Expert Tips For Washing & Drying Your Waterproof Garments

February 19, 2024

Expert Tips For Washing & Drying Your Waterproof Garments

Purchasing waterproof gear is an excellent investment, especially if you live in or travel to areas prone to severe winters and excessive rain. But like all clothing, it’s going to get dirty eventually. Inclement weather, dirt, oils, and other contaminants can all interfere with your waterproof clothing’s performance, preventing it from working as it should. Over time, it can even lose its repellency.

Because waterproof clothing is made up of water-resistant fibers, ordinary detergent can strip the fabric of its waterproof coating. We’re sharing how to wash waterproof clothes and how to re-waterproof a jacket.

How to Wash Waterproof Clothes

Your waterproof clothing requires special care and laundering to ensure you stay dry. Some common signs indicating it might be time to wash your waterproof gear are:

“Wetting out”

This refers to your waterproof garment soaking up water rather than repelling it. Cleaning and re-waterproofing can help resolve this issue.

Dirt and stains

Visible stains not only look gross but can also compromise the integrity of your waterproof clothes.


If you’ve been active in your waterproof gear, body oils might have accumulated, leading to a deterioration of the water-repelling coating and decreased breathability.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to wash your waterproof clothes using these steps:

  1. Read your waterproof clothing’s care tag carefully and follow the instructions.
  2. Remove any loose mud or dirt on the outside of your clothing.
  3. Check all pockets and leave zippered pockets open.
  4. Close all velcro flaps.
  5. Wash your waterproof clothing alone.
  6. Use a gentle liquid detergent designed for waterproof materials.
  7. Select the perm-press cycle and wash in warm water.
  8. Tumble dry with low heat if care instructions allow or let air dry to help restore the waterproof coating. Avoid hanging your clothes in direct sunlight as the UV rays can overheat and fade your gear.

How to Re-Waterproof a Jacket

Many brands use unique technologies to make the fabric waterproof and breathable. The most common is GORE-TEX, a lightweight, impermeable fabric composed of stretched polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). GORE-TEX is regularly used in combination with DWR or Durable Water Repellent, a coating used on the outside of your clothing that makes it water-resistant.

If you’ve washed your waterproof jacket and the water-repellent finish has worn off, don’t fret; you can easily re-waterproof it. Here’s a practical step-by-step guide to re-waterproofing your clothes:

  1. If you haven’t already, make sure your jacket is clean.
  2. If only a little less waterproof, you can try drying it at medium heat for half an hour. The heat can reactivate the DWR.
  3. If water still isn’t beading up on your clothes, you can reapply wash-in or spray-on DWR.
  4. Run your jacket through the wash with the DWR instead of the detergent and dry as usual.

Stay dry this winter when you take good care of your waterproof clothing. If you want to go the extra mile, consider stopping by 4J Laundromat! We are Philadelphia, PA’s top, full-service 24-hour laundromat. We specialize in professional pick-up and drop-off services in addition to our fully attended, 24-hour self-serve laundry services. Visit us today!

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