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    Wash your GORE-TEX jacket regularly!

    Chris Eisenmann
    Chris Eisenmann

    I often notice that there is considerable uncertainty about how best to care for GORE-TEX garments. That’s why I decided to write this blog in response to your most commonly asked questions.


    Can I wash my GORE-TEX garment?

    I do understand your concern. “My GORE-TEX jacket was really expensive. I find it hard to believe that I just need to put it in the washing machine. It’ll never look the same again! Perhaps it would be best to wait a bit.”

    Not a good idea, because residue from body fats, skin care products, sun cream, insect repellent, etc. can permanently impair the waterproofness and breathability of your garment. Yellow and other dirt stains often appear on the inside of your collar, where the jacket is in direct contact with your skin. The tape that covers the seams and ensures that water doesn’t get in can peel up or come loose. Discolouration is a clear indication that it’s high time to wash your garment. GORE-TEX garments need regular care.

    It’s not just that you can wash your garment, you should wash your garment, and you should wash it regularly. If you put off washing it for too long, or perhaps don’t even wash it at all, you risk damaging certain components of the garment and impairing its performance.



    Can’t I just have my GORE-TEX garment dry cleaned? That’s probably more gentle on the garment, and they must know what they are doing.

    Dry cleaning is a possibility, but not necessarily a good idea. The solvent used in dry cleaning is often recovered and used multiple times. If it has been recovered, it will clean the garment but may leave behind unwanted residues in the garment that can impair its water repellency in particular. When, and if, you take your garment to be dry cleaned, you should insist that a new solvent is used, and not one that has been recovered.

    It’s also important to know that dry cleaning completely washes out the water repellent treatment. This treatment ensures that water beads and rolls off the surface of the garment. So, it’s very important that you reapply the water repellent treatment after having your garment dry cleaned.



    How often should I wash my GORE-TEX garment?

    You should wash your GORE-TEX garment whenever it looks dirty, feels dirty, smells, or water no longer beads on its surface.

    • After intense use (i.e. hiking, cycling, jogging and other situations in which you sweat a lot): every 5 to 8 days
    • After moderate use (i.e. everyday use): every 10 to 20 days


    So, how exactly should I go about washing my garment?

    Basically, the process involves three steps, plus a few details that it’s worth paying attention to.

    1. WASHING

    • Do up all zippers and other closures, also the pockets.
    • Loosen all drawcords, i.e. in the hood and around the hips.
    • Don’t wash with heavily soiled clothing.
    • Use half a cap of liquid detergent.
    • Wash at 40°C on a delicate cycle.
    • Rinse twice at a low spin speed.
    • Don't use powder detergents, fabric softeners, stain removers, or bleach.

    2. DRYING

    • Line-dry your garment.
    • Or tumble dry it at a low temperature.


    • When your garment is dry, put it (back) in the tumble dryer for another 20 minutes.
    • Or iron it at a low temperature (no steam).
    • Place a piece of cloth (i.e. a tea towel) between the garment and the iron.


    Should I use a special detergent for functional apparel?

    No, GORE-TEX garments do not need to be washed with special detergents. Tests that we’ve conducted on GORE-TEX garments have confirmed this. When it comes to washing GORE-TEX garments, special detergents for functional apparel are neither better nor worse than conventional detergents.

    However, what we have discovered is that repeated use of powder detergents can reduce the breathability of GORE-TEX garments. This was not the case with liquid detergents. That’s why I strongly recommend you use a liquid detergent. It’s also important to make sure your liquid detergent doesn’t contain fabric softeners, stain removers or bleach. A list of ingredients is usually displayed on the packaging.


    I understand why washing and drying is important, but why is heat treatment necessary?

    Heat treatment reactivates the garment’s water repellency. It ensures that water beads and runs off the surface of the garment. This means that the outer fabric won’t soak up water. If the outer fabric of your garment does become saturated with water, it will make you feel cold and damp.

    You can reactivate the water repellency at any time by applying heat to the dry garment. You don’t have to wait until your garment is dirty enough to need a wash. However, you must heat treat your garment every time you wash and dry it, or when you apply a new durable water repellent.



    What? I thought that GORE-TEX garments are durably waterproof?

    They are. The membrane on the inside of the outer fabric ensures that no water from the outside finds its way into the garment, keeping you dry and comfortable. This is a durable feature of GORE-TEX garments. The job of the water repellent is to ensure that water rolls off the outermost fabric layer. The water repellent is not permanent. It needs good care, and restoring from time to time.

    Chris Eisenmann Chris Eisenmann

    Chris Eisenmann

    At Gore, Chris develops the garment technology of tomorrow. In doing his work, he likes to take a deep dive behind the scenes: How exactly does the technology work? Why? Where are the limits? What can be improved? Chris prefers to test his inventions himself. He does this by snowboarding in the winter, mountain biking in the summer, and running the whole year through.

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