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Reviews > Do It Yourself > Grangers Down Care Kit > Test Report by joe schaffer

Grangers Down Care Kit

Test Report by Joe Schaffer

INITIAL REPORT - September 29, 2018
 
LONG TERM REPORT - January 12, 2019
REVIEWER INFORMATION:
NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(at)yahoo(dot)com
AGE: 71
GENDER: Male
HOME:  Bay Area, California USA

     I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day in the bright and sunny granite in and around Yosemite. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.6 km) on snowshoes.

INITIAL REPORT
Product: down care kitDown Care Kit

Manufacturer:  Granger's Intl Ltd.

    Website: http://www.grangers-usa.com
   
        Contents: Wash-300 ml (10 fl oz); 3 dryer balls
        Features: (from packaging)
            •Reproofs all down-filled articles in a single wash
            •Powerful cleaner

    Directions: Two caps 100 ml (3.4 oz) for down jacket, three caps 150 ml (5 oz) for down bag; 30 C (86 F) water; slow spin; tumble dry, periodically separating clumps. Dryer balls may shorten drying time and help restore loft.

My Specs: 
        Wash Weight: 12 1/8 oz (342 gm)
        Dryer ball weight (all 3):  3 1/4 oz (91 g)
        Dimensions:
             bottle: about 8 in H x 2 in Diam (20 x 5 cm)
             dryer balls, each: about 2 3/8 in Diam (6 cm)
            
MSRP: N/A

Received: 9/26/18

My Description:
   This is a liquid soap for cleaning down-filled articles and restoring loft; and for adding durable water repellency. The soap is intended for use in machine washers. Three dryer balls roughly the size of tennis balls are covered in spiky nodules. They look like blown-up spores of some kind of bacterium and are intended to help break up down clumps. The bottle cap is the measuring device. The bottle comes foil-sealed.

Impressions:
    My first impression was that I must have mistakenly opened one of Sweetiepie's packages of high-falutin' hair do goo--high end packaging! I'll trust some money was left over in the product development budget.
   
    Directions are simple enough even I can follow them, I think.
I like freshening the fill; and of course when an article is dirty I like to get it clean. I find washing down articles to be a real pain as the clusters clump into wads and require enormous amounts of patience to pick them apart between the layers of shell; and often the soap isn't good at cutting people-grease around cuffs and collars.  Maybe the dryer balls will perform as promised and lessen the torture of having to pluck at the wads of wet feathers; and perhaps the promise of powerful cleaning will be proven as well.
   
    The bottle says the product cleans and revives insulation; and adds durable repellency. What is not clear to me is if the repellency is added to the fill or the shell. Perhaps both.
   
    The foil seal should have a little tab on it to make tearing the seal off easier. The product has a faint smell of fingernail polish, which I'd have to say I don't like. The test, of course, will be to see how a jacket smells and feels and looks after exposure to the product.

Long Term Report

Field Conditions:
    Washed one medium-dirty down jacket in a top loader using four caps of wash and hot water on delicate cycle. The jacket soaked for several hours and was subjected to a combined five minutes of hand thrashing in the machine in addition to the machine cycle.

Impressions:
    The jacket was smudged around the cheek/collar area and sleeve cuffs. It came out perfectly clean and smells good.

     I would have expected the balls to be too light to be very effective, but that expectation appears to be wrong. Over the years I've washed a number of down bags and garments and my feeling is that the jacket's clumps were fewer than would have been without the balls.
Manual de-clumping is the worst part of the job; any help with that is certainly welcome. The balls sound like Armageddon until they get wrapped up in the garment and quiet down. I did not find any tears in seams and in fact only one feather, so the jacket must not have felt too abused by the balls. (I've never used a tennis shoe as I think that puts too much stress on the garment.) The jacket fluffed up nicely, suggesting to me that all of the wash product did rinse out after doing its work.

    Normally I hate reading directions, especially more than once, and the type size on the bottle and box did little to encourage my well-used eyes to train their attention to such microscopics. But I did manage to ferret out direction to double the dose in a top loader, to four caps instead of two for a front loader. In my experience talking to other people who've ruined down articles washing them, the culprit was a top loader. It seems the agitator does a devious job of tearing open interior seams, leaving massive cold spots from migrating down. I am surprised the directions do not offer the advice to use only a front loader; or if a top loader to use the agitator cycle very sparingly on delicate.

    The chance to test the DWR (durable water repellency) claim did not arise. It doesn't rain in California. When it does rain, it's too hot to wear a down jacket. When I backpack, if there's any chance of rain I don't take down garments. However, I did run water over the sleeve after the jacket was completely dry. Hard nylon finishes typically do have at least some hydrophobia, but I am surprised at how well the water sheds off the sleeve after being washed in this solution. What doesn't run off beads up, seeming very resistant to soaking in. Presumably the hydrophobic feature of the wash would apply to the down as well, which I regard as a huge benefit. Perhaps at some point the jacket will get rained on enough to be able to update the test with a slightly better subjective evaluation of the product's DWR-enhancing properties. 

Summary: Cleans nicely; dryer balls seem helpful. Seems to add repellency.

Thank you Grangers and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product. The test is complete.



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Reviews > Do It Yourself > Grangers Down Care Kit > Test Report by joe schaffer



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