How to Clean a Puffer Jacket Without Washing It [Tips Guide]

Puffer jackets are popular in winter due to their premium warmth and comfortable design. However, this comfortable, fluffy design can be challenging to clean. Washing machines can alter the natural shape of the jacket and damage its insulating qualities. Here’s how to clean a puffer jacket without washing it in a washing machine:

  • My Favorite Method: I like to use eClean Advanced Fabricare, which is an online eco-friendly dry cleaning service that fully sanitizes your puffer jacket without washing it in a machine. Unlike traditional dry cleaners, eClean does not use harmful chemicals and they do not use heat to dry. I find that this provides the best results in maintaining the natural shape and insulating qualities of my puffer jacket. Click here to learn more about this service.
  • Traditional Dry Cleaning: You can use a traditional dry cleaner in your local market. Many down puffer jackets recommend dry cleaning. Be sure to confirm that the cleaner you choose has experience in cleaning puffer jackets.
  • Spot Clean at Home: Spot Cleaning your puffer jacket with a rag and hanging it in a well-ventilated space can keep it clean and smelling fresh in the short term. Long-term, this usually is not enough to overcome sweat and dirt build-up, and eventually, a proper cleaning is needed. Click here to learn how to best spot clean your puffer jacket without washing it in a machine.

Fortunately, there are several effective ways to clean a puffer jacket without washing it in a washing machine. In this article, we will explore these methods and I will provide some helpful tips for keeping your puffer jacket looking its best.

How to Clean a Puffer Jacket Without Washing It

If you want to clean your puffer jacket without soaking it in water in a washing machine (which can damage the shape of the jacket), you have three main options:

  • Spot Clean It with a Rag
  • Use a Traditional Dry Cleaner
  • Use a No-Heat Dry Cleaner

Let’s discuss each of these in more detail so you can choose how to best clean a puffer jacket without washing it.

Hand Cleaning a Puffer Jacket


One of the easiest ways to clean a puffer jacket without washing it is by spot cleaning. This method involves using a damp cloth or sponge to remove stains or dirt from specific areas of the jacket.

Here’s the steps you should take to spot clean a puffer jacket without washing it in a washing machine:

  1. Identify the areas that need cleaning: Start by identifying the areas of the jacket that require cleaning. Focus on spots that are stained or dirty, such as the collar or cuffs.
  2. Prepare a cleaning solution: Mix a small amount of mild detergent with water to create a cleaning solution. Use a detergent that is gentle and free of harsh chemicals that could damage the jacket’s fabric.
  3. Apply the cleaning solution: Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the cleaning solution and wring out any excess water. Gently dab the stained areas of the jacket with the damp cloth, taking care not to scrub too hard.
  4. Rinse the cloth: After you have cleaned the stained areas, rinse the cloth or sponge thoroughly with clean water.
  5. Dab the jacket with a dry cloth: Finally, use a dry cloth to absorb any excess moisture from the jacket. Hang the jacket in a well-ventilated area to dry completely.

Be sure to give your jacket plenty of time to dry properly. Storing it away before it has fully dried may lead to a musty smell.

Dry Cleaning a Puffer Jacket


Dry cleaning is another effective way to clean a puffer jacket without washing it. Dry cleaning involves using a solvent-based cleaning solution to remove dirt and stains from the fabric. Here’s how dry cleaning works:

  • Find a reputable dry cleaner: Look for a reputable dry cleaner in your area that has experience cleaning puffer jackets. Ask for recommendations from friends or family members, or check online reviews to find a trusted dry cleaner.
  • Prepare the jacket: Before taking your jacket to the dry cleaner, remove any loose dirt or debris from the surface of the jacket. Check the care label to ensure that the jacket is suitable for dry cleaning.
  • Take the jacket to the dry cleaner: Take your jacket to the dry cleaner and explain that you would like it dry cleaned. The dry cleaner will inspect the jacket and determine the best cleaning method.

The dry cleaning process can take several days, depending on the dry cleaner’s schedule and workload. Once the jacket has been cleaned, the dry cleaner will contact you to pick it up. To learn more, visit my article that discusses how to dry clean a down jacket.

No Heat Dry Cleaning

There are eco-friendly dry cleaners that don’t use harmful chemicals or heat to clean puffer jackets. For example, I like to use eClean – you can simply mail them your jacket and they will clean it using these less-harmful methods. When I used them, they offered free round-trip shipping which was a bonus.

They (eClean) describe themselves as a “Recycled Liquid CO₂ dry-clean service” that is more eco-friendly than traditional dry cleaning. They use a unique No-Heat Dry process to protect your puffer jacket and provide fully sanitized jackets that remain exceptionally fluffy. Click here to learn more how to use this service to clean a puffer jacket without washing it.

Other Ways to Clean a Puffer Jacket without Washing it

If you don’t want to spot clean or dry clean your puffer jacket, there are other simple ways to clean your jacket without washing it. These methods won’t completely sanitize the jacket, but they can help you keep your jacket clean and looking nice. However, eventually you will need to find a way to fully clean it to remove odor.

Here are a few of my ideas:

  • Use a lint roller: A lint roller is an excellent tool for removing pet hair, lint, and other debris from your puffer jacket. Simply roll the lint roller over the surface of the jacket to remove any loose dirt or debris.
  • Hang the jacket outside: Hang your puffer jacket outside on a sunny day to air it out and freshen it up. The sun’s UV rays will help kill any bacteria that may be on the jacket, and the fresh air will remove any musty odors.
  • Use a fabric freshener: If your puffer jacket has a musty odor, use a fabric freshener to eliminate the smell. Spray the fabric freshener onto the jacket and let it dry completely before wearing it. This is a short term solution and eventually the odor will return.
  • Use Anti-bacterial Wipes – Wiping the outside of your jacket with anti-bacterial wipes can help clean dirt and germs without soaking the entire jacket in water with a washing machine.

Why it’s Bad to Wash Your Puffer Jacket in a Washing Machine

Can you wash a puffer jacket in a washing machine? Yes. But should you wash your puffer jacket in a washing machine? In most cases, it’s best to use other cleaning methods.

Machine washing a puffer jacket can be harmful to the jacket’s material and overall structure. Here are a few reasons why it’s not a good idea to machine wash a puffer jacket:

  • Damages the insulation: Most puffer jackets are filled with down feathers or synthetic materials to provide warmth. Machine washing can damage the insulation, causing it to clump together and lose its ability to trap air. This can lead to reduced warmth and comfort when wearing the jacket.
  • Affects the jacket’s shape: Puffer jackets have a unique quilted design that creates air pockets to trap warmth. Machine washing can cause the stitching to break down, affecting the jacket’s shape and reducing its insulating properties.
  • Harms the outer layer: The outer layer of a puffer jacket is usually made of a delicate fabric that can be damaged by the agitation of a washing machine. The fabric may become stretched or ripped, affecting the jacket’s overall appearance and durability.
  • Shrinks the jacket: Puffer jackets can shrink in the washing machine, especially if they are made of natural materials like down feathers. This can make the jacket too small to wear comfortably, and it may not provide the same level of warmth as before.

Overall, it’s best to avoid machine washing a puffer jacket and use alternative cleaning methods like spot cleaning or dry cleaning to preserve its quality and longevity.

However, if you decide to go ahead and machine wash your puffer jacket to fully clean it, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of damaging it. Before washing the jacket, make sure to read the manufacturer’s care instructions carefully. Some puffer jackets may be machine washable, but others may require dry cleaning or hand washing.


If your puffer jacket is machine washable, start by using a front-loading washing machine, as it’s less likely to damage the jacket than a top-loading machine. Use a gentle cycle and cold water, and add a small amount of a mild detergent. Avoid using fabric softeners or bleach, as these can damage the jacket’s insulation.

To dry the jacket, lay it down in a well-ventilated area to air-dry (away from direct heat or sunlight). If you choose to tumble dry, use a low heat setting. Use tennis balls or dryer balls to help fluff up the insulation and restore the jacket’s natural shape. To read more, visit my article that discusses how to dry a down jacket without dryer.

Paul Johnson

Paul is a lead content creator for Workwear Command. He has had several blue-collar jobs which have provided him a wide range of experience with tools and gear. He also has a business degree and has spent time in business casual office settings.

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