How to Wash a Waterproof Jacket
When it comes to thinking of clothing that you would most immediately wash, ‘waterproof’ clothing probably ends up being pretty low on the list – particularly waterproof jackets. It’s easy to think that the rain that your jacket shields you from ends up somewhat washing your jacket; while others think that waterproof fabric just shouldn’t be washed. But, like any clothing, waterproof jackets can attract bacteria and this has to be dealt with. So can you wash a waterproof jacket? Absolutely.
However, there are definitely a few things to keep in mind before you do just that as waterproof fabric needs to be treated a little differently from other fabrics. In this short guide, Repair Aid is going to walk you through how to safely wash a waterproof jacket so that it is both safe and maintains its integrity.
The pre-wash process
Before you just shove your waterproof jacket into the washing machine, it’s important to take a few steps beforehand to keep your waterproof safe and ensure it continues to serve you for years to come. The main thing to keep in mind when washing a waterproof jacket is that you want to wash it gently. Over-washing a waterproof is never a good idea so you don’t want to wash it after every use. If you are wearing it on a daily basis, you may want to wash it every week or two. If it’s semi-regular, then once a month should suffice. It really does depend on how much usage it sees.
When it comes to whether to machine wash or hand wash, you’ll want to consult the label on your jacket. Some waterproof jackets may benefit from using specific formulas and you may find guidelines on the jacket manufacturer’s website regarding such solutions. However, non-bio detergent should be fine. You should always stick to non-bio as this ensures the gentlest wash. Bio detergent can be harmful to waterproof fabric and can reduce its resistance to water (as well as how breathable it is). If you’ve already done this by accident, you can try to treat the material by re-washing it the right way a few times but wash it with biological detergent too many times and it will permanently ruin the fabric.
The wash process
First of all, look for stains on the waterproof jacket. If you see any, take a slightly wet sponge and gently blot at the stain to try and absorb as much of the stain as possible. Never rub the stain in as this will not only make it harder to get out, but it may even damage the waterproof fabric. You may also want to take a slightly damp microfibre rag or cloth and gently clean any debris or mud off the surface – again making sure to avoid rubbing the stain in. The most important thing is to avoid using harsher cloths as this can damage the fabric.
As with any clothing, it’s good to zip up any zips in case they catch in the washing machine. However, make sure to empty the pockets and brush out any lint beforehand. This is easy enough to do when you turn the pockets inside out. Then you’ll want to stick the jacket into the wash and pour in the detergent. You’ll just want to use a small amount of detergent in a gentle wash cycle of 30°C with minimal spin speed. While you can wash the jacket with a couple of items, it’s ideal to wash it by itself or with other waterproof items.
The post-wash process
While you’ll want to check the label, you should be able to dry your waterproof jacket on a low heat in a dryer. As with the wash process, you’ll want to keep the spin speed and temperature low during the drying process. However, some waterproof manufacturers recommend air drying so make sure to check this out before you dry.
Occasionally, you’re going to want to re-proof the jacket to help it maintain its original form. To do this, take the jacket when it’s dry and hang it up on something like a coat hanger and give it some time to regain its form. Then take a can of waterproof spray and spray a fair amount over the outside of the jacket (including the armpit area). If there’s excess spray on the surface of some areas of the jacket, just take a paper towel, dip it in some water and gently remove the residue.
Now all you need to do is let it air dry for a few hours and your waterproof jacket should be looking great again.