Puffer jackets aren't like traditional winter wears. You can't fold them as you like and shove them in the closet. Puffer jackets contain geese feathers in the puffy pockets that are accentuated and seen from the outside.
Careless packing and handling might cause damage to those pockets. So, how do you pack a puffer jacket and store it properly?
The best way to store puffer jackets is to wash them beforehand. You can either machine wash or hand wash them. The washing technique depends on the fabric. Then hang them in the closet if possible. Otherwise, please put it in a laundry bag and keep it in the closet. Make sure the jacket isn't compressed and has enough breathing room.
There's a detailed procedure as to how to wash and store puffer jackets correctly. Also, there's a slight difference between puffer and down jacket, although these two terms are used interchangeably.
In the rest of this article, I will further explain how you should stash your puffer jacket after use.
As I said before, you can't stash your puffer jacket in the closet like regular ones. They are built differently, so storing them is also different.
Before you shove your puffer jacket in the closet for the summer, you will have to clean it properly. So, this section is two parts; washing and storing. Let's break down those:
Puffer jackets can be washed either by washing machine or hand. It depends on the jacket's fabric. The majority of the jackets are machine washable except for a few silk-based fabrics.
I recommend consulting a professional dry-cleaning service for those. Check the product description to find out what fabric is your jacket.
I am going to talk about both hand wash and machine wash since you might possess either. Hand wash is a bit intricate while machine wash is simple. Let's take a look:
One thing you must keep in mind when hand washing is to refrain from heavy cleaning. Don’t stress it too much and wash gently. Follow the steps below:
Remember to clean any visible stain or dirt specifically. Use soft cloths or a brush to get rid of excess dirt. The washing procedure will be much easier if you clean extra dirt beforehand.
Close all the zippers, fasteners, or Velcros before washing. If any remains open, your jacket won't soak properly. If it doesn't soak thoroughly, it won't be adequately cleaned.
Buy detergents that are safe to use with puffer jackets. Strong detergents will damage the feathers. If you can't specify any detergent, look for the ones that say 'mild' or 'gentle' on the packet.
Dip the jacket completely in the soap water. As there are air pockets in the jacket, it will float. So, make sure to press it down and use a lid. Soak for at least one hour.
After one hour, remove the jacket from soap water and submerge it in a bucket of clean water. When the water gets soapy from the jacket, drain it and take another bucket of clean water. Repeat the process until the jacket is thoroughly rinsed off.
Lift the jacket from the water and squeeze gently. Squeeze specific points where you might think water is packed. Continue the process until the jacket is no longer wet.
Hang in a free place to dry in the air. You can also place it in the dryer for faster drying.
Machine washing is pretty cut and dry. Use mild detergents and use cool water. When you put the jacket in the machine, make sure it is fully submerged.
Use cold water and select the lightest setting your washing machine has. If your machine has wool settings, go for it. Never use hot water or high heat. Use down jacket friendly detergents.
When drying, take the jacket put after half the drying cycle. Use your hand to work away any clumping or pockets that were formed during drying. Then put it in for the rest of the cycle. Use light settings.
The key to storing a puffer jacket is to keep it uncompressed. If you have a closet, keep it hanging with cloth-hangers. This is the best way to make sure that the jacket isn't compressed.
If you want to keep it in a chest of drawers, don't fold it forcibly. Instead, fold it mildly and let it stay as it is. Provide enough breathing room.
You can put it in a laundry bag if possible. Otherwise, put a piece of paper on top to protect it from dust. If you follow the steps correctly, you can store your puffer jacket for years to come without any trouble.
Although the two terms are used interchangeably, they are not the same. There's a difference in materials that are used to make these two types of jackets.
Down is the soft under-feather that grows from the central quill point of duck, geese, duck, swan, etc. The down is used to make the jackets thermally insulating and provide warmth in cold winter.
In down jackets, down is exclusively used and nothing else. These jackets are best for harsh winters and also pricey.
A down jacket is especially susceptible to faulty storage and folding. Once the feathers break down, it's difficult to mend them back to their original state.
Puffer jackets look pretty much the same as down jackets. The only difference is that with puffer jackets, lots of artificial materials are used.
This provides them about the same comfort and insulation as down jackets but makes the jackets much sturdier. Puffer jackets are best used as work jackets as they are less vulnerable to damage due to faulty storage.
But that doesn’t mean you can just throw them in your closet. You will still need to take care into not folding or compressing them.
Yes, it is extremely bad if you compress them long term as they both need to be stored uncompressed to help maintain loftiness. They contain duck feathers in the air pockets for better warming and insulation.
If compressed forcefully and for too long, the feather will break and cause lumps in the air pockets. The surface will become uneven and irregular.
Once it gets lumpy, it becomes challenging to re-fluff it again. This hampers the insulation property and aesthetics. The air pockets are lofted and contain feathers and other insulating substances.
The feathers will break and the jacket will lose its loft. Once the air pockets are damaged, the jacket starts to lose its usability.
In such an unfortunate situation, there is a workaround to recover the jacket to its original state. Washing it properly will do the job.
Or you can throw it in the dryer with other clothes and run the dryer for 5-10 minutes. This will rejuvenate the insulating substances inside and the jacket will become fluffy again.
Puffer jackets are the perfect attire for the winter seasons. They are fashionable and warm at the same time. If you are using one for the first time, you are likely to be unaware of the damage that faulty storage can cause.
In this article, I have discussed in detail how do you pack a puffer jacket and store it. I also added washing techniques because flawed washing can cause damage as well.
I also tried to clear the confusion that many of you might have about the down jacket and puffer jacket. If you've read this article, you should be capable enough to handle your puffer jacket with care or look into a new one below.