Maybe check the label before you pop it in the wash!
If you’ve invested in a top end, high performance waterproof jacket, you may be feeling a little concerned about throwing it into the wash with the other laundry, and understandably so. But if you’re out and about in your waterproof most weekends, then it’s soon going to be a necessity to wash it- and not just to protect your nose! Waterproof jackets tend to be made with breathable technology too, which works a lot like our own skin. Breathable materials are made up of a series of ‘pores’ to regulate heat and moisture and, the same as if we never washed ourselves, the pores of the jackets can get clogged and impact the jacket’s performance. To help combat this, you need to carefully wash and care for your jacket so that it will stand the test of time.
*Remember, this is purely a guide and we encourage all readers to check the laundry label before washing their garment*
A step by step guide to washing your waterproof
Step 1: Prep
Firstly, make sure you have the right products: standard detergents will break down the waterproof fibres of the jacket and render it useless, so choose a detergent specifically formulated for this job. Nikwax is the most popular brand, but others are available and should be selected based on the specifications of your jacket. A mild un-scented, non-biological powdered detergent can also be used (with care!) if other options are unavailable. If your product has GORE-TEX technology, ensure the detergent is compatible with this. Also make sure that all zips, flaps, and Velcro straps are secured before attempting to wash your garment.
Step 2: Spot Clean
If there is any mud or other marks on the jacket, brush these off using a dry sponge or clothes brush so that they do not impregnate the fibres during washing, for this reason, you should also wash this jacket separately.
Step 3: Machine Wash
You can either hand wash, or gently machine wash your waterproof. Some machines have a hand wash option, so check your washer before you start. Always check the label if you are machine washing your product, but most recommend placing it on a slow spin and cool wash. Ensure that the detergent tray is completely clear of any residue from previous washes, as this can cause damage to the garment. Add the appropriate amount of cleaning agent to the tray and allow the product to go through a complete wash and rinse cycle.
Step 4: Check
Upon removing the garment, check for any places where the water has been absorbed rather than repelled. If the water has sunk in, then the item will need reproofing. For this you will need to wash your garment as above with a specialist reproofing agent (again, market leaders Nikwax or Grangers offer a product for this, but there are many more available).
Step 5: Dry
Tumble dry on a low heat setting to reactivate the waterproof fibres, this step is also essential after reproofing to reactivate the treatment. If you don’t own a tumble dryer, then place the item on the radiator at a low heat, turning periodically. Again, always check the label to ensure tumble drying is suitable for the garment’s other features.