After a day on the mountain, in the backcountry, or on the water, your gear can take a beating. Though exposure to water won’t harm your waterproof gear, contaminates like body oil, mud, and debris in general can affect the breathability and performance of your waterproof apparel and footwear. By taking proper care of your gear, you not only will allow the garments to continue performing optimally, but you also can help extend the lifespan.
But what is the best way to care for your waterproof apparel and footwear? Follow our guide and keep your gear in top shape.
Washing waterproof outerwear
Regular washing of technical outerwear will keep it operating at peak performance so you can continue to stay dry and comfortable with every use. Before starting any outwear care, read and follow the manufacturer’s care instructions for optimal results:
- Remove any contents from pockets, secure all zippers and closures, and loosen elastic cords
- Machine wash warm (110° F/40°C) with a high-performance cleaner designed for outdoor and technical fabrics. If you only have a conventional detergent available, be sure to run a second rinse cycle to remove all traces of detergent from the fabric
- Tumble dry using a low heat setting to rejuvenate your garment’s Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish
Do not use fabric softeners, bleach, or stain removal products, and never dry clean or iron your garment. This can cause irreparable damage and will no longer protect you from rain and wind.
Do you have multiple garments that need to be cleaned? Conserve water usage and wash all your technical outerwear at once, staying mindful to not overload capacity of your washing machine.
Maintaining Your DWR Finish
Your eVent fabrics outerwear has likely been treated with a factory-applied durable water repellent (DWR) finish, letting external moisture to bead up on the surface and roll off. Over time, this finish will wear off and will need to be replenished.
To test the DWR finish of your garment, lightly spray or splash it with water and see if the water is beading up or being absorbed by the fabric. If the fabric “wets out,” it’s time to revive the DWR.
After cleaning your jacket, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the type of DWR replenishment product you use.
Caring for waterproof footwear
Like your technical outerwear, your waterproof footwear needs proper care for to continue performing optimally. After each use, brush off any dried dirt or mud. After longer trips or more heavy use, follow the below instructions to prolong their life.
- Brush off all dirt from the exterior of the shoe. A stiff-bristled brush can help shake out any caked-on pieces in eyelets or small cervices
- Remove shoelaces to clean the tongue. If needed, wash your shoelaces separately
- Place a clean towel or paper towel inside your shoe. This will absorb any extra water during the wash process, allowing your shoes to dry faster. If possible, use a light color or transfer-resistant fabric to prevent any staining.
- Rinse your shoes with clean water to clear any remaining debris
- Scrub your boots with a footwear cleaning gel designed for technical footwear. This will remove any dirt left behind and prepare your shoes for additional waterproofing
- Rinse your shoes of all footwear cleaner
- If needed, reapply a waterproofing application. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on if the solution needs to be applied to wet or dry footwear.
- Let dry completely and relace your shoes
By properly maintaining your outdoor apparel and footwear you are protecting your investment, along with improving the lifespan of each product, reducing premature disposal and maintaining performance. If you do not have available resources to frequently wash your outerwear and footwear, make it a point to do a deep clean after any trip with prolonged heavy use, or before putting away for the season. By doing so, your gear will be more readily available with each trip, keeping you protected from the weather, allowing you to stay out longer doing what you love.