Waterproof jackets are one of the most essential components of the outdoor lover’s wardrobe, and indispensable to those who live in cold/wet climates.
However, waterproof jackets aren’t invincible; their performance can be adversely affected in the long run by contaminants such as skin oil, dirt, and debris. Over time, the jacket’s waterproof properties are compromised, allowing water to seep into the material.
A good waterproof jacket is a big investment for most people. So, to avoid having to replace it, it’s important to practice proper maintenance, of which washing is the first step.
However, given its special texture and composition, you might be confused as to how to wash waterproof jacket. If that sounds like you, you’ve gotta keep reading!
Steps to Take Before Washing
Here are the things you need to do before washing the jacket.
Give the jacket a preliminary cleaning
The first thing you have to do is to give your jacket a preliminary cleaning. Start by emptying its pockets. Chances are, it has some loose dirt/debris/mud on its body; you have to get rid of this. For this, you’ll have to use a cloth or a brush.
Remember never to use any abrasive materials when doing this preliminary cleaning, because doing so will definitely damage the waterproof coating of the jacket. We recommend wiping down using a microfiber towel soaked in warm water. Once you’re done, shake the jacket thoroughly (once inside-out) so as to get rid of any remaining contaminants.
Zip the jacket
Next, fasten any flaps or straps, and zip the jacket up. If your jacket has a removable collar or hood, it’s best to remove it for separate washing. Check if the removable components have special care instructions printed on a tag.
Read the care tag
Now, refer to your jacket’s care tag. It will have washing instructions specific to the needs of your particular jacket. Typically, it should contain directions on how to wash, dry, bleach, and iron your jacket.
Prepare the washing machine
Now that you’re done prepping your jacket, it’s time to prep your washing machine. Check its tray to ensure that there is no residual detergent powder or liquid because these can harm the jacket’s waterproof coating. A quick and easy way of doing this is to run the washing machine empty on a hot wash (with nothing else in it).
How to Wash Your Waterproof Jacket
Here, we’ll walk you through the entire process of washing your waterproof jacket.
Use the Right Cleaning Products
The cardinal rule of washing waterproof jackets is that regular or biological detergents must never be used; furthermore, you should never use powdered detergent, which contains harsh chemicals that will definitely damage the jacket’s fabric.
When it comes to washing waterproof jackets, it’s best to use specialist cleaning products specifically designed to wash clothing with waterproof or other protective materials. These tend to be liquid detergent products instead of powdered ones for the reasons stated above.
Your jacket’s care tag will usually mention how much detergent you have to use. Remember, you cannot use any fabric conditioners or softeners when washing your waterproof jacket.
Start Up the Washing Machine
Now it’s time to put your waterproof jacket and any separate components into the washing machine. Remember never to place any other garments with your waterproof jacket; moreover, there should never be more than 2 waterproof items at a time in the washing machine drum.
The best temperature at which to wash your waterproof jacket is 30 degrees. Allow the jacket to go through the entire wash and rinse cycle at 30 degrees. A slower spin cycle is better as it will be gentler on your jacket.
After the Jacket Has Been Washed
After the washing cycle has been completed, you can opt to run a dry spin to eliminate excess moisture still on the jacket. It’s best not to tumble dry the jacket as the waterproof coating can be damaged by heat; however, if the care instructions on the jacket allow for tumble-drying, then it’s alright. Next, hang up the jacket in a cool, dry place to allow it to dry naturally.
When to Re-Proof Your Waterproof Jacket
Once your jacket has dried, you can opt to re-proof it if you feel it’s needed. A waterproof jacket won’t keep its waterproof properties forever; after extended use and lots of washing, it will begin to lose its waterproof properties. The earliest symptom of this is if your jacket appears to be absorbing instead of repelling water.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What do I do if my waterproof jacket’s coating is damaged?
Fortunately, jackets can be re-proofed using waterproofing sprays or similar products. However, take care not to do this too frequently.
2. How frequently can I wash my waterproof jacket?
Generally, the fewer times you wash it, the better. Wipe down your jacket with a microfiber towel right away after using it to ensure it doesn’t have to be washed too many times.
3. Is it okay to iron a waterproof jacket?
Under no circumstances should you iron your jacket, because direct heat will destroy its waterproof coating.
So there you have it; how to wash your waterproof jacket. Remember to take good care of it at all times, wiping it down thoroughly after each traipse into the outdoors. Never use non-biological products, and don’t re-proof the jacket too many times. Good luck!