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How to Wash Gore-Tex and other Waterproofs

Unfortunately, in the UK we see a lot more rain than we do sunshine. That’s why it’s important to own a good waterproof because even if the sun is out, you never know when a rain shower might sneak up on you!

Keeping waterproof jackets clean is also important. Whether your child’s rain mac has picked up some mud stains after some puddle jumping, or your Gore-Tex jacket needs a wash after you’ve been on a country walk or extreme hike, we’ve got some handy tips on washing Gore-Tex™ and other water-proof jackets in this article.  


Before you wash waterproof jackets:

  • Always check the care label for instructions on the best way to wash the material
  • Check to see if the jacket has any trimmings, such as a leather collar, that may need to be washed using an alternative method
  • Empty all pockets
  • Do up the zips and fasten any flaps or straps


Tips for washing most waterproof jackets:

  • Depending on what the label says, either dry clean or wash in the washing machine with a cleaner specially designed for waterproof outerwear to help maintain your coat’s waterproof qualities
  • For most waterproof jackets, you should not use your ordinary detergent
  • If you see a care label on a waterproof garment that says it can be washed in an alkaline free detergent, then it’s fine to do so. A silk & wool detergent will do the job – it’s pH neutral and therefore alkaline free
  • After washing, line dry or check the garment care label and tumble dry on a low heat, if allowed


Tips for washing Gore-Tex™ jackets:

  • Wash with your ordinary liquid detergent – you should never use a powdered detergent
  • Be sure to wash the clothes on a gentle cycle
  • Do not use fabric conditioner or chlorine bleach
  • Dry outside on the washing line, or tumble dry on a warm, gentle setting. Once the item is dry, you should then tumble dry it again for 20 minutes. This will reactivate the durable water-repellent treatment on the outer material

The trick to knowing how to was Gore-Tex™ jackets is to make sure you preserve their water repellency. Gore-Tex™ garments are treated with Teflon, which makes them water repellent, and fabric conditioner or bleach can remove the Teflon, affecting the performance of the garment. It would still be waterproof, so water would not reach your skin, but the garment itself could become heavy and water-logged.

If you notice that your waterproof jacket is absorbing water rather than repelling, you may need to top up the water-repellent coating on the outside. You can buy specialist treatments from local outdoor retailers. For more information on washing Gore-Tex, visit:  

Washing Gore-Tex jackets isn’t something you should have to do regularly, but with these simple tips when it is time to refresh your waterproof, you’ll be sure to get them job done efficiently!

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