How to Wash Your GORE-TEX Rain Jacket

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.

 

30 thoughts on “How to Wash Your GORE-TEX Rain Jacket”

  1. 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!

    1. 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!

    1. 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!

  2. 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

    1. 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!

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

    1. 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!

      1. I’ve came across an advice to first wash a jacket in normal detergent (to clean it thoroughly) and then wash it again in Nikwax TECH-WASH (which’s not that strong) to get rid of the detergent. Can you validate this approach (for highly grimmed jackets)?

        1. Hey Jakub! Regular detergent is aggressive on technical fabrics and ruins their functionality. I would advise STRONGLY against using regular detergent on anything you want to keep breathable, waterproof, or performance-oriented. Tech Wash is considered a “gentle cleaner” yes, but that is not speaking to the effectiveness… it is speaking to the method of cleaning. For stubborn stains, a lot of success can be had with spot-treating those stains with a bristle brush/toothbrush, etc. and a dilution of Tech Wash. Please give our wonderful Customer Service team a call for specific recommendations: 206-633-0063. Thank you!

  4. 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.

    1. 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!

  5. I’m little confused regarding using TX.Direct that I purchased the other day. I want to wash my goretex hardshell that I had for a year now (I only handwashed it using clean water, no detergent). I’ve noticed it lost some of it water repellent properties. So I’m planning to wash it in machine on 30C without spinning and then dry it naturally. After that I’ll try to reactivate DWR with iron (using cloth between iron and jacket). If I notice that this didn’t help with reactivating water repellent properties, I would like to use TX.Direct. Please, advise me if this is oke and weather I would need to spray TX on wet garment or dry is ok?

    1. Hey Vesna! When washing any Gore-Tex jacket, you want to consult the care label attached to the inside of the jacket, as a guide for washing and drying methods. TX.Direct comes in two formats…spray-on and wash-in.

      Both formats of TX.Direct work best when applied to a wet garment. The best overall waterproofing performance will occur when TX.Direct is applied after the Gore-Tex garment has been washed with Nikwax Tech Wash.

      Hope that helps! – Brennon

  6. Will using TX direct wash in on a Gore Tex jacket waterproof it come the inside also and take away it’s ability to evaporate sweat?

    1. Hey Mike! In some cases, it can, but it depends on the inner liner material and composition. That’s why we always recommend TX.Direct Spray-On in any instances where the owner is unsure of the liner situation and wants to be extra careful. Hope that helps! – Brennon

  7. My grandkids wore there jackets to an event and they put a name tag with sticky residue on the jack with there name and vip. How can I get this off the jacket it looks like they are ruined now

    1. Hey Lisa!

      You could try spot cleaning with a bristle brush and slightly diluted Nikwax Tech Wash. Then, once you’ve worked that spot for while, run a wash cycle with the jackets (according to their care label/tag instructions, using Tech Wash. Be sure to clean out/rinse out the detergent drawer of your washer before putting Tech Wash in. Regular detergent leaves behind residue that will counteract your cleaning efforts. Hope that helps!

  8. Hello! I’ve got a jacket with no membrane at all. Do you think I can still use TX DIRECT to give it it at least some basic level of shower-proof?

    1. Hey Jakub! If the jacket is relatively stiff or “crinkly” and is made of synthetic fabric (polyester, nylon, etc), then technically, yes, TX Direct will provide some level of repellency. Do you have a link to the exact jacket you are referring to? We could make a better recommendation off of that. Thanks!

  9. Hi, I have a Gore-Tex Paclite cycle jacket made by Gore. What’s the best possible way to wash and re-waterproof ? Tech Wash and then TX Direct wash in ? Thanks and best regards, Peter.

    1. Hi Peter!

      You’ve got it! Wash first with Tech Wash, then run a second load with TX.Direct. Dry according to the care label.

  10. Hi, I have a North Face Apex Flex Shell Jacket which is a softshell material on the outside and Gortex inside. I assume that I should wash with the Tech Wash first but then I’m not sure if I should be using the Softshell Proof or the TX.Direct for Gortex. Thanks!

    Paul

    1. Hi Paul! You are absolutely correct about washing first with Tech Wash. For softshell fabric we recommend using Softshell Proof. Stay dry!

  11. Hi, I have cycling castelli perfetto jersey and it’s dwr repellent is probably based on PFC. How can I wash it out and replace with nikwax ?

    1. Hi Boban! The DWR on your jersey will break down over time on its own (D in DWR is for durable, not permanent). It won’t wash out quickly, but you can care for your jersey with Tech Wash to keep it clean, and when the DWR begins to fail you can replace it with Nikwax waterproofing products.

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