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How to wash your GORE-TEX rain jacket

| 12 Comments

Caring for your GORE-TEX jacket is as easy as giving it a wash from time to time. Cleaning keeps your jacket performing its best. Washing a GORE-TEX, eVent, or any waterproof breathable rain jacket is remarkably simple. Follow these three steps to a clean rain jacket:

  1. Read the care label in your jacket prior to cleaning.
  2. Wash in your washing machine with a technical cleaner like Nikwax Tech Wash.
  3. If the care label allows, you can tumble dry low, or simply hang dry.

There! That’s it! You now know how to clean your GORE-TEX rain jacket. Now, some of you might be asking “How does cleaning help waterproof performance?”

It all comes down to DWR (Durable water repellency):

All waterproof breathable rain jackets come with a factory-applied coating that repels water. This is called DWR. DWR causes water to bead up and roll off the surface of the jacket.

water repellency

DWR!

In the instance of single layer rain jackets, DWR is all that is keeping the rain out!

Waterproof jacket single layer

A single-layer waterproof rain jacket

GORE-TEX jackets, however, use a laminate technology that allows water vapor (sweat) to escape, but prevents water from entering.

gore-tex jacket technology diagram

GORE-TEX working properly

While this makes GORE-TEX jackets more dependably waterproof, the laminate needs the DWR coating on the outside of the jacket in order to work properly. If the outside fabric starts absorbing water, then water vapor can no longer escape, and you feel cold, wet, and clammy.

gore-tex waterproof fail

DWR failing on a GORE-TEX jacket

Over time, many things can cause this coating to no longer function properly. Dirt, oils, sweat, and campfire smoke will all mask the DWR and cause water to be absorbed into the fabric.

jacket wetting out

Fabric wetting out

By washing your jacket with a technical cleaner, you remove the crud, allowing the DWR to once again function as intended.

*It is important to use a technical cleaner like Nikwax Tech Wash, as detergents leave behind residues that attract water. Also, many household detergents are overly harsh and can contain perfumes and bleach.

12 Comments

  1. Is it necessary to dry the garments after washing with Tech Wash and before washing in TX.Direct?

  2. Some sites say that Gortex jackets should be put in the dryer after washing and air drying for the heat to reactivate the water repellent properties of the fabric. You do not mention that, so what should I do?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Dale,

      GORE-TEX recommends drying their jackets in the dryer- so if the care label allows, go right ahead! The heat will revitalize the factory-applied DWR (Durable Water Repellency). Just for your awareness, after a while, the DWR will wear off, which is when you should re-waterproof with a product like TX.Direct. With Nikwax products you can air dry or use a dryer. This is because all Nikwax waterproofing products do not require heat to activate, as our products do not contain PFCs. PFCs are the component in most DWR products that provide the water-repellency, and they need heat to work. Nikwax does not use them, as they are proven to be unsafe for human contact, so you don’t want bottles of them in your home.

      Hope that Helps!

  3. when washing a gore-tex product is it recommended that I use tech wash first then use tx.direct?

    • Hi Owen,

      Yes! Please clean first with Tech Wash. If it is a GORE-TEX jacket you can toss it in the drier after cleaning. Sometimes this will be enough to revive the water-repellency.

      If after cleaning and drying your jacket is still not repelling water, run a second wash cycle with TX.Direct to rewaterproof.

      Hope that helps!

  4. I would value some advice. My other half has washed his waterproof jacket with Techwash and dried it in our tumble-drier – which now smells very strongly of Techwash. I am not very happy about the idea of Techwash residue now attaching itself to my next load of tea-towels etc. and thereby into our family food chain! But I am not sure, given Techwash is waterproof, how I can successfully remove its residue from the inside of our tumble-drier?
    Catherine

    • Hi Catherine,

      Glad to hear from you! We want you to know, first and foremost, that Tech Wash does not contain any nasty ingredients that would harm your family. It is biodegradable, and like all our products is PFC-Free. We put the safety of our customers first! Here’s little info on our customer and environmental safety policy. The odor should dissipate on its own. However, if the scent is bothersome, you can spray the inside of your dryer with a (safe) cleaner of your choice and wipe clean. That should remove any residual odor!

      I hope that helps. If you have any additional questions give us a shout.

      Cheers!

  5. My goretex jacket is really grubby, using nikwax doesn’t remove it, can you give me any advice on how to clean it properly?

    • Hi Darren,

      Try spot treating your jacket with undiluted Tech Wash. Just dump some on top of the dirty spots on your jacket. Let it sit for a bit, then scrub with a soft bristled brush. Pay attention to the trouble areas, like around the zipper and cuffs. After scrubbing, wash your jacket in the washer again. I have personally cleaned up many a nasty jacket this way! That being said, there are some types of stains that are near impossible to remove. Bike chain grease is a really tricky one to get out. Let us know how that works!

  6. Hi there. I used Nikiwax SoftShall Proof Wash In for my Gore-Tex jacket. Shall I was it again and reproof it with TX Direct Wash In?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Robert,

      You should be fine. Softshell Proof isn’t the absolute ideal for a hardshell jacket, but it won’t hurt it at all. Next time you need to re-waterproof, use TX.Direct. You can wash it 3-5 times with Tech Wash before it needs to be waterproofed, so you’re set for quite a while!

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