When it comes to keeping warm and dry in cold rainy conditions, there’s nothing better than Gore-Tex. It’s not the cheapest material out there, so if you buy a nice Gore-Tex jacket, you’re going to want to make sure you properly take of it so it’ll last as long as possible.
After all, you wouldn’t want to spend hundreds on a jacket and do something wrong while taking care of it. You could end up doing irreparable damage and losing one of the priciest items in your wardrobe.
Thankfully, if you follow these tips, you’ll be able to maximize the life of your Gore-Tex outerwear, so you can stay warm and dry for years to come.
What Is Gore-Tex?
Before we dig into what you need to do to make sure your Gore-Tex lasts forever, let’s first talk about what Gore-Tex actually is.
Basically, Gore-Tex is a waterproof and breathable membrane that keeps water out while letting vapor escape. This makes it well-suited for use on rain jackets since it won’t make the wearer too hot while keeping them dry.
It’s made with polytetrafluoroethylene, which is also known as Teflon.
Because of the way Gore-Tex is made and the material from which it’s created, you will need to put a little extra care into washing and maintaining your products.
1. Wash on Warm Permanent Press
The first step towards making sure your Gore-Tex outerwear lasts for a long time is washing it correctly. You’re going to want to use water no hotter than 105°F, which is considered warm in the laundry world, and you’ll want to run it on a permanent press cycle.
Some other important tips for laundering Gore-Tex are as follows:
- Use only liquid detergent
- Rinse twice
- Use a shortened spin cycle
- Don’t use powered soap, fabric softeners, or bleach
- Don’t wash with heavily soiled clothing
2. Close All Pockets Before Washing
This is actually quite an important tip to make sure your outerwear lasts because you want to keep the soap and water out of the pockets. Basically, if there’s a zipper or flap on your jacket, then you need to make sure it’s closed. This will save you tons of headaches down the road, as the pockets won’t fill up with water.
3. Tumble Dry to Reactivate Water Repellant
Drying your jacket is as simple as running it through the dryer on a warm, gentle setting. You can also hang your jacket up and let it air dry. Either way, once the jacket is dry, you’re going to want to put it back on tumble dry for 20 more minutes on that same warm, gentle cycle to reactivate the water repellant. If you’re jacket ever starts leaking water though, this is the trick you need to know to make it waterproof again. It’s really that simple.
4. Iron on Gentle Setting
If you don’t have access to a clothes dryer, but you can get your hands on an iron (perhaps you’re at a hotel, for example), then you can actually still reactivate the water repellent. All you need to do is run the iron warm a warm setting with no steam and place a towel between the outer garment and the iron. Obviously, this is a bit more work than simply throwing it in the dryer for 20 minutes, but if you’re away from home and your jacket is leaking, it’s important to know this.
5. Avoid Dry Cleaning
Generally, you don’t want to dry clean Gore-Tex, as the harsh chemicals aren’t good for the material or the coating. If you absolutely must get your jacket dry cleaned for some reason, Gore-Tex recommends asking the cleaner to use distilled hydrocarbon solvent for rinsing.
6. Don’t Use Stain Removers
If you get a stain on your Gore-Tex jacket, don’t use those aerosol sprays to get it out. Instead, use scrub the garment with the same laundry detergent you’re going to use to clean it. The localized scrubbing should be enough to remove the stain, and the normal wash cycle should finish it off.