Care Instructions Primaloft

Table of contents

Everything from your blankets to your expedition suit – down has been a reliable and (rightfully so) extremely popular type of insulation: it is literally a featherweight and toasty warm! However, despite these excellent features, down does have some downsides (pun intended). If down feathers are exposed to dampness or moisture, they lose their loft as well as their thermal properties.

So, what should you do when you’re outdoors in wet weather? What about when you just work up sweat on a tough ascent? Well, you need an alternative! And, since nature has given us a nearly perfect model, an improved copy thereof would be the best alternative, don’t you think? So do I! This is precisely where PrimaLoft comes in! This synthetic microfiber thermal insulation was developed by the United States Army in the 1980s with the aim of not only imitating both the function and characteristics of down but also improving upon them by making a synthetic alternative that is not only tough and easy to care for but also water resistant.

Wait a minute – easy to care for?! Yes, indeed, especially when compared to down! But, there are still a couple of things you should keep in mind. That’s why, we’ve put together some care instructions for PrimaLoft textiles!


Products with PrimaLoft are characterised by their insulating and breathable properties. What’s more, the material is water resistant and even has the ability to insulate when wet. Plus, PrimaLoft clothing not only dries more quickly than down, but it is also incredibly lightweight, making it a high-quality alternative to down. As if that weren’t enough, PrimaLoft also happens to be very durable and thus long lasting.

Despite the array of excellent properties, cleaning and caring for PrimaLoft clothing requires a bit of know-how.

The different kinds of PrimaLoft products at a glance

Garmont hiking shoe with primaloft insulation
Even shoes use Primaloft for insulation purposes!

Obviously, before going into how to care for a particular product, we need to differentiate between the different kinds of Primaloft products. You’d be surprised at how many there actually are! For example:

  • Outerwear such as jumpers, jackets and vests
  • Shoes
  • Headwear
  • Sleeping bags
  • Underwear

These textiles are made almost exclusively for outdoor recreation, but Primaloft is used for the military, in workwear and bedding as well.

PrimaLoft technology at a glance:

In order to understand why the proper care of PrimaLoft textiles is so important, it is absolutely essential to have a closer look at the technology of this high-quality material.

As mentioned earlier, PrimaLoft is basically a synthetic microfibre insulation material. It consists of 100% polyester and is very fine. Using this particularly fine yarn, the natural structure of down can be mimicked and its positive characteristics adopted. This not only results in a particularly good insulator but also the perfect level of breathability. This means that Primaloft material has the ability to keep you warm whilst simultaneously preventing overheating and excessive sweating.

How it works: the special web structure in PrimaLoft fabrics have several tiny air pockets in which your body heat is trapped in order to provide warmth. Similar to the concept of a neoprene suit, optimal insulation is thus achieved by trapping your body heat and keeping cold air out at the same time.

This is how you care for PrimaLoft

Close look at the primaloft insulation material.
A closer look at the Primaloft insulation

Clothing with PrimaLoft insulation can be machine washed at 40°C. The important thing here is to not use fabric softener or bleach. Both will destroy the structure of the fabric so much so that the garment will lose its insulating properties. You should also only use liquid detergent.

In order to remove the remnants of the detergent, it is important to thoroughly rinse the garment as well. Only then can the air pockets be filled with warm air again, thereby preserving the insulating properties of the garment.

After washing, the textiles may be dried in the dryer at a low temperature. However, be sure to take the individual garments out of the dryer immediately after drying! Despite the toughness of PrimaLoft, the garments should never be cleaned with chemicals, ironed or steam ironed, as this would damage the sensitive yarn structure as well.

Before washing, you should always read the washing and care instructions for your particular garment because they do vary from garment to garment.

The proper care of your PrimaLoft footwear

In contrast to outerwear, shoes should never be machine washed. In order to preserve the insulating properties, the shoes should be cleaned every time you use them. To do this, it is best to use a damp cloth to wipe off the upper. If your shoes were exposed to moisture outdoors, just let them air dry. What’s more, it is important to note that your shoes should never be exposed to direct sources of heat or direct sunlight. Just as with outerwear, heat can destroy the structure of the fabric and with it the insulating properties of the material.

The proper care can increase the lifespan of your PrimaLoft garment

If you follow these simple instructions and do so on a regular basis, the lifespan of your PrimaLoft garment will be increased significantly, allowing all of you trekkers, hill walkers, mountaineers, skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts to get the warmth and protection you need during all of your outdoor adventures!

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Alpinetrek-Expert Guest author

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  1. PrimaLoft vest. Don’t have a dryer. Any suggestions? Commercial dryers run hot and would like to avoid.

  2. My Primaloft Patagonia Nano Puff jacket… wondering if Nikwax Tech was is necessary, or if just using a quality brand’s non-chemical detergent is suitable enough for regular care and maintenance? Thank you for the article!

  3. Hi, I also have the same question as Megan. Should I only be using Nikwax Tech Wash to clean my Primaloft jacket, or will a quality non-chemical detergent be better for long-term care? I know both can be used, but I’m primarily asking which option is _best_ since I really love my Primaloft jacket and want to keep it functional as long as possible. Thanks!

  4. Thank you for a great piece of advice. However, I have a question if it is suitable to use Nikwax wool wash or base wash liquid to clean Primaloft hoodies. Which one would you advise to use?

  5. Primaloft can just be left to dry normally on a clothing rack (hang over multiple lines rather than just one) – this is one of the major advantages over down 🙂 It’s nice to occasionally dry it in a tumble dryer but certainly not compulsory.

  6. Hi Megan,

    Nikwax as a water based impregnation is always a good idea, it will help to preserve the water repellency of your Nano Puff, and is harmless in biological respects.

    Kind regards,


  7. Hi Derek, Nikwax is best really – it’s made to specifically wash these products and also be friendly to the environment.

  8. Hi Jakub,

    I am washing my Primaloft-jackets with Nikwax Tech Wash.

    Kind regards,


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