If you’ve invested in a GORE-TEX jacket for your hiking adventures, chances are that you’ll be thrilled with its performance against a deluge. You probably also spent a pretty penny on it, and therefore you’ll be motivated to keep it in really good condition so it lasts for years. A regular wash will keep your Gore-Tex jacket performing longer, and protecting you better in wet conditions, but the cleaning method most likely differs from your other waterproof jackets. Read on for the specific – but simple – instructions for how to wash a Gore-Tex jacket to keep yours spick and span.
Can I wash my GORE-TEX jacket in the washing machine?
If you’ve used any of our other gear maintenance guides, such as how to wash waterproof socks and how to clean a climbing harness, you’ll be used to the answer to this question being a firm but gentle no. Plot twist! It is actually recommended that you use your washing machine to clean your GORE-TEX jacket and even your tumble dryer to dry it afterwards, if you own one, so you can stop worrying about having to set aside an entire weekend for this task.
How to wash a GORE-TEX jacket
Before we get started, it’s important to point out that there are different types of GORE-TEX and lots of different jackets use GORE-TEX, so you’ll want to check the instructions on the label of yours for anything that’s specific to your jacket. Also, if your jacket is a GORE-TEX SHAKEDRY garment, you should never place it in the tumble dryer or iron it, simply follow the instructions to wash and line dry it.
1. Prepare your jacket for washing
Before you get started, make sure you empty your pockets then zip up all the zippers on your jacket and fasten any clips, velcro or other bindings so they don’t snag on the machine. If your jacket is extremely muddy, say from a day of wet scrambling, use a soft brush to clean off any dirt before you put it in the machine.
2. Wash your jacket
You can wash your jacket with other clothing, but make sure that the clothing isn’t heavily soiled. Wash your jacket on the permanent press cycle (this may also be called “wrinkle control” or “casual” and should be a step down from a normal cycle) at 40°C or warm. Use a small amount of liquid detergent, but don’t use powder detergent, fabric softener or bleach. Turn the spin down to low/400 and add an extra rinse.
3. Dry your jacket
You can either line dry your jacket or put it in the tumble dryer on a gentle, warm setting to dry it, if the washing instructions permit it.
4. Reactivate the DWR
The DWR treatment on your jacket requires heat to reactivate it after washing. Once your jacket is dry, place it in the tumble dryer for another 20 minutes on a gentle, warm setting to do so (you can do this part without washing your jacket to reactivate the DWR any time).
If you don’t own a tumble dryer, place your jacket on a flat surface, spread a towel over your jacket and iron the towel with the iron set to a low/no steam setting to safely apply heat. Do not pace the iron in direct contact with the jacket.
If your DWR treatment can no longer be reactivated and you’ve noticed your jacket is wetting out, read our guide to how to waterproof a jacket. You should now be ready to hit the hills come rain or shine!
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Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.