Caring for GORE-TEX outerwear: what you need to know
Thanks to having faced restrictions as a result of various lockdowns during the pandemic, many of us have taken opportunities to escape our houses and head for the socially-distanced utopia that is the great outdoors. But whether you’re a long-time lover of the wild or it’s a brand new hobby, one of the most popular brands for people of all experience levels is clothing that utilises Gore-Tex® technology.
Offering a wide range of waterproof/windproof jackets, gloves, shoes and more, Gore-Tex’s clothing fabrics can withstand the possibilities of extreme weather or conditions without restricting the movement of the user. However, much as with any other clothing brand, Gore-Tex requires care and maintenance to ensure these garments are continuing to keep you safe and warm.
The team here at Repair Aid are fans of the brand and we’re here to walk you through the process of properly caring for and maintaining your Gore-Tex® outerwear.
The washing process
First of all, the best way to clean your Gore-Tex clothing is by doing so in the washing machine. Before you start, you’ll want to (as with any clothing) zip up or fasten any loose zips or straps to stop them from catching or damaging the drum. Powder detergent should be avoided in favour of liquid detergent as this will not create a risk of damaging the fabrics. You should also avoid using fabric softener, bleach or stain removers too. Keep in mind that you’ll just want to use a small amount of liquid detergent.
As for temperature, you’ll want to set the machine to a 40°C, gentle cycle. This is to reduce spin as if it’s too vigorous, this will cause the garments to crease. If possible, you may even want to rinse your Gore-Tex clothing twice and, while you can wash with similar clothes that are equally soiled, you’ll also want to avoid washing it with other clothes that are heavily soiled.
The drying process
When it comes to drying, it’s best to actually dry your Gore-Tex fabrics on a clothing line – which also has the added benefit of being environmentally-friendly. However, you can also tumble dry on a gentle cycle at a low yet still warm temperature. It’s important to avoid higher temperatures.
When your Gore-Tex is dry, you’ll want to tumble dry it (either for the first time or second time) for another 30 minutes to ensure that the thin coating – known as the ‘durable water repellent’ (DWR) treatment tech – gets reactivated. This ultra-thin coating is what stops your Gore-Tex clothing from absorbing water. If you don’t have a tumble dryer or you don’t want to use one, you can iron your clothing at a low temperature too. However, just make sure that you use a towel while ironing over the clothing to protect it.
This whole process will boost the water repellent coating so make sure to do this when you notice that your clothing isn’t repelling water as well as when you first got it.
If you’re noticing that your Gore-Tex garments aren’t repelling water anymore, you may want to re-apply a coating of DWR. You’ll likely notice this happening if you wash your clothing and note that the water hasn’t properly run off after a wash. You can buy a DWR independently either as a spray or a wash-in.
If you’re worried that you’re going to wash your garments too much, don’t worry – you’ll find that washing your clothing with regularity actually helps reactive the DWR and keeps your clothing efficient. If your clothing is stained, you’re going to want to avoid using stain removers. Instead, simply apply a small amount of liquid detergent to the area where the stain is located and then soak your Gore-Tex in warm water.
While you can dry clean Gore-Tex clothing, you’ll want to have a professional do it instead as they will likely have the distilled hydrocarbon solutions necessary to safely dry clean your garments. Make sure to request the use of these solvents if you do go down this route.
The only exception to the above advice would be if you are washing the company’s sub-brand of SHAKEDRY clothing which should not be tumble dried nor ironed, and it does not require any DWR treatment to be effective. This is due to the outer layer already being made of a material that is water resistant.
Lastly, remember: always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for washing and drying. If anything above runs contrary to what you are told, then follow the manufacturer’s instructions instead.