How to Wash a Waterproof Jacket

To wash a waterproof jacket, use a gentle detergent and avoid fabric softeners. A waterproof jacket is a valuable investment that makes outdoor activities more enjoyable, but it requires proper care to last for years.

Washing a waterproof jacket is different than other jackets since it has a specific membrane that keeps water out while allowing vapors to escape. If you wash a waterproof jacket incorrectly, it can damage the fabric and make the jacket less effective.

In this article, we will provide some tips on how to wash a waterproof jacket without compromising its ability to keep you dry.

How to Wash a Waterproof Jacket


Gather Your Supplies

How To Wash A Waterproof Jacket: Gather Your Supplies

Keeping your waterproof jacket clean and well-maintained ensures it will last for many outdoor adventures to come. But before you start the washing process, it’s essential to gather the right supplies. Here’s what you need to ensure your jacket gets the care it deserves.

Why The Right Supplies Matter

  • List of supplies needed:
  • Laundry detergent for technical fabrics
  • Sink or large bowl
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Fabric softener (optional)
  • Waterproofer spray (optional)

Properly cleaning a waterproof jacket requires specialized laundry detergent specifically designed for technical fabrics. Regular detergent can damage your jacket’s waterproof membrane and ruin your jacket’s effectiveness. In addition to detergent, you’ll need a sink or large bowl to wash your jacket, a soft-bristled brush to remove dirt and grime, fabric softener for extra touch (optional), and waterproofer spray to restore your jacket’s water-resistant properties (optional).

Explanation Of Each Item’S Purpose

  • Laundry detergent for technical fabrics:
  • Specifically designed for technical fabrics to preserve breathability and waterproofing features.
  • Protects material from stains or white marks.
  • Regular detergent, fabric softeners, and bleach can damage the jacket.
  • Sink or large bowl:
  • Required as the washing machine can damage the waterproof membrane.
  • Large enough to fully submerge the jacket with enough space for movement.
  • Soft-bristled brush:
  • Helps to remove dirt, grime, and stubborn stains.
  • Gentle enough not to cause damage to the jacket’s membrane.
  • Fabric softener:
  • Adds softness, a pleasing scent, and removes static if desired.
  • Not suitable for all jackets, and unnecessary unless specified by the care instructions.
  • Waterproofer spray:
  • Important for using after detergent and cleaning, to restore water-resistant properties.
  • Helps to repel water, dirt and prevent staining.

Having the right supplies will make washing your waterproof jacket easy and effective. By using specialized detergent and treating the jacket with care, you will extend its lifespan and ensure its continued effectiveness during outdoor activities.

Step-By-Step Guide

Inspecting Your Jacket

Before washing your waterproof jacket, make sure to examine it thoroughly. You should check the care label to see if there are any specific instructions for washing. Additionally, inspect the jacket for any visible dirt or debris that needs to be removed before washing.

Removing debris beforehand will make the washing process more effective.

Washing Your Jacket With Care

Choose a detergent that is specifically designed for waterproof clothing. Avoid using fabric softeners, bleach, or other harsh chemicals that can damage the jacket’s membrane. If washing by hand, fill up a sink or tub with cold water and add the detergent.

Gently wash the jacket by hand and rinse until the water runs clear. To machine wash, use a delicate or gentle cycle with cold water, and again, use the appropriate detergent.

If the jacket has any stubborn stains, spot cleaning the area with a small amount of detergent can help. However, make sure to avoid scrubbing the area with too much force, as this can damage the jacket’s surface.

Drying And Storing Your Jacket

After washing, hang the jacket to air dry in a cool, dry place. Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources as they can damage the jacket. If necessary, use a low heat setting on a dryer to dry the jacket, but only if the care label specifically recommends using a dryer.

Do not leave the jacket in the dryer for too long, as this can damage the membrane.

Once the jacket is dry, make sure to properly store it. Fold it carefully, and avoid creasing the jacket in any way. Store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, dampness, or extreme temperatures.

Following the above tips on washing and storing your waterproof jacket will ensure that it remains in good condition and continues to keep you dry during your outdoor activities.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

Don’T Make These Jacket-Washing Errors

Rain is a common occurrence, and waterproof jackets are essential items to keep us dry. However, washing a waterproof jacket is a delicate process and requires extra care. If you don’t wash them properly, you can damage the waterproof coating, and the jacket will no longer work efficiently.

Here is a list of common mistakes to avoid when washing your waterproof jacket.

List Of Common Mistakes When Washing Waterproof Jackets

  • Using regular detergents: Regular detergents can damage the waterproof coating, making the jacket susceptible to water. Additionally, they can leave behind residue that can clog the fabric’s pores, making it difficult for the jacket to breathe.
  • Not cleaning the detergent compartment: Left-over detergent in the compartment can still enter the washing machine and end up in contact with the jacket. This can cause the jacket’s waterproof coating to break down, resulting in water seeping into the jacket.
  • Using fabric softeners: These can leave a waxy coating on the fabric that can damage the water repellent coating. The wax coating can also clog the fabric’s pores, making it difficult for the jacket to breathe.
  • Not following the care label instructions: Not every waterproof jacket is the same, and each jacket has unique care label instructions. Make sure to follow the care label instructions when washing your jacket to avoid damage.
  • Using high heat when drying: High heat dryers can damage the jacket’s waterproof coating. High heat can cause the fabric to melt, losing the jacket’s waterproofing properties.
  • Not rinsing thoroughly: If you rinse the jacket incorrectly, leaving detergent on it can clog the pores, reducing its breathability.

Explanation Of The Impacts Of These Mistakes

These mistakes can lead to damage that can render the jacket ineffective in keeping you dry. It is important to avoid making these mistakes so that you can continue to enjoy the benefits of a waterproof jacket.

Cleaning waterproof jackets is not as simple as throwing them in the washing machine with regular detergent. Ensure that you follow the care label instructions on your jacket and avoid making the mistakes listed above. Doing so will help to ensure that your waterproof jacket remains effective in keeping you dry during wet weather.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Wash A Waterproof Jacket

How Often Should You Wash A Waterproof Jacket?

It all depends on how often you use your jackets. If you are using the jacket regularly for outdoor activities, it’s recommended to wash it once every few weeks. However, if you’re using it less frequently, washing it once or twice a year should be sufficient.

Can You Machine Wash A Waterproof Jacket?

Yes, most waterproof jackets can be machine washed. However, you should always check the care label before washing to see if there are any specific instructions you need to follow. Generally, wash it on its own using a delicate cycle, gentle detergent, and cold water.

Can You Put A Waterproof Jacket In The Dryer?

It’s not recommended to put a waterproof jacket in the dryer as the high heat can damage the waterproofing. Instead, hang the jacket up to air dry in a well-ventilated area. Avoid direct sunlight and heat sources like radiators as they can also damage the waterproof membrane.

Do You Need To Reproof A Waterproof Jacket After Washing?

Yes, washing can strip away the dwr (durable water-repellent) coating on the jacket, leaving it less water-resistant. To restore waterproofing, you can use a waterproofing spray or wash-in treatment. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

How Can You Tell If Your Waterproof Jacket Needs Washing?

If you notice that water is no longer beading up on the jacket’s surface, and instead is being absorbed into the fabric, it’s a sign that the dwr coating has worn off and the jacket needs washing. Additionally, if the jacket has a noticeable smell or visible stains, it’s time for a wash.


Washing a waterproof jacket doesn’t have to be a daunting task if you know how to go about it. Following the tips and guidelines outlined in this article will help you to maintain the durability and performance of your jacket while keeping it clean and fresh.

Remember to only use mild detergents and avoid fabric softeners as they can affect the waterproof coating. It is also important to wash the jacket following the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damaging it. Additionally, it is advisable to reproof your jacket after washing it to maintain its waterproofing qualities.

By taking good care of your waterproof jacket, you can enjoy using it for a longer period and in various weather conditions. Happy washing!

Daniel Methews
Daniel Methews
Daniel Methews is a cleaning expert with a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field. With his expertise in various cleaning techniques, he has become a trusted specialist in the industry. Daniel's mastery lies in the art of vacuum cleaning, where he excels in utilizing the latest advancements in technology to ensure impeccable results. Additionally, his skills in stain removal are unparalleled, as he possesses an in-depth understanding of different types of stains and the most effective methods to eliminate them. Daniel Methews is dedicated to providing top-notch cleaning solutions, leaving spaces spotless and customers satisfied.

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