Appropriate Washing + A Little TLC = Rain Gear Long Life
Our products are of the highest quality available on the market, but failure to properly care for even the best outerwear can cause it to die an untimely death. Here are some tips to prolonging the life of your waterproof outerwear.
Wash your gear! Pollutants like dirt, sweat, road grime, and sunscreen can gunk up zippers (causing them to stick or break), and cause waterproof membranes to deteriorate. We generally recommend that daily commuters wash their jackets once a month or so. Machine wash on the gentle cycle, with COLD water and hang dry. We recommend using Nikwax Tech Wash because detergent powders can leave a residue if they do not dissolve completely. Avoid all products with fabric softeners or bleach. Nikwax Tech Wash works especially well for waterproof technical fabrics because it washes clean and unlike detergents, it does not leave behind water attractive residues can cause the face fabric to wet-out.
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 regular pencil graphite rubbed on the zipper’s teeth is a good lubricant. (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.
Perk up your DWR. The DWR (Durable Water Repellant) finish on the outside of a fabric is what makes the water bead and roll off. Over time it will begin to wear or wash off. Don’t despair. Look for spray-on treatments made for waterproof-breathable fabrics like NikWax TX Direct Spray on Treatment to perk up the DWR. This maximizes the ability of the waterproof-breathable membrane inside the fabric to do its job.
Should I put my Showers Pass gear in the dryer?
We do not recommend machine drying gear. Excess heat can damage the fabrics and seam tape on waterproof outerwear, and reflective detailing on socks will lasts longer when line dried. Air drying is also the more environmentally friendly option.
What detergent should I use?
Choose a liquid detergent and avoid products with fabric softeners or bleach. Nikwax Tech Wash works great for our gear.
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