When you shell out several hundred dollars/euros for a hard shell jacket, like I did for my Alpha FL, you may start getting cold feet when it comes time to wash it. But eventually, you’ll start seeing sweat stains, dirt and other signs it’s time to toss that waterproof shell in the washing machine. Don’t worry, you can restore the waterproofing relatively easily and get it back to brand spanking new.
As Arc’teryx notes:
Dirt buildup and body oils from sweat can compromise the membrane and overall effectiveness of the textile’s Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatment. DWR encourages water to roll off the surface –this is called ‘beading’. Regularly washing and re-applying DWR will restore the performance and extend the lifespan of your GORE-TEX garment.
What you’ll need to wash your hard shell jacket:
Additional detergents for technical clothes include:
How to Safely Wash them:
- Close the main zippers and armpit zippers
- Open chest and pocket zippers
- Release tension on all elastic draw cords
- Add the special tech wash to the washing machine.
- Wash on Medium Heat 40C (104 F) with just a few other garments
- When done, shake off the excess water and then tumble dry on low (40C / 104F) for 40-50 minutes.
- Once dry, apply a new coat of waterproofing such as with Nikwax Tx.Direct Spray-on
How Often to Wash your Waterproof Jacket:
Simple: as often as necessary. When you notice sweat stains, dirt and it losing its ability to bead water, then it’s time.
Arcteryx recommends every 10-12 days for hardcore users and once a month for light users.