Like every other piece of clothing taking proper care of your rain gear is important. Doing this prolongs its lifespan and ensures optimum performance. This is particularly important since rain jackets generally become less effective at doing their job of protecting you from getting wet with increase in dirt buildup. We have put together a simply guide to put you thorough on how to wash rain gear?
Signs that show its time to wash your rain gear?
Rain gears are delicate material. Knowing this, most people would rather not wash it at all in order to prevent it from getting damaged. However, there are tell-tale signs that let you know that it’s time to wash your rain gear. These includes:
✔️ Visible stains and dirt:
now this is quite straightforward. Like every other piece of clothing you know it’s time to wash your rain gear when you discover it is visibly dirty or has been stained during use.
Every rain jacket has durable water repellent (DWR) on its inner surface. This breathable surface which helps to keep water out can be compromised by dirt, oils and even sweat from your skin. Thus causing water to soak in. This phenomenon is referred to as wetting out.
However, some people take this to mean that their rain gear is past its useful lifespan and should be replaced. This isn’t true. And simple cleaning and possibly replacing the DWR layer will get it into shape again. So how do you go about washing your rain gear without damaging it?
How to wash rain gear
In most cases your rain gear will come with a care tag. This gives you the most recommended instructions on how to correctly wash it. Be sure to check this tag before you begin washing in order to know things to do avoid.
Generally, it is recommended that you wash your rain gear with cold or warm water. You can do this either by hand or using the delicate wash cycle of your machine. Additionally, to avoid damage from friction, you should make sure all the Velcro and hook on your jacket are closed.
Also, the process of washing the gear will also depend on your machine to some extent. For example, a High-efficiency (HE) top-loader washing machine will have a different set of instructions about washing waterproof material like your rain jacket. Failure to follow these instructions can damage both your rain gear and even your washing machine. After washing, you should rinse the cloth again in other to get all the detergent out of the material.
What is the right detergent to use?
Because you are washing delicate material, you should use a mild non-toxic and possibly biodegradable detergent. Liquid detergent instead of powder is recommended for this. Avoid using bleach or any type of fabric softener on your rain gear. This might damage the waterproof layer.
How to dry your rain gear correctly?
After washing another important part of cleaning your rain gear is how to dry it without damaging the material. Generally it is recommended that you either hang dry or dry on a flat surface. In either case ensure that there is enough ventilation in order to prevent peeling or melting due to heat.
You can also tumble dry on a low heat cycle. Ensure that you turn the garment inside out with the zip pulled up while you dry. You can also add a towel or two into the dryer with the rain jacket to absorb some of the moisture.
How often should you wash?
How often you should wash your rain gear depends largely on how much you use it and your habit. For example if you use it casually then washing your rain coat once in a month or after wearing it about 20 or 30 times should be enough.
However, if you use it for more rigorous purposes such as jogging or hiking then washing after 10-15 uses is recommended since a buildup of sweat and other contaminants will speed up the possibility of breakdown.
Finally, it is better to wash your rain gear before it starts showing signs of wetting out. Waiting till this happens before you wash might cause irreparable damage. This may require you to recoat the DWR layer of the garment.