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How Often You Really Need to Wash Your Winter Coat

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Photo: Ko Backpacko (Shutterstock)

We all have plenty of laundry to do on a regular basis, so a seasonal item we were less frequently may not work its way into our normal wash routine. How often, for example, do you think to wash your winter coat? No matter how you answer that, let’s look at how often you should. The answer depends on a few factors, including how often you wear each coat and the material it’s made of.

Wool and leather coats 

According to We Do Laundry, wool and leather coats should be cleaned once per season, provided they get less wear than your other coats. If you wear them often, opt for twice per season. So, wash it once around early November and again in late January to make sure it’s clean enough to last through early March. For tips on cleaning leather and wool, check out our guide here.

Fleece jackets

We Do Laundry recommends washing fleece jackets after six to seven wears. (Of course, if you notice them getting dirty faster, wash them sooner than that.) The Spruce also suggests washing fleece jackets before ever wearing them, to get rid of manufacturing odors, and washing them as often as once a week if you’re wearing them often. Don’t iron them and be sure to dry fleece jackets on a line to keep them soft.

Rain jackets

Rain jackets should be cleaned regularly, since you only wear those when the weather is bad. If you live in a rainy area, opt for a twice-a-month wash schedule, per We Do Laundry. Otherwise, clean them once per month. Make sure the jacket is zipped up when you wash it, wash it per the instructions on the tag, and finish off with a waterproof coating or repellant after you dry it.

Down coats

According to Clean My Space, you want to wash down coats as frequently as other coats, so twice per season at least. You do want this to be a gentle process, however, so don’t use a washing machine with an agitator. Use a gentle detergent—ideally one designed for down coats—and dry it on a low heat. Toss in some dryer balls to fluff it back up while it dries, but remove it while it’s still a bit damp and hang it to dry the rest of the way.

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