Expert Advice: How to Wash Waterproof Jackets & Clothing

There are many myths across the internet regarding waterproof clothing and what you’re allowed to do, and whatnot. The truth is that you’re waterproof jacket is not going to stay waterproof for ever, whether you wash it, don’t wash it, or only wash it by hand. The minute you start wearing it outside, the waterproof coating starts to break down, and after a few seasons, you’ll need to re-waterproof your jacket.

To wash your waterproof clothing, it’s okay to use an ordinary washing machine, however, you need to use a specialist fabric cleaner that has specially designed for technical outerwear. Standard fabric cleaner contains chemicals that break down the waterproof coating. I would recommend that you used “Wash & Proof” or Nikwax Tech Wash

Steps to Clean

  • Use a soft brush to brush off any loose dirt from your waterproof clothing. Make sure it is a soft brush and not a wire one because of a wire brush and cause scratch the surface of the clothing.
  • Clean out the compartment of the washing machine thoroughly from any common brand of detergent. The detergent you use for everyday clothes is unsuitable for waterproof clothing.
  • Check the label of the waterproof detergent to see how much much they advise you to use and on what wash. Most of the time, it will tell you to wash the garment or garments on a 30-degree wash. Put in the detergent into the compartment and the clothing into the washing machine drum. Make sure you are washing waterproof clothing only.
  • Wait for the washing machine to finish before taking out the garments or garments and placing them on hangers.
  • Leave them to dry in a warm place such as an airing cupboard. I would highly recommend that you don’t put your waterproof clothing in a tumble dryer. The heat generated by a tumble dryer will more than likely break down the fabrics that make it waterproof.

Further Tips

  • Always check the garments before washing them. For example, it may tell you to hand wash the garment instead of putting them through a machine.
  • Check to see if water still runs off the surface of the clothing. If it does it means the clothes are still waterproof. If it doesn’t you are advised to reproof them. For more advice on reproofing your waterproofing clothing contact the manufacture
  • You don’t need re-treat your waterproof clothing after every wash. Only do this when the DWR (Durable Waterproof Repellency) starts to fail.
  • Make sure you close the zips and button-down any velcro straps on the waterproof clothing.
  • If you are unsure about what detergent to use contact the supplier of your waterproof clothing. They may sell the exact detergent or advise you on or point you to the right one.

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