APPROPRIATE WASHING + A LITTLE TLC = RAIN GEAR LONG LIFE
We strive to make durable products because we know our customers rely on their gear. All garments will wear out over time, but a garment that is properly cared for will last much longer than one that is neglected. We want you to have the best possible experience with your Showers Pass gear, so here are our tips for getting the longest life and best performance from your outerwear:
Waterproof Care Instructions
Be Proactive! Proper care helps to prevent untimely wear and preserves performance, but it shouldn’t be expected to reverse damage that has already occurred from heavy use or neglect. Don’t wait for something to go wrong take action!
Wash your gear! Dirty zippers are more likely to jam or wear out and sweat and oils from skin, hair and and cause waterproof membranes to deteriorate. We generally recommend that daily commuters wash their jackets once a month or so.
When washing, use a gentle cycle, with COOL water. If your washing machine does not have a COOL setting, use the COLD setting. If your washing machine allows you to specify water temperature, set your machine to 86°F / 30°C. Close all zippers and make sure pockets are empty.
We recommend using a free and clear detergent or a detergent specifically designed for technical garments. Traditional detergents, particularly powdered detergents can leave residues that can negatively affect the performance of your garment. Avoid all products with fabric softeners or bleach. Grangers Performance Wash is a great option. You can find it on our site here.
Hang drying your Showers Pass gear is always the best option. Some garments can be tumble dried on low heat. Consult the care instructions on your garment’s tag prior to drying.
Perk up your DWR. The DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish on the outside of a garment is what makes the water bead and roll off. Over time it will begin to wear or wash off. When water no longer beads on the surface of a garment, this means it’s time to reapply a DWR.
When water saturates the face fabric on the exterior of a garment, commonly called “wetting out”, the garment’s breathability will be limited. A jacket that wets out may not let water in, but it can be cold, heavy and uncomfortable to wear. In some conditions, wetting out will create a temperature differential that can cause condensation to accumulate inside the garment.
Our favorite product for retreating outerwear is Grangers Performance Repel plus. Get it here.
- For more technical information on DWR, read our blog post on how to restore DWR for waterproof apparel.
Do not expose to excessive heat. Seam tape can fall apart in a dryer, and it is not a pretty sight. Excessive heat (even a car dashboard in the summer) can also cause multi-layered waterproof fabrics to delaminate.
Store with care. Just because a garment can stuff into its own pocket or stuff sack does not mean it wants to live that way all the time. Hang it up or lay it flat between uses; and make sure it dries completely.
Be kind to your zippers. We sometimes use 2-way zippers for venting, and water-resistant zippers to keep you extra dry. Both of these features can make the zippers harder to operate. Please be gentle with them. In our experience, yanking on them repeatedly will only make them angry. For the occasional extra-sticky spot, we’ve found that paraffin wax makes for a good lubricant. Regular pencil graphite rubbed on the zipper’s teeth is a good lubricant as well (Just don’t wear it over a white shirt that day!)
- Spot treat stains. If you have a really tough stain, spot cleaning with liquid dish detergent can help. Never use bleach or harsh chemicals to clean your jacket. To protect the interior of a jacket from stains, be sure to wash new shirts, jerseys and arm warmers before wearing them underneath your jacket to prevent colors from depositing onto the lining.
Merino Wool Care Instructions
Merino wool is undoubtedly one of the best fabrics for outdoor use. Its warmth-to-weight ratio is unmatched. Merino’s ability to stay relatively odorless even when you sweat is also invaluable when you are days away from a washing machine. It wicks moisture more effectively than synthetics to boot. The one challenge in owning Merino wool clothing is the special care necessary to maximize its lifespan. If washed and treated properly, it can last many years. If not, you might find yourself questioning the high cost. Below are some general guidelines to follow, now that you are the proud owner of a Merino wool garment from Showers Pass.
Do’s and Don’ts:
DO read the label for the specifics on your garment. Some blends of Merino and synthetic fibers can handle a little more abuse than 100% Merino wool pieces, so it is important to note that not all Merino garments can or should be washed in the same manner.
DO wash the garment after a couple uses even if it does not stink or appear dirty. Keeping the fabric clean will decrease the chance of it pilling in the future.
DO turn clothes inside out when washing to prolong their lifespan.
DO wash below 85°F/30°C to avoid the garment shrinking or becoming misshapen.
DO lay flat to air dry and avoid direct heat. Merino garments can be heavy when wet, so drying on a line or hanger can stretch the fabric and cause it to lose its shape.
DON’T use fabric softeners. The chemicals in them can deteriorate wool fibers at an accelerated rate.
DON’T wring your clothes dry, as this can leave them misshapen.
DON’T let Merino garments sit in the washing machine for too long after the cycle is done. This can also leave them misshapen.
“Ok, so how do I wash this thing?”
Read the label! If the label suggests machine washing then go for it! Follow the care instructions and when in doubt, refer to the aforementioned suggestions.
If the label recommends hand washing, here are some best practices:
Do hand wash in a basin with warm water and soap. But to avoid shrinkage, do NOT allow to soak for too long.
Do use a soft cloth to dab (not rub!) soap on any stained areas. If the stain is stubborn, use a small amount of chlorine-free bleach. Be careful not to stretch the wool.
Do dry on a flat surface, preferably on a towel. Merino garments can be heavy when wet, so drying on a line or hanger can stretch the fabric and cause it to lose its shape.
Do reshape while still damp.
Don’t wring out the garment.
“OH NO, I MESSED UP! What can I do?”
If you don’t follow the instructions above, you might end up with a shrunken garment.
The shrinking that occurs with Merino wool is not technically shrinking at all. What happens is the fibers migrate closer together, causing the garment to look and fit smaller.
If you’ve already washed your woolen garment and it seems shrunken, don’t panic quite yet. There is a way to stretch it back out.
Follow these steps:
- Fill a sink with room-temperature water. Add two tablespoons of hair conditioner or a gentle shampoo akin to baby shampoo. This will help soften the fibers so the fabric can be stretched back out.
- Soak your garment for about twenty minutes.
- Drain the water and gently PRESS out the remaining water from the garment. DO NOT wring the garment!
- Lay it out flat on a towel, and roll the towel up to remove even more water.
- Place the garment on another (dry) towel, and gently reshape it to its original size.
- Lay it flat to air-dry.
- Be more careful with your laundry next time!
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Call us at 503-203-8000.