FAQs

FAQs

Curious about how GORE-TEX® fabrics and apparel are engineered? Wondering about their durability and performance, or how they are cared for and maintained? You'll find all this information and more right here. If not, contact us and we'll be glad to help.

General

What is GORE-TEX® fabric?

First introduced in 1978, GORE-TEX® fabric is created when we laminate our patented GORE-TEX® membrane to high-performance textiles, which are then used by authorized garment manufacturers to make outerwear, accessories, and footwear.

UP

Who can manufacture GORE-TEX® garments?

Only a limited number of specialist apparel manufacturers are licensed to use our fabric in accordance with our strict quality standards. We test every product design before it is approved for production and sell GORE-TEX® fabric only for the production of approved designs. Plus we guarantee the performance of all finished GORE-TEX® apparel, footwear, and accessories — not just the fabric from which the finished product is made.

So if your product says GORE-TEX® on the label, you know it carries the Guaranteed To Keep You Dry® promise, no matter who manufactured it or where you bought it.

UP

Where can I buy GORE-TEX® fabric?

GORE-TEX® fabric is available only to our licensed manufacturers, who create garments and footwear to our exacting standards.

UP

Where can I get a GORE-TEX® product catalog?

At Gore, we manufacture GORE-TEX® and WINDSTOPPER® fabrics — not the finished garments you find in stores. To see products made with Gore fabrics, you have several options: contact us  to learn which of your favorite brands contain our fabrics; contact your favorite retailers to request their catalogs; or use our Store Finder  to locate stores near you selling GORE™ products.

UP

How can I be sure I'm buying a genuine GORE-TEX® product?

No matter which manufacturer makes the product, our label with the GORE-TEX® or WINDSTOPPER® trademark is sewn into an inside or outside seam. You can't miss it. In newer products, it might also be embroidered on the sleeve or chest of a garment, or you might find it on a small metal tag on the outside. Remember: If it doesn't say GORE-TEX®, it's not.

UP

Product Performance

What's the life expectancy of a GORE-TEX® garment?

It really depends on you. The GORE-TEX® membrane won't deteriorate with time, and our garments are guaranteed to be durably waterproof and breathable. Just use common sense and wear your garment for its intended use; i.e, don't wear a lightweight cycling jacket on a backcountry camping trip. And obviously, a ski instructor who wears his or her garment every day will need to buy a new one sooner than a skier who takes his or her garment out twice a year will. If you maintain your garment properly, you can expect it to last.

UP

Will a GORE-TEX® garment keep me warm?

Yes. GORE-TEX® fabric is windproof, so it blocks cold air and wind that can disturb your body heat and cause windchill. However, GORE-TEX® fabric itself doesn't have any special insulating qualities, so in really cold conditions, wearing extra layers underneath your outerwear will ensure that you stay warm and comfortable.

UP

Do all GORE-TEX® fabrics offer the same quality?

ALL our GORE-TEX® fabrics are waterproof, windproof, and breathable. However, there are many different outer fabrics and fabric constructions available so that you can choose what's most important to you: weight, texture, abrasion resistance, and so on.

UP

Why do GORE-TEX® garments need seam tape?

The holes made by needles in seams may be small, but they can cause leaks. That’s why even the most waterproof, breathable, windproof fabric won’t keep you dry and comfortable if the seams are not completely sealed.

For absolute weatherproofness, GORE-TEX® garments rely on the Micro GORE-SEAM® tape technology. Seam tape is used to completely seal every tiny hole created by sewing machine needles when GORE-TEX® fabric is made into garments.

No other fabric manufacturer goes to such lengths to ensure total weather protection. In addition to manufacturing our own GORE-SEAM® Tape, only Gore consistently tests finished garments to ensure they pass our meticulous quality and performance standards.

UP

What does the GORE-TEX® Guaranteed To Keep You Dry® promise mean?

Just that: No liquid from the outside will get to you on the inside. Water from a driving rain you're caught in, a damp bench that you happen to sit on, or wet grass that you kneel in can't penetrate GORE-TEX® fabric. To be totally waterproof, a fabric must be able to withstand water entry in all active conditions.

UP

How durable is GORE-TEX® fabric?

GORE-TEX® fabric will last for many years. It's incredibly durable, and unlike other "waterproof/breathable" fabrics that can lose waterproofness after repeated laundering, flexing, abrasion, or exposure to body oils or insect spray, the waterproofness and breathability of GORE-TEX® fabric is guaranteed under any conditions you may encounter.

UP

How does the GORE-TEX® membrane work?

The GORE-TEX® membrane has 9 billion pores per square inch, with each pore 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet. These tiny holes are too small for water and wind to pass through from the outside, which is how we can guarantee you'll stay dry and warm in a garment made with GORE-TEX® fabric. But these same pores are large enough for moisture vapor to pass through, so your body's perspiration is able to escape and you don't get clammy and uncomfortable. That's what 'waterproof/breathable' is all about.

UP

Footwear

Do leather boots even need a GORE-TEX® liner?

Yes. No leather is inherently waterproof, and most "waterproof" footwear requires applications of special waxes or greases to stay that way. Not only is this inconvenient, but it severely compromises the breathability of the footwear. And it's not guaranteed to keep you dry. With GORE-TEX® footwear, the waterproofness and breathability are never in doubt.

UP

Is GORE-TEX® footwear breathable?

Yes, absolutely — and that's an important detail. Your feet stay drier from the inside out, because your perspiration is evaporating out of the footwear, not staying inside to make your feet feel clammy and uncomfortable. Especially in colder weather, breathability is crucial for keeping your feet dry and warm.

UP

How can I be sure I'm buying genuine GORE-TEX® footwear?

Just look for our label on the footwear. All GORE-TEX® footwear carries our name as well as the manufacturer's brand. We even include a GORE-TEX® footwear booklet in the box. Remember: if it doesn't say GORE-TEX® footwear, it isn't.

UP

Care

What's the best way to wash my GORE-TEX® garment?

Be sure to read the manufacturer’s care tag first. Wash your GORE-TEX® garment in the washing machine in warm (105°F/40°C) water. For the best results, use a small amount of liquid detergent. Please do not use powder detergents, fabric softener or chlorine bleach.

UP

How often should I wash my GORE-TEX® garment?

Wash your garment as often as you need to remove such impurities as dirt, campfire smoke and cooking odors. Washing and drying your garment helps restore the durable water repellent (DWR) that is important to the performance of a GORE-TEX® garment.

UP

What cycle do I use if my washing machine doesn’t have a permanent press setting?

You can use a gentle cycle that does not rigorously spin the garment. Reducing the spinning will minimize creasing or damage that can be caused by pulling and twisting the garment.

UP

Can I use either powder or liquid detergent?

For best results, we recommend using liquid rather than powder detergents.

UP

How much laundry detergent do you recommend?

Most liquid detergents for home use recommend about one ounce per load.

UP

Should I wash my GORE-TEX® garment separately?

You do not need to wash your GORE-TEX® garment by itself. You can wash it with similar garments that are not heavily soiled. We suggest a second rinse cycle to ensure that all of the detergent and soil are completely rinsed out of the garment.

UP

Can I use stain removers on my GORE-TEX® garment?

We do not recommend stain removers. Instead, we recommend using liquid detergent in the pre-wash cycle of your washing machine to remove stains and heavy soil. If your machine does not have a pre-wash cycle, simply soak the garment in warm water with liquid detergent.

UP

Can I use bleach?

Please do not use bleach with any GORE-TEX® garment. It could affect the color and performance of the garment.

UP

What is the best way to dry my GORE-TEX® garment?

We recommend line-drying your garment; it uses less energy and reduces your impact on the environment. Once the garment is dry, it only takes 20 minutes of tumble-drying to reactivate the durable water repellent (DWR) of a GORE-TEX® garment.

UP

Can I use my dryer for my GORE-TEX® garment?

If you use a dryer, we recommend a gentle cycle with medium heat. Because today’s high-efficiency dryers shut off as soon as the moisture rate inside the dryer reaches a certain level, continue the cycle an additional 20 minutes to reactivate the DWR.

UP

What is DWR?

GORE-TEX® garments are treated with an ultra-thin treatment known as DWR, or durable water repellent. This treatment causes water to bead up and roll off the outer layer of garment, instead of being absorbed. Regular wear and tear, plus exposure to dirt, detergents, campfire smoke, cooking odors and other impurities diminish the protective DWR treatment. When water no longer beads up on your GORE-TEX® garment’s outer fabric, you can restore its DWR by using a topical spray-pump or a wash-in DWR treatment available at retail outdoor stores. These special treatments help maintain and restore the DWR on the outer shell fabric of the garment so that it remains water and stain repellent. (Note: We do not recommend wash-in treatments.)

UP

Can I use an aerosol DWR spray to replenish the DWR?

We recommend pump-action sprays instead of aerosol sprays to reduce the environmental impact. However, technically an aerosol spray can be used.

UP

Can GORE-TEX® garments be dry-cleaned?

Dry-cleaning does not harm GORE-TEX® fabric. However, always follow the manufacturer’s care instructions for your particular garment to make sure they recommend dry cleaning. If you decide to professionally dry-clean your garment, request clear, distilled hydrocarbon solvent rinse and a spray-on or wash-in DWR repellent.

UP

Can I use a home dry-cleaning kit to clean my GORE-TEX® garment?

If dry cleaning is necessary, we recommend a professional dry cleaning that uses clear, distilled hydrocarbon solvents for rinsing. We do not recommend home dry-cleaning kits.

UP

What setting should I use to iron my GORE-TEX® garment?

First check your manufacturer’s care instructions about ironing. We recommend using low temperatures and no steam. Place a cloth over the GORE-TEX® garment so that the iron does not touch the garment directly.

UP

Can I alter my GORE-TEX® garment or embroider a logo on it?

Any form of alteration to your GORE-TEX® garment after purchase, including repairs, logo embroidery, or fit alterations, should be done at a Gore-certified facility. Otherwise, you might compromise the waterproof protection of your garment, usually via small needle holes that have not been sealed. If you need to change your garment in any way, contact us to locate a certified repair facility.

UP

I've damaged my GORE-TEX® garment. What can I do?

You can temporarily fix minor punctures and tears with a GORE-TEX® Fabric Repair Kit, available at specialty outdoor stores. These special adhesive patches allow you to make instant repairs to preserve the waterproof integrity of your outerwear until you can get to a certified repair center. Contact us for information about contacting a repair center.

UP

Environmental

Are GORE-TEX® products environmentally friendly?

Yes, our products are environmentally sound. Their durable performance allows them to last longer, which is the most effective measure for making an environmentally sound choice in functional garments, footwear and accessories.

Due to the selection of advanced materials like expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) and state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, we deliver best-in-class products offering a high level of durability. Durability enables a long and useful lifetime of the finished product, resulting in substantial savings of raw materials and energy that would be otherwise required to manufacture multiple units of shorter-lived products.

Learn more about the importance of environmentally sound clothing in Well Dressed, an article about a Cambridge University study that found, “…the greatest beneficial change would occur if we purchased less clothing and kept it for longer.”

The positive environmental effects of product durability are similar to those of our other GORE® products, including WINDSTOPPER® fabrics.

UP

Does making GORE-TEX® products harm the environment?

While no manufacturing operation can be completely free from emissions and environmental impact, the Fabrics Division of W. L. Gore & Associates makes significant efforts to minimize the effect of our manufacturing processes on the environment.

We fulfill a high level of environmental standards in all of our manufacturing plants globally with controls in place that meet or improve upon the local regulatory demands (e.g., air pollution control devices, solvent-free adhesives, manufacturing waste recycling, and waste water treatment). The environmental impacts of our manufacturing processes are regularly assessed and controlled by an Environmental Management System according to ISO 14001. This environmental manufacturing standard was globally implemented in our fabrics manufacturing plants in 2010.

All of our fabric manufacturing sites have passed the bluesign® screening and have implemented the bluesign® standard, which verifies that our manufacturing processes are carefully managed and equipped with the best available environmental controls. bluesign technologies ag has developed an independent and rigorous standard for the safety and environmental performance in making textile products.

UP

What is the key environmental impact of GORE-TEX® garments?

GORE-TEX® and other GORE® fabrics are an environmentally sound choice because they are manufactured responsibly and their durable performance allows apparel to last longer, reducing the use of natural resources and waste.

While some manufacturers of functional materials focus on only part of the story regarding the environmental profile of their products, we employ a Life Cycle Assessment approach that considers all aspects of our products. This starts with the production of raw materials by our suppliers and includes all elements of manufacturing and transportation. We even consider the impact of the washing and drying performed by the consumer over the lifetime of the garment.

Comparing the relative impact of each phase of a GORE-TEX® jacket's life, the largest environmental impact occurs during production and finishing of the component materials that make up a garment. In contrast, washing, drying, and retreating during the useful life and disposal incurs a smaller environmental impact.

UP

Can I care for my GORE-TEX® products in an environmentally friendly way?

Yes. Routine care and maintenance, like washing, will ensure the highest performance from a jacket and extend its useful lifespan. Investing in a long-lasting garment and maintaining it properly not only saves on the environmental footprint but also saves on your direct costs.

GORE-TEX® fabrics have a highly durable stain and water repellency treatment (DWR) that can be easily and repeatedly restored by tumble-drying and/or ironing. In this way, consumers can maintain the performance of their garment and save significantly on the cost and use of repellency restorative treatments. However, if after years or use, washing and drying no longer prove effective, GORE-TEX® garments and footwear may benefit from a DWR restorative treatment. Professional reproofing or spraying of a re-treatment product (according to manufacturer's instructions) can be an efficient way to do so. This also minimizes the release of treatment agents into the environment.

In the event of a tear or hole in the fabric of a garment, our GORE-TEX® Fabric Repair Kit has proven useful in preserving the functional integrity of the garment, thus extending its life. Wearers can either apply the patches themselves or have the garments mended professionally by one of our authorized Gore Repair Centers.

Learn more about care and maintenance of GORE® fabrics in our FAQ Care section.

UP

Is it safe for me to wear my GORE-TEX® gear?

Absolutely. Gore® fabrics are safe to wear. They meet state-of-the-art product safety requirements like Oeko-Tex® Standard 100. This is a global textile safety standard well respected for its science-based approach to textile safety validation.

The implementation of the bluesign® standard in all fabric manufacturing plants of Gore verifies that our products made with ePTFE membranes are harmless to people and environmentally sound. Our fabrics consist of this ePTFE membrane bonded to high-performance textiles from our suppliers. GORE® fabrics will be certified as “bluesign® approved fabrics” when we use textiles that meet the standard. Currently only a few textiles are available that comply completely with both the strict criteria of the bluesign® standard and Gore's rigorous quality parameters.

We now offer two-layer GORE-TEX® and WINDSTOPPER® fabrics that are bluesign® approved fabrics to our customers who manufacture garments. A limited selection of those garments will be available to consumers from fall 2012

Gore is working with its suppliers to gain access to more textiles that comply with the bluesign® standard.

Learn more about Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 and the bluesign® standard.

UP

Is it possible to recycle GORE-TEX® garments?

Gore has developed a technology for high value recycling of its laminates.

Together with some committed customers, in 1993 Gore was the first in the apparel industry to offer high level post-consumer recycling for outerwear. This recycling program for specially designed garments, named GORE™ BALANCE PROJECT™, received the 1995 European Outdoor Award for Innovation. We quickly learned, however, that consumers were not as willing to return these garments for recycling even after years of use, thus the program was stopped.

We have since learned that when considering the entire lifecycle of our apparel and footwear, enhancing their useful life has a much more significant positive impact on their overall environmental footprint than does recycling of the final product.

UP

How should I dispose of a GORE-TEX® product in an environmentally safe way?

Garments or footwear made from GORE® fabrics can be safely disposed of just like any other apparel product.

Contrary to most other plastics, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) - the raw material of our membrane - is not made or processed using plasticizers or stabilizers. It doesn't contain residuals like heavy metals, organotin compounds or phthalates. If disposed of in a landfill, PTFE will not degrade, so it will not contribute to the formation of greenhouse gases (i.e., methane) or release substances into the water or air. In an incineration plant, PTFE is safely converted to carbon dioxide and fluorspar. Potentially harmful gases are captured by pollution control devices (alkaline scrubbers) that have been in place for a number of decades.

Finding ways to extend the useful life of a product has always been the environmentally preferred option over product disposal. One might wish to consider donating footwear or garments to charities or repurposing the product for other applications.

UP