December 21, 2015

How to Keep Your Waterproof Ski Jacket (and Other Gear) in Tip-Top Shape

It’s a crisp winter morning and you’re packing for that ski trip you’ve been dreaming about all summer.

Your skis, goggles, boots—everything looks good. That is, except your GORE-TEX® jacket. Yep, it’s still a bit dirty from last ski season when the snow turned to slush.

Been there? Don’t sweat it. Here’s how to care for your jacket so you can have a long and happy life together.

Keeping It Clean

It’s true that you don’t need to wash your waterproof ski jacket after every adventure. In fact, unless it’s visually dirty, it’s best to err on the side of fewer washes.

That said, when it’s time to wash it, go ahead and throw it in the washing machine on warm permanent press with a bit of liquid detergent. Put it through a rinse cycle twice to make sure all that soap gets out, but don’t let it spin for too long. You don’t want it to get creased.

Make sure you avoid the use of powder detergents, fabric softeners, conditioners, stain removers, and bleach, as they can break down the waterproof coating on the outside.

To dry, hang your jacket on a clothesline or tumble dry it in your machine on a warm, gentle cycle.

How to Reactivate Your DWR

Many GORE-TEX® shell fabrics are created with an ultra-thin treatment on the outside called DWR, which lowers the surface tension of the fabric and makes water bead up on the surface.

To reactivate this treatment, we insist you run the jacket on tumble dry for another 20 minutes (even if you are not reapplying DWR). Don’t have access to a dryer? You can iron it on a low setting without steam. Just make sure to put a towel between the jacket and iron.

If the fabric on the outer layer isn’t repelling water like it used to, the good news is that the GORE-TEX® membrane inside is still waterproof. You can reactivate the outer layer of your waterproof ski jacket with a spray-on DWR treatment that you can find at most outdoor retailers.

Dry Cleaning

We recommend home washing whenever possible to keep your waterproof ski jacket looking beautiful and performing as expected. However, if things get really messy and you want to take it to a dry cleaner, request that they use clear distilled hydrocarbon solvent for rinsing (they’ll know what this means) and that they spray a DWR treatment on the garment’s outer fabric before drying.

Getting It Fixed

So you got your adventure on in a big way and your jacket got caring for a waterproof ski jacketdamaged. Accidents happen. You can get repair kits from authorized distributors and outdoor gear retailers across the country.

The kits include patches in similar fabric types and weights so you can find the right match to your jacket. Stick a patch on while you’re on the slopes for a quick fix, and when you get back indoors you can iron it on to really seal that bond.

If you’ve loved on your GORE-TEX® jacket beyond a small tear, all is not lost. Get in touch with one of our authorized Repair Centers. Our jackets are known to last generations, and these centers are able to work wonders.

How to Clean the Rest of Your Gear

Whether you’re prepping for the upcoming season or you’re packing up to wait until the next snowfall, you’ll want to get everything squeaky clean so you can grab it next season at a moment’s notice. Once your outerwear is clean and dry, here’s how to care for the rest of your gear.

cleaning waterproof ski jacketHow to Clean Your Skis

For skis, use a mild soap and a sponge to get off any hardened dirt and rinse it all off. After wiping them completely dry, you can use a base cleaner to remove any remaining wax. Finally, rub some shiny new wax over the bottom. The wax you use is going to depend on your type of skiing.

For alpine skiing, you’ll use a glide wax to make you faster. REI has a great article on glide waxing to reference. For classic cross-country skiing, you’ll need a kick wax, sometimes called a grip wax, to help you get enough traction to move forward but still let you glide once you get going.

How to Clean Your Goggles

When it comes to goggles, wipe them down gently with a soft lens cloth or the soft bag they came in. Don’t use a tissue, paper towel, or clothing! These can actually create small scratches across the lenses.

If there’s still a bit of grime, you can use an eyeglass cleaning solution for the outside. Be careful with the inside, though. A lot of goggles, especially the higher-end ones, come with a waterproof coating on the inside that can be rubbed off with a cleaner or even with just a cloth if the inside lens is wet. The best way to clean the inside of the lens it to wait until the goggles are all dried out, then use the soft cloth to gently brush off dust.

And hey, if you do need to give it a more thorough wash, your goggles will survive. Just make sure to re-treat it with an anti-fog spray from a sports retailer.

Storing Your Gear

So there you have it. Once all your gear is clean, store it somewhere cool and dry, like your closet. We all love our gear because it’s what allows us to have awesome days on the slopes. Take care of it, and it’ll take care of you.

What’s that you say? No gear to clean? Let’s fix that.

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Get email updates from GORE-TEX® brand

Learn about new products, contests, gear giveaways, and upcoming events. As a way to say thank you, you'll be entered to win a pair of GORE-TEX® SURROUND® Boots to help keep your feet dry!