Whether you're taking your puffer jacket out of storage as the weather gets cold again, the key to keeping a puffer down jacket looking like new is the puffy appearance. This puffed appearance is achieved through filling the pockets in the jacket with goose feathers, also called loft or synthetic fibres depending on the brand. Repeat laundering or mistreatment of the jacket could reduce the jacket's puffiness, which in turn affects the warmth of the jacket.
If you have noticed that your jacket is losing its puff after repeated washes, you don't need to buy a new coat. Instead, all you need is access to a clothing dryer, and you have the solution to the basic question:
The most common method to help fluff up your jacket is to start with washing the jacket according to the manufacturer's directions. After you put the puffer jacket into the dryer, you can put it in with 2 or 3 tennis balls (I have heard of using a shoe also). After that, when the jacket is completely dry, you should fluff it like you would a pillow.
Once the jacket is done and taken from the dryer, you should hang it upside down to preserve its "loft," or it's puffed appearance between wears. Additionally, you should always ensure that the jacket is completely dry before wearing or storing. A puffer jacket that is not completely dried will begin to stink, and start to grow and smell like mildew.
To ensure that your jacket is totally dry, after taking it from the dryer, you should hang the jacket somewhere warm and in direct sunlight. This way, you can be confident that your jacket is completely dried and safe from the potential smell that could be created by improperly drying your jacket.
When the weather begins to turn up and become warm again, jackets that are ever necessary for the winter become unnecessary for a few months. In that time, if you don't properly prepare your jacket for storing or incorrectly store it for the season, you could see a drastic decrease in the loft of the jacket and appearance of the "puffer" parts of the jacket. How can you ensure that your jacket stays in good condition throughout the summer months when you're not using your jacket?
One of the first steps to ensuring that your puffer jacket stays in good, clean condition while in storage is to wash it before putting away. This way, you can ensure that no bacteria can cling to the coat from the winter over the summer and damage the coat or allow more bacteria to grow on the jacket. When you put it in, use a delicate or down specific detergent to clean it, and leave it on mild temperatures to ensure it's safety in the wash.
Next, you want to put the jacket into the dryer on its own with the tennis balls or tennis shoes in the machine. Ideally, tennis balls, as while the jacket is being dried, the tennis balls will bounce around and beat the jacket to continue to fluff the puffer parts back up while it's drying. Thus, when the jacket comes out of the dryer, it looks new, clean, and ready to store.
Before moving the jacket to the dryer, never wring the jacket out or try to dry it yourself by squeezing out the water. This will damage the loft of the jacket and potentially ruin the jacket permanently.
The safest way to ensure that you puff up your jacket properly without damaging the down feathers or synthetic fibers is to immediately transfer the jacket from the washing machine to the dryer as soon as the wash cycle is finished.
For outdoor sports like running, hiking, skiing or backpacking, the puffer jacket is a staple of the adventurer wardrobe for many reasons. For how lightweight it is in comparison to other coats, it remains thick and warm with insulation.
However, this insulation and "puffer" style of the jacket can make it incredibly hard to store, which means that the jacket could start to look mistreated through the jacket's miss-storage.
How do you keep your jacket looking new, and retain it's loft while you store it for travelling and daily life.
Even though many puffer jackets and vests do come with a bag or a pocket for storage, it's not suggested that you use them for extended periods of time. Though they can be handy to maximize on space in your bag before you go on a flight or while packing away winter clothes for storage, these bags can actually be really damaging to the coat.
When you keep a puffer coat stored bunched up into a tiny space for an extended period, the next time you go to use the coat, you could find flat spots in the coat, and prevent it from properly expanding for the next season. Instead of storing it away like that, you should hang it in a dry place every year and after every wear.
It would be best if you always pack your puffer coat into your bags or storage areas last. This helps prevent the coat from being crushed during the journey and allows for easy access.
If you are taking a car ride, for example, having the coat on top means that it's both easier to access on stops but also helps prevent the insulation from breaking down in the bag because of the pressure on it.
Additionally, if the coat is on the top, any leakage that could accidentally happen in a backpack or bag, from water to lotion or any liquid, would protect the coat from damage.
One of the worst things that could happen to a puffer coat is being stored in a damp environment where it doesn't have the ability to dry.
Though the instinct may be to patch up a sudden rip in the sleeve with tape, you should always avoid that impulse. Taping up a coat could wind up, causing the jacket more damage when you take the adhesive off.
Instead, you should push the insulation back into the affected area and fix it with a needle and thread. Patching the hole should be done as soon as possible, and thoroughly.
Additionally, before you repair the jacket up, you should be only washing it with a spot clean or a sponge, as it cannot go into the wash when there is a hole in the jacket.
Thankfully, you don't need any specific dryer or machine to fix the loft of a puffer jacket. The answer to if you need a tumble dryer to puff up your jacket is, no, and you can easily fix it without.
A puffer jacket is best when it has enough loft and is well taken care of. Through proper storage, you can avoid flattening your jacket, and through proper maintenance, when a jacket becomes flattened over time, you can easily extend your puffer jacket's life.
Washing a puffer jacket doesn't spell the end to your jacket, and though you could seek professional cleaning if you're uncertain, you can also learn to fix the jacket's loft after washing it as well.