GORE-TEX CareHow To Wash Your Waterproof
Taking care of your waterproof jacket, especially GORE-TEX, is well worth putting the time and effort into, but where do you start? We asked Tiso Supported-By, Ross Mclaren, to tell us how he gets on with washing and reproofing his Rab GORE-TEX waterproof jacket at home.
Out of all the household chores doing the washing isn’t actually my most hated… but I’ll be honest, usually I just bung everything in the machine, fire a wee bit of powder in and press start. Separating colours? Pfft… no chance! Changing settings… there’s more than one setting? However, I’m not sure my usual routine is quite going to work for our rather pricey GORE-TEX Rab jackets…
Waterproofs are a substantial investment in your outdoor kit and as they say, if you look after your kit, your kit will look after you! Even GORE-TEX products need a bit of TLC after a good period of use but washing them isn’t quite as easy as “bunging them in the machine and pressing start”, though maybe not quite as complex as you might expect... unless you're me and don't read the labels.
First of all, “normal” washing powder is not the product for the job and fabric softener… absolutely not! Thankfully brands like Nikwax and Grangers have developed detergent specifically designed for your waterproofs and even a solution to “reproof” them afterwards. Now, they do cost a wee bit more than your average tub of Ariel, but at just over £15 for the Nikwax Tech Wash and TX Direct Proof it’s not a huge price to pay when you consider you’re using it on a jacket that could easily be worth over £150 and, it’s not like you’re washing it after every trip either.
So… let’s get started.
(Disclaimer… this is just how I did it, but ALWAYS read the bottle AND the care label in the jacket… more on that later.)
Before we started the actual washing, I decided to take the wee drawer out of the machine where the washing powder/fabric softener usually goes and gave it a good rinse out. This is to get rid of any leftovers from the last wash which isn’t great for the jackets. As well as that, I actually put the machine on a quick rinse first (check me out changing the settings, not going to lie, I had to Google it!) again just to make sure there was nothing left over in the drum.
With Rach and I both having the same Rab Kangri jackets (how cool are we? Matching jackets… #couplegoals) we decided to bung them both in at the same time. The instructions on the bottle are pretty clear and make it easy to follow… well if you read them first that is. Unlike me, follow the instructions and put the appropriate number of capfuls of Tech Wash on the jackets AFTER you put it in the machine. In my haste to get it done before Bake Off came on I might have got a wee bit overexcited and spilled the bottle all over them… and the floor BEFORE I put them in.
Now, let’s take a wee step back at this point. BEFORE you put the jackets in the washing machine and BEFORE you cover them in solution you really should check the care label inside your jacket itself for the actual settings you should use for your garment. Again… Unlike me, who maybe didn’t quite read the bottle instructions properly, forgot to check this first and then quickly had to stop the machine before it got going and stick my head inside sodden jacket to try find said care label. At this point Charlie our cat decided he needed to supervise me and let’s be honest, who can blame him!
There are different ways to reproof jackets, I’ve seen spray on versions, but we decided to go with the TX Direct Proof which was so easy to use. Literally all you do once the wash cycle is finished is open the door and fling in the required number of capfuls of the reproofer, change the settings to a low spin (I'm getting good at this!), 30oC and fire the machine back on again. Plus, there’s no need to dry the jackets first before you do that!
Once that’s done, we got a couple of coat hangers, hung them up in the shower to drip dry overnight and that’s it! Jackets washed, reproofed and ready to hit the hills again... in 4 to 5 months once baby has arrived and Rach has recovered.