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Nikwax Down Wash Direct Review

Down is a natural insulator that has been used in outdoor gear for years. It keeps you warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather. Down also lasts a long time if it is taken care of properly. That’s why Nikwax developed Down Wash Direct, a detergent designed specifically for washing down insulation. In this article, we will answer some common questions about Down Wash Direct and give you our verdict on whether or not it is worth purchasing.

Nikwax Down Wash Direct

Nikwax Down Wash Direct Review in 2021Fed up with the leather waterproofing products on the market, a young Nick Brown invented his own. Using a tea kettle and a Primus stove, he mixed his first batch in a dodgy London flat.

Nikwax Down Wash Direct User Manual

Having problem? Download Nikwax Down Wash Direct instructions.

  • Maintains the loft in a great condition;
  • Restores breathability;
  • Restores water-repellency;
  • Easy application;
  • Removes dirt and grime;
  • Eco-friendly;

  • Leaves soapy smell and residue;
  • Expensive considering the size of the bottle;
  • Isn’t as effective on stubborn stains;

What is Nikwax Down Wash Direct?

Down jackets and sleeping bags are essential cold weather gear, they keep us warm when we need it the most. These items are constantly exposed to elements, dirt, and body oil which degrades their performance, so they require special care.

What is Nikwax Down Wash Direct?

Here lies a problem however, regular cleaning detergents damage the down feathers by stripping away their natural oil sand over time, they can start to lose their insulating properties. That’s where Nikwax Down Wash Direct comes in – it’s a product specifically designed to clean and revitalize down products, restoring their loft and keeping you warmer for longer.

Nikwax Down Wash Direct is a safe, easy-to-use water-based cleaner that will not damage the delicate down feathers.
It also has a waterproofing agent which helps to keep the down dry and protected from moisture. This is important because wet or damp feathers will not insulate as well as dry ones.

Important note: Nikwax Down Wash Direct is only meant for down products. So if you have synthetic gear, this isn’t the right product for you. [1],[2],[3]

How to Use Nikwax Down Wash Direct

Using Nikwax Down Wash Direct is very straightforward and it requires only a few simple steps. But before you get to treating your equipment, remove all non-washable items such as electronics, trims, and zippers. These can be cleaned with a separate product like Nikwax Tech Wash. Once all the removable items are out of the way, you can start washing. There are two ways around that: washing it in a front-loading washing machine or doing all the work by hand. We shall explain both options in detail.

Using a washing machine

Now, to clean your clothing with Nikwax Down Wash Direct, you will need to have a front-loading washing machine.

Do not use a top-loading one as the central agitator can damage the down.

Clean the detergent residue from the detergent dispenser

You should always clean the detergent residue from the detergent dispenser before using Nikwax Down Wash Direct. The product works best when applied directly to the down, so you don’t want any old detergent getting in the way. Simply run a cycle with hot water and vinegar to clear out the dispenser.

Place the items into the washing machine

Once the dispenser is clean, you can place the items into the washing machine. Nikwax Down Wash Direct can be used on all kinds of down-filled products, so don’t worry about damaging your gear. However, it’s recommended to wash a maximum of two items at the same time to ensure even cleaning.

Then, add at least 3.4 oz of Nikwax Down Wash Direct per item into the detergent dispenser and wash the items according to their care label. If possible, choose a low setting and a slow spin.

Run multiple spins to remove excessive water

After the washing cycle is done, run multiple spins to remove excessive water from the down and help the drying process. Increase the spin speed gradually with each spin to avoid damaging the feathers.

Dry your clothing

Once the spinning is done, you can dry your clothing. The best way to do that is to use a tumble dryer on a low heat setting if the product label allows it.

If you don’t have a tumble dryer, you can also air dry the items but it will take much longer.

Still, even after tumble drying, it’s recommended to leave the items in a dry and warm place to finish drying completely. Once they are dry, you can fluff them up with your hands to help restore the loft.

Always make sure your down gear is completely dry before storing it away. Wet or damp feathers will lose their insulating properties and will not perform as well as they should. [1],[4]

Washing by hand

However not all down gear can be washed in a washing machine. For example, sleeping bags should never be put in a machine as they can easily be damaged. In that case, you will have to wash the item by hand.

Wear gloves during the process

It’s important to wear gloves during the cleaning process as Nikwax Down Wash Direct can cause skin irritation.

Fill a bath and add the agent

If you want to wash your gear by hand, you will need a sink or bath big enough to fit the item(s) you are planning on washing.

To start, fill a bath with at least 12L hand-hot water and add 3.4 oz of Nikwax Down Wash Direct.
Then, gently stir the water until the agent is completely dissolved.

Soak the equipment

After that, carefully place the down gear into the bath and let it soak for at least five minutes. Thoroughly agitate the water from time to time to ensure even cleaning but be careful not to damage the feathers.

Rinse the excesses afterwards

When the time is up, rinse the excesses off with clean water. You can either do that in a sink or by running more hand-hot water into the bath and carefully draining it afterwards. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear.

Rinse the excesses afterwards

As with washing in a machine, make sure to remove all the water from the down before air drying it. Running multiple spins in a washing machine can help with that. Again, it’s important to dry your gear properly before storing it away.

Depending on the situation, you may need to wash your down gear more than once. For example, if you’ve been using it in wet or muddy conditions, it’s a good idea to give it a second wash to get rid of all the dirt and grime. [1]

Features of Nikwax Down Wash Direct

Now that you know how to use Nikwax Down Wash Direct, let’s take a closer look at the features of this product.

It safely leans your down items

One of the main features of Nikwax Down Wash Direct is that it safely cleans your down items. That means it won’t strip away the natural oils from the feathers, which helps maintain their loft and insulating properties.

At the same time, Nikwax Down Wash Direct will remove any dirt, sweat, or other contaminants that might be on your gear. That way, you can be sure that your gear is clean and ready to perform at its best.

Another great thing about this product is that it’s biodegradable and doesn’t contain any harmful PFCs. So you can use it without worrying about harming the planet.

It restores the waterproof coating of your gear

Another great feature of Nikwax Down Wash Direct is that it restores the old waterproof coating on your gear. That means you can be sure that your gear will stay dry in all conditions, whether you’re hiking in the rain or snowboarding in powder.

It restores the waterproof coating of your gear

Nikwax Down Wash Direct is different from other cleaners because it actually restores the loft and insulation of down products. This will make sure your gear will be just as effective at keeping you warm as it was when it was new.

With time, the down will start to lose its insulating and waterproofing properties. So if you notice that your gear isn’t performing as well as it used to, Nikwax Down Wash Direct can help with that.

It maintains breathability of your equipment

Nikwax Down Wash Direct also helps to review and maintain the breathability of your gear. With its help you’ll be able to stay comfortable even when you’re working up a sweat, because the air will be able to circulate through your gear. This can make a big difference when you’re out in the cold or wet weather.

This is an important feature because it helps you avoid getting sweaty and clammy inside your gear. And finally, it will make your gear feel less worn down and more pleasant to wear overall.

It’s easy to apply

Nikwax Down Wash Direct is a wash-in product, despite this it’s actually really easy to apply. You can either wash it in a machine or by hand, and the actual washing only takes a few minutes to wash. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a first-time camper, Nikwax Down Wash Direct is a great choice for cleaning your down gear.

Just make sure to wear protective gloves when you’re applying it, as it can be hard to get off if it comes into contact with your skin. [1],[2],[3],[5],[6]

What to Keep in Mind Before Buying Nikwax Down Wash Direct

Nikwax Down Wash Direct is a great product, but there are a few things you should keep in mind before buying it.

It’s quite pricey for the size

One thing to keep in mind is that Nikwax Down Wash Direct is quite expensive for the capacity it comes in.

The regular bottle contains only 10 fl. oz of product, and it retails for around $11.
That’s quite a lot of money to spend on such a small amount of product.

However, you don’t need to use Nikwax Down Wash Direct each time you wash your gear. So even though the initial investment might be high, it will last you for a long time.

It may not deal with stubborn stains properly

Another thing to keep in mind is that Nikwax Down Wash Direct may not deal with stubborn stains properly. If you have a piece of gear that is particularly dirty, you might want to pre-treat the stain with another product before using Nikwax Down Wash Direct.

It may leave chemical smell and residue

One last thing to keep in mind is that Nikwax Down Wash Direct may leave a chemical smell and residue on your gear. This is not harmful to you or your gear, but some people don’t like the smell and extra effort required to rinse it off. [2],[7]

It may leave chemical smell and residue

Now that we have listed a few things to keep in mind before buying Nikwax Down Wash Direct, let’s sum up the pros and cons of this product!


Difference between Nikwax Down Wash Direct and Nikwax Down Proof?

Nikwax Down Wash Direct is a cleaner specifically for down items, while Nikwax Down Proof is a waterproofing treatment. They serve different purposes but can be used together for the best care of your down gear.

Is Nikwax Down Wash effective?

Yes, Nikwax Down Wash is effective. It will clean your down gear and restore the loft, which extends the lifespan of your gear. As long as you follow the directions, your old gear will become clean and fresh as new!

Nikwax Down Wash Direct is a great product that can help you keep your down gear clean and in good condition. With proper care, your gear will last longer and perform better. So don’t hesitate to use it when necessary.

Can I use Nikwax TX Direct on down instead?

Yes, Nikwax TX Direct can be used on down items instead of Down Wash Direct. It will clean and revitalize the down fill, helping to restore its loft and insulation properties. However, it is important to note that Nikwax TX Direct is not a waterproofing agent. If you need to add water repellency to your down item, you will need to use Nikwax Down Proof after washing and drying.

Nikwax Down Wash Direct is specifically designed for cleaning down items. It restores the loft of the down fill, revives water repellency, and helps maintain warmth even when wet. This is why Nikwax Down Wash Direct is such an important product – it’s specifically designed for washing down jackets, and it helps keep the down from clumping together.

Does washing a down jacket ruin it?

Washing your down jacket is essential to keeping it in good condition. Not washing it will cause the down to lose its loft and eventually stop insulating as well as it should. However, you need to be careful about how you wash it. Washing a down jacket in a regular washing machine can ruin it.

You also need to carefully choose a detergent that won’t strip the down of its natural oils. Nikwax Down Wash Direct is specifically designed for washing down garments and is safe to use on all types of down.

Related Video: Using NIKWAX Down Wash Direct to clean down backpacking gear


To sum it up, Nikwax Down Wash Direct is an effective cleaner specifically for down items. We all know how important it is to have warm, dry gear when we’re out in the elements. But sometimes, it’s hard to keep our gear in top condition – especially when it comes to down. And after our testing, we can conclude that Nikwax does a great job at maintaining the loft of your down, keeping it water repellent and clean. And best of all, it’s very easy to apply.

It may not deal with the tough stains and dirt like other cleaners do and may leave a sticky residue that you’ll need to rinse off. Still, we would highly recommend Nikwax Down Wash Direct to anyone with down gear – it’s an essential piece of kit for keeping your gear in top condition. We hope this article was helpful. Stay warm out there!


  1. https://www.nikwax.com/en-us/products/down-wash-direct/
  2. https://australianhiker.com.au/gear/nikwax-down-wash-direct/
  3. https://www.rei.com/product/890310/nikwax-down-wash-direct-10-fl-oz
  4. https://nymag.com/strategist/article/nikwax-down-wash-direct-detergent-review.html
  5. https://www.rei.com/product/890310/nikwax-down-wash-direct-10-fl-oz
  6. https://www.raymears.com/Bushcraft_Product/1206-Nikwax-Down-Wash-Direct-300-ml/
  7. https://www.trailspace.com/gear/nikwax/down-wash-direct/