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Washing a rain jacket: how to clean your waterproof apparel correctly

A good raincoat achieves great things: it is windproof, waterproof and yet still breathable. To make sure it stays this way, you should be regularly washing and waterproofing your raincoat. Our tips for a spotless result.

  • Yes, you can – and should do too! Washing your rain jacket regularly is important especially if you wear it often, as this is the only way you can be sure to get rid of dirt, grease residue and sweat. If you do not wash your rain jacket, the pores of the protective membrane will ultimately become clogged, which will impair the breathability of your jacket. As a rule of thumb: if you wear your rain jacket every day, wash it once per month.

  • Generally speaking, there is no reason why you cannot put your rain jacket in the washing machine. Nevertheless, choose a programme without a spin cycle or one with a brief and slow spin. If in doubt, check the care instructions on the sewn-in label. Treat the areas that are more prone to getting dirty (e.g. collar, cuffs, pockets) first of all with a soft brush and using gall soap and water before popping it into the washing machine.

  • Above all else: do NOT use an all-purpose detergent, fabric softener or bleaching agent on your rain jacket. Furthermore, liquid detergents are more suitable than powder, as the latter can clog the pores. But please be careful, even with liquid detergents: some liquid detergents contain a fabric softener. Mild detergents or ones especially geared towards outdoor functional clothing are best of all since the detergent washes out easily.

    Do not overdo the amount of detergent for washing your rain jacket. In general, it is better to wash often, using a small amount of detergent, than to wash rarely and use a lot of detergent.

  • Most waterproof jackets can be washed in the machine at 30 degrees. Please read the instructions in the care label first of all.

    Easy steps to washing your rain jacket:

    • Pretreat those areas of the jacket that are prone to getting dirty with a soft brush and gall soap.
    • Fasten all zips and Velcro fastenings, then put the jacket into the washing machine.
    • Select a wash programme for delicates.
    • Select the temperature depending on the membrane – 30 to 40 degrees – as long as nothing else is stated on the care label.
    • Use a liquid detergent for outdoor functional clothing and follow the instructions.
    • Rinse the jacket several times with fresh water, in order to remove any detergent that is still in the material.
    • Then hang out your jacket to dry naturally.
  • You should not only wash your rain jacket regularly but waterproof it, too, if you wish to be permanently protected against the wind and rain. A simple test would be to put it under the tap after you have washed it. If the tap water simply runs off, you do not need to do anything else. If, however, this is not the case, then you should look to reproof the jacket with the respective spray or a waterproofing detergent.

    A jacket that has been waterproofed is more breathable too – and, thus, the best companion for your next trip.

Looking for a high-quality detergent for your raincoat?

You’ll find a selection of detergents perfectly fit for the job at Jack Wolfskin – with no questionable chemicals in sight, of course!

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