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Waterproof jackets are hardy garments and essential for winter in the UK, but did you know you’re supposed to wash them? Even though waterproof clothing repels water, they can become less and less effective over time if you don’t wash them and restore them. Don’t worry, Express.co.uk reveals how to clean your waterproof clothing properly according to Cotswold and Millets.
Waterproof clothing typically uses a Durable Water Repellent treatment to protect the fabric and allow water to bead and roll off it.
The longer you own the clothing, the more likely it is to become ineffective.
If you’ve noticed your waterproof clothing absorbing water and becoming soggy, it’s time to give it a clean and restore it.
The experts at Cotswold said: “Concerns of putting your beloved waterproof jacket through the washing machine and dryer are understandable, but it is essential that you wash your waterproof jacket to maintain its performance.
“Often, waterproof jackets only start absorbing water because the dirt on them is covering the waterproof coating.”
Not sure where to start? Here are the four steps to cleaning your waterproof clothing.
The first thing you need to do is check the care label on your waterproof clothing.
Find out how the item is supposed to be washed – what temperature, what products to use, and so on.
According to the team at Millets, waterproof jackets should NOT be washed with fabric softeners as the chemicals in them clog the membrane which prevents moisture from passing through.
Instead, use a technical outdoor fabric cleaner to ensure a thorough wash without causing any damage.
Before popping the waterproof jacket in the wash, use a soft-bristle brush to wipe away dirt and close the zips and flaps.
Then, treat any stains using a sponge or soft nylon brush with Nikwax Tech Wash or a similar product to any stubborn stains.
Make sure your washing machine’s detergent compartment is clean of any other detergents.
If you want to be extra safe, you can set your washing machine to do a hot wash with nothing in it to remove any leftover residue in the washing machine.
It’s important to use non-detergent cleaning agents, as they won’t leave a hydrophilic (water-attracting) residue on your garment, according to Cotswold.
Millets recommend pouring the Nikwax Tech Wash into the detergent compartment following the instructions on both the clothing and product label.
Then, put your waterproof clothing into the washing machine.
Millets’ advice reads: “You can wash multiple jackets or trousers at once, however, most outdoor washing detergents recommend putting only two waterproof garments in at a time.
“This ensures that each waterproof is washed and cleaned properly.”
Most of the time, you should wash waterproof items on a 30C wash on a gentle spin.
Once your clothing has been washed, you should hang it up to air dry or tumble dry it (where possible).
If you choose to tumble dry it, make sure you use a low or no heat setting as heat will re-activate the durable water repellent treatment.
If it wrinkles and you can’t use a tumble dryer, you can use an iron if you do not own a tumble dryer.
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