying as fluffy as it was prior to washing. Down material is feather. Feathers deflect water. If you soak the feathers is detergent or softener, they will no longer be able to deflect water and will no longer be fluffy.

For jackets and vests with visible surface stains, consider soaking the item in cool water before washing. When it comes to drying, avoid using high heat as this can cause the jacket or vest to bunch up or dry in clumps. Adding a tennis ball or two to the dryer can also aid in keeping the jacket or vest fluffy.

With down, you’ll find that the battle is keeping the fluffy. Using dryer balls in the dryer will make sure your jacket stays fluffy – evenly – due to the extra bouncing around your dryer..

How to Wash Fleece Jacket | 2ULaundry | How to Properly Wash Winter Clothes at Home

How to Clean Fleece Jackets

‍‍Lint and pilling is the biggest risk of washing fleece jackets. It occurs when clothing fibers fray or break. While washing your items inside out won’t prevent this fraying or breaking from happening, it will make sure that it only happens on the inside of your items, keeping the outside looking fresh and new for longer.

Pilling is when the balls of fuzz start to accumulate on your garment. They’re not balls – in fact they are little knots of threading. These knots, also know as “Pills” form due to rubbing or abrasion during normal wear and excessive cleaning.  During a wash cycle, these short or broken clothing fibers become like a magnet and attract other loose micro-threads, creating even more pilling.

Turn your fleece jackets inside out to wash. Dry low inside out. And, be careful!

How to Wash Faux Fur | 2ULaundry | How to Properly Wash Winter Clothes at Home

How to Wash Faux Fur

While some types of faux fur can be washed on a standard cycle and then laid flat to dry, others are dry clean only. And, even then, it is common for dry cleaners to reject fur or faux fur garments. If this is the case, you’ll want to find a fur specialist.

Whether your tag says it can be machine washed or dry cleaned, you should always blot surface stains before cleaning your item and hang it promptly after drying to help it stay fluffy and soft. Avoid washing as much as possible.

In a pinch, you can wash it at home. To the extent that it is possible, turn the garment inside out. Wash delicate and dry low. The important part is to brush or comb the fur as it is  drying. If you are using a tumble dryer, pause to brush or comb the fur every 3-5 minutes. The prevents the wrinkles from compounding with the oscillations of the dryer. 

If you or laying it flat to dry, check in hourly to brush it out to prevent unwanted knots.

How to Wash Ski Clothes | 2ULaundry | How to Properly Wash Winter Clothes at Home

How to Wash Ski Clothes

Ski clothes get very dirty! On the outside of the garment, they are constantly fighting off moisture. And on the inside of the garment, they are fighting off sweat. Here are some tips on cleaning your ski clothes from Salomon Ski Gear.

  1. Empty your pockets.
  2. Close all the zippers and Velcro closures to protect them and to keep them from damaging the fabric.
  3. Turn the garment inside out before putting it in the machine to prevent damage to any decorative elements.
  4. Use a normal dose of a liquid household detergent (not powder!). Do not add any fabric softener or other products to the wash.
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