All waterproof jackets will need to be reproofed over time, and they will all need to be cleaned! How often will depend on the usage of the jacket and the materials and age. A good guide is that if the water doesn't seem to be beading off as well as it used to or has gotten grubby or smelly, it's time to wash and reproof.
Many specialist items of outdoor clothing are designed to wick, breathe, repel water or a combination of these. Often they use a chemical treatments like a Durable Water Repellent coating (DWR). It is essential that the outer fabric of breathable waterproofs doesn't soak up water (wet out), as this will reduce the garments ability to breathe and mean you get damp and sweaty inside. This is because water vapour can only be transported through a breathable membrane from an area of high humidity to one of low humidity.
Household detergents, whether biological or non biological, have components (wetting agents) designed to lower water surface tension improving its ability to spread out over and soak into a garment. This will work against DWR treatments, which cause water to bead up and run off garments and against the ability of fleeces and thermals to wick moisture away from the body. These detergents also have components designed to remain within the garment after washing, helping to soften and perfume it. Unfortunately the wetting agents remain bonded to these and can take a number of rinses to remove.
This could mean hand washing with soap flakes (handwashing can be bad for some clothing and you will need to use a machine to provide a thorough enough rinse to remove all of the residue), but ideally use the relevant liquid soap solution from Nikwax- Techwash for waterproofs, for example.
The accumulation of sweat and dirt inside the jacket will block pores, preventing the escape of moisture while dirt on the outside will tend to increase wetting out, again reducing breathability and impairing function. Therefore the garment needs to be washed and as outlined above this is best done with a soap solution in the case of all fabric technologies except for eVent (for further info on eVent read below). After washing, tumble drying on a low heat will help to restore the DWR treatment or if the garment is older retreat it with a wash in or spray on treatment such as Nikwax TX direct. This is best done while the garment is wet and again a cool tumble dry will help to activate the treatment.
eVent likes to be washed! It is even more susceptible to the effects of dirt and sweat inside a garment for reducing breathability, to the extent that mild soaps often don't clean the garment thoroughly enough. So use a non-biological detergent that lacks conditioner, then rinse the garment at least twice. At this point you can apply a reproofing treatment and then drip dry.
Down is a highly resilient insulator and properly cared for will have a very long service life.
Wash down only when it needs it, ie when you can detect that it's not lofting as well as it used to. Smaller items particularly jackets of a stitch through construction can be done in the machine, but larger box wall jackets and sleeping bags need to be done by hand in the bath. Use a mild soap solution such as Nixwax Down Wash, rinse very thoroughly and dry as soon as possible, ideally in a large commercial tumble dryer at a launderette. When drying, the inclusion of a trainer or tennis ball will help to knock clumps out of the down, improving its loft.
We also have products for the care of Soft Shell and Polar Fleece. You might also want to have a look at McNett's Zip Care, for keeping all your zips in good order.
Grangers active wash for washing sports gear Removes dirt and odours. Reduces kit drying times. Maximises wicking performance. Effective at low wash temperatures.
Grangers Clothing Repel is a wash-in product designed to restore the water-repellent finish found on all outdoor and technical clothing.Formulated to restore the water-repellent finish found on outdoor clothing. Fluorocarbon-free and environmentally responsible. Best when applied to a clean garment – we recommend using Grangers Performance Wash. Suitable for use on all Gore-Tex® and eVent garments. Effective without heat activation. A bluesign® system approved product.
A 2-in-1 down washing kit to restore loft, clean and re-proof your down jacket300 ml bottle Grangers Down Wash+Repel 3 reusable dryer balls
Designed to Restore Loft and Remove Odours. Provides complete protection for down filled clothing Contains <5 % non-ionic surfactants, preservative(1,2-benzisothiazol-3(2H)-one, 2-methyl-2H-isothiazol-3-one).
Clothing Cleaning and Re-Waterproofing Agent. Perfect for outdoor performance clothing that is dirty or no longer waterproof
A selection of mid weight GoreTex patches for repairing small holes and tears in GoreTex fabrics.
Concerned about the problems of down getting wet? This will help to alleviate those fears and revitalise your kit. Most people shouldn't need it but it may be useful if you need to keep weight to a minimum but are travelling in damp conditions.
Clean Duck and Goose Down Fill Waterproof and DWR Clothing. Wash-in waterproofing for breathable fabrics and for re-instating durable water-repellency to non-waterproof fabrics
Helps to maintain the air gap between the knit and weave of fleece and fibre pile clothing, keeping the wearer warm and comfortable while repelling water from the surface in wet or humid conditions.
The spray on version is ideal for clothing that has a fleece lining where you don't want the wash to get all over the inside. It's worth activiting the coating by the application of warmth via a tumble drier or iron (read clothing instructions).
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