How to Wash Your Jacket

Before I get into the details of how to wash different types of jackets I’m going to answer a few important questions first.  If you want to skip ahead to the cleaning instructions click one of these links:

Why is it Important to Wash and Waterproof Your Jacket?

This includes down jackets, waterproof shells, rain jackets, ski jackets and children’s jackets for school.

A jackets is an investment so take care of it and it will take care of you.   Cleaning your jacket will improve its performance and increase its longevity.  Dirt, sweat and body oils break down the materials causing inner fillings to clump and water to seep through outer shells.  Clean down jackets will be warmer and last longer. Clean shells are more waterproof and breathable. If you want your jacket to last it’s important to clean it and apply a DWR waterproof treatment periodically.

Why can’t I just use regular laundry detergent to wash my jacket?

Conventional laundry detergents strip the natural oils off of down clusters and leave behind a residue on outer fabrics which decreases the water repellency of the jacket.  Then your jacket will start to absorb moisture which makes it heavier and less warm.  We recommend using a Nikwax cleaner that is specifically created to remove body oils and dirt from technical fabrics and down. It also restores the Durable Water Repellency (DWR) to the outer fabric and the filling of your jacket.

How often should I wash my Down Jacket?

You don’t want to wash it too often because it’s a long process.  If you use it often and notice spots and stains wash it every six months, if you only wear it sometimes or in the winter, washing it once a year should be fine.  I usually wash mine once a year, at the end of the summer before winter to get the campfire smell out and increase the loft.

What is DWR?

DWR stands for Durable Waterproof Repellency and is a coating that goes on the outside fabric of your jacket.  When applied correctly water should bead off your jacket and not soak in.

 

How to Wash Your Down Jacket

  1. Close all zippers, release the tension on any draw cords, open pocket zippers, and loosen any cuff velcro on our sleeves then put the jackets in your washer.  It’s recommended that you use a front loading washer because a top loader could damage your jacket.  However use what you have.  You could use a mesh bag in a top loader to protect your jacket.
  2. Follow the instructions for how much detergent to use based on the number of jackets you are washing.  I used Nikwax Direct Down Wash because it washes and waterproofs at the same time.   I washed 3 jackets and used xxx.
  3. Rinse out the tray where you usually add detergent so that no reside mixes in with your jackets.  (I did not do this, don’t tell anyone.)
  4. Wash on a gentle cycle with a slow spin.  When the jacket is done do two extra spin cycles increasing in speed each time to ensure that as much water as possible is squeezed out.
  5. The drying process is very important so the down doesn’t clump.  Tumble Dry on Low Heat. Fluff the down by shaking the jacket every 30 minutes until it’s dry.  Be prepared, this can take up to 3 hours.  Don’t leave the jacket balled up wet at any time.  You can add tennis balls or dryer balls if you have them, it can help stop clumping. Make sure the jacket is completely dry before removing it from the dryer.  This may seem like a bit of work but I promise, it’s worth it.  Lofty down is warmer and this will help your jacket last longer.

 

 

How to Wash Your Synthetic Insulated Jacket?

Wash your Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket, Patagonia Nano-Air Hoody, or Thermoball Jackets, Vests and Hoodies.

Synthetic materials dry much quicker than down and don’t clump so they are much easier to take care of.  I’m glad most of our jackets are synthetic especially the high use ones.

  1. Similar to down jackets, first close all zippers except for pockets, release any draw cords, and loosen any velcro.  It’s recommended that you use a front loading washer because a top loader could damage your jacket.  However you can use a mesh bag if you have a top loader to protect your garments.
  2. Wash on warm, normal cycle.  Use a mild powder detergent or we always recommend using Nikwax Tech Wash for the best results and less residue build up.
  3. Tumble dry on low
  4. Take out immediately and shake to fluff it up.

 

How to Wash and Waterproof your Hard Shell Jacket and Pants

Including Gore-tex, eVent, DryVent, H2NO, and other waterproof materials that are 2 layers with a hanging liner or 3 layer fabrics including rain jackets, ski shells, and other hardshell jackets or pants.

This is much easier than down.  Clean. Then Waterproof.  Easy. It’s also recommend that you wash your jacket as often as is necessary.  When you see it’s dirty especially in areas like the neck and sleeves, wash it.  If it’s starting to “wet-out” – remember when your jacket was new and the water would bead up it?  That was so cool! If it doesn’t do that anymore you should wash it and waterproof it.  This will increase the performance of your jacket and the longevity.

  1.  Zip up the front and pit zips, open the pockets, open cuffs and loosen any pull tabs.
  2. Use a proper washing liquid.  I used Nikwax Tech Wash.  Follow the instructions for how much to use based on the number of items you are washing.
  3. Wash on warm/cold, normal cycle, double rinse.
  4. Remove it from the washer and shake it out.
  5. If your jacket is still performing well and water beads off of it you can put it in the dryer here.
  6. Dry on Regular cycle for about 40 minutes.

 

How To Re-Waterproof Your Jacket –

  1. If your jacket is absorbing water you’ll want apply a waterproof treatment before putting it in the dryer.  I used Nikwax TX.Direct Wash In because I feel like it covers all of the jacket better than a spray would, plus it’s easier and less messy.  I don’t have time to spray, wait, spray again, wait more then wipe everything down.  If you want to spray check out TX.Direct Spray-On.
  2. Dry on Regular cycle for about 40 minutes.

 

How to Wash a Soft Shell Jacket?

The Arc’teryx Atom SL is a favorite jacket for everyone at Tahoe Mountain Sports because you can use it year round for pretty much any activity.  It’s the perfect weight for active adventures and travel. It’s warm while being super lightweight. With a $229 price tag I really want to take care of this jacket so it lasts a long time.  It’s pretty easy to wash and apply a waterproof treatment to it at the beginning of each season.  I wash mine about 3-4 times per year, that’s it.

  1. Zip up the front and unzip the pockets.  Loosen any cords.
  2. I used SoftShell Proof Wash-In to wash this softshell nylon jacket.  It washes and applies a DWR waterproof coating all in the same cycle.  Follow the instructions on how much detergent to add.  
  3. Air dry or tumble dry on low.

Getting out Stains and Waterproofing Your Child’s Winter Jacket & Pants

I try to get stains out of my daughters ski clothes by using dishwashing detergent. I pour on a few drops of the detergent and use an old tooth brush to scrub.  I let it sit for about 15 minutes then use Nikwax Tech Wash to give it a thorough cleaning.

I think re-waterproofing everything is most important.  I don’t want my daughter getting wet and cold while playing in the snow or skiing.  Follow these steps:

  1.  Zip up the front and pit zips, open the pockets (remove any debris, my daughter’s pockets are always filled), open cuffs and loosen any pull tabs.
  2. Use a proper washing liquid.  I used Nikwax Tech Wash.  Follow the instructions for how much to use based on the number of items you are washing.
  3. Wash on warm/cold, normal cycle, with a double rinse.
  4. Remove it from the washer and shake it out.
  5. If the jacket is still performing well and water beads off of it you can put it in the dryer here.
  6. Dry on Regular cycle for about 40 minutes.

How to Re-Waterproof Your Child’s Jacket –

  1. If the jacket is absorbing water you’ll want apply a waterproof treatment before putting it in the dryer.  I used Nikwax TX.Direct Wash In because I feel like it covers all of the jacket better than a spray would, plus it’s easier and less messy.  I don’t have time to spray, wait, spray again, wait more then wipe everything down.  If you want to spray check out TX.Direct Spray-On.  A benefit of the spray is that you can spray high use areas more.
  2. Dry on Regular for about 40 minutes.

Please use one of our affiliate links above to purchase Nikwax or stop by our store – Tahoe Mountain Sports – in Truckee, California to pick some up today!




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