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    Outdoor Fabric Care Guide, Part 1: How to wash GORE-TEX apparel

    Guest Authors
    Guest Authors

    I admit it, doing laundry isn’t actually my favourite activity. But at some point, my GORE-TEX wardrobe starts to look a little beleaguered, especially after a long season, full of adventures. Regardless of ski touring in winter or mountaineering and trekking in summer. How do your outdoor duds look after our last tour? After all, it’s time for a cleansing treatment before the next outdoor adventure arrives, right? But how do you really go about the washday routine? It is high time for an outdoor fabric care guide, for your favourite outdoor gear. Also, important of course so we don’t get bored are the right tunes for doing laundry. So, let’s get to it and follow our care guide...

    Why wash your GORE-TEX gear at all?

    Well, first there is the obvious joy of clean clothes when starting your next trip. This includes the absence of the last campfire or outdoor cooking adventure. But there is even more to it than feeling good and more energetic on your next tour. In fact, the proper care and attention to your outdoor garments helps to prolong the useful life of your GORE-TEX clothing and ensures peak performance, as accumulating dirt and sweat, can impact both the performance and water-repellency of your gear. Thus, increasing your garment’s useful life is good for you and the environment, too. Simply because the longer you can use and enjoy your durable outdoor garments the less often you have to replace it for new ones.

    Step 1: In the machine, by hand or off to the dry cleaners – what to do?

    One look at the tag reveals that hands aren’t necessary and neither are the dry-cleaning experts. Jacket and pants can be washed at 40°C on a normal gentle cycle in the washing machine.

    TIPP: If you don’t feel comfortable putting your functional garments through this routine yourself, try the GORE-TEX authorized Care Service by our partner MeyerundKuhl Spezialwäschen GmbH

    Step 2: Batten down the hatches!

    I love my GORE-TEX gear in particular because they have all kinds of small pockets and extras for outdoor adventures. For example, a pocket just for my mobile or lip balm, plus venting options under the arms, and a stretch drawstring to adjust the waist. All of these features can now by admired one by one. Because prior to washing the M.O. is: Batten down the hatches! The front zippers, the pockets or compartments, the underarm zippers – all of the openings get carefully closed. Plus, the wind flaps and zipper flaps and other bands are closed or tied up. Nothing should get jammed or tangled up.

    TIPP: Check the insides of your pockets and remove all reminiscences of the last tour: pocket money, tissues and earphones.

    Step 3: Washing detergent – less is more!

    Which washing detergent should I use? No need for special detergents, any normal household wash detergent is fine. What is important is to use liquid detergent and then just sparingly (about 30ML). Powder detergents and fabric softeners can clog up the sensitive pores of the membranes or damage the material. Of course, you can also use special detergents that are available at any good outdoor retailer that also carries GORE-TEX products.

    TIPP: Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s care instructions ─ typically found on the inside tag

    Step 4: Successful dirty work – how to get rid of stubborn stains?

    Spot remover or bleach is totally taboo. To work on the remnants of my outdoor adventures that won’t disappear so easily during the wash, I take some liquid detergent and use the pre-wash cycle. If your machine doesn’t have this cycle, you can take your GORE-TEX apparel and let the pieces soak a bit in a sink prior to washing and gently ease out the spots this way. Then by the time it comes to the main wash cycle (gentle cycle) at 40°C, a part of the work is already taken care of. Now we wait.

    By the way: Please avoid putting your functional apparel in the wash with items that are filthy dirty – otherwise, the dirt from the other gear could loosen and stop up the membrane pores.

    Step 5: Rinse twice

    Detergent is of course necessary; however, I still want to avoid any residue from harming or otherwise affecting the membrane’s performance. Thus, I run the rinse cycle a second time after the wash cycle -- – and then pull out a clean jacket and pants. Everything smells fresh, and the colours are brightly glowing. The first part of a short rejuvenation treatment for my outdoor favourites is done!

    Bring on an extra portion of protection!

    Next comes drying your gear and, with that, the correct reactivation of its water repellent capability.

    Step 1: “Dry” run

    My clean GORE-TEX apparel can air dry all on its own. If I want to speed it up, I could use the dryer to dry it. On a gentle cycle, the machine dryer won’t harm my apparel at all.

    Step 2: Like a Phoenix from the ashes – restoring water repellency

    To restore and reactivate water repellency, I put the dry gear back in the dryer for another 20 minutes. Warmth reactivates the outer fabric’s durable water-repellent impregnation (DWR treatment). If you don’t have a dryer at home, you can get the same effect with an iron. Iron your dry apparel at a very low temperature and without steam. To protect the surface, put a small towel between the iron and the garment.

    TIPP: Find more information about DWR treatment and how it works: here.

    Step 3: If water doesn’t bead off anymore, it’s time for the spray

    When it came to my jacket, water wasn’t beading up on the surface anymore. Check the image above for comparison: treatment need (left) vs. optimal performance (right). High time to help out the DWR treatment from the outside. To do this, there are pump spray bottles. After the treatment, everything is like new again and water won’t have a chance to soak into the outer fabric of your jacket. Now you’re done and ready for the next season and adventure.

    Step 4: What to do if you have damaged your jacket?

    In case you have torn a hole in your jacket from your cross-country run through the underbrush or pants had a sharp encounter with the edges of your skis, no need to despair. GORE-TEX products can often be repaired. There are repair kits for a quick fix available at specialty retailers. For really solid, long-lasting repairs that warrant the GORE-TEX GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY™ promise you should leave it to the experts at one of the GORE-TEX repair centres.

    To find out more and locate the centre closest to you: click here.

    For a short-and-sweet summary of our care guidelines: click here.


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