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Updated: 2nd February 2024

 

When we create our waterproof garments, we bond a waterproof and windproof membrane to an inner and outer fabric. This creates a fully weatherproof shell that is both waterproof and highly breathable. On top of this, we treat the outer fabric with a Durable Water Repellency finish. This treatment forces water droplets to bead up and roll off rather than be absorbed by the garment, further enhancing your protection, and extending the life of the waterproof. 

 

Over time, and with regular wear, it’s not uncommon for the outer fabric to become less effective at forcing water droplets to bead up and roll away. In wet conditions, the outer fabric might start to absorb some water, or as we call it, “wet out”. Ideally, you always want to see water beading up on your waterproofs, so it’s important to periodically clean and re-proof your wet weather gear, so that it can protect you for many adventures to come.  

 

Here we will answer all the questions you might have about how to care for your waterproof clothing, and how to keep them performing at their best and extend the life of your much-loved gear. 

 

Close up of Rohan Waterproof Jacket with water beading

 

How do you take care of waterproof jackets? 

After every use, once you get home from getting caught in a shower or heavy rain, make sure you give your waterproofs a good shake rather than brushing the water off. This helps to maintain the effectiveness of the Durable Water Repellency finish. Then hang them up to fully dry, ready for your next adventure.

 

 

Why should you wash your waterproof jacket? 

Over the course of your adventures, dirt and residue can start to build up on the outer membrane, which affects the garments breathability and can compromise the Durable Water Repellency finish that stops the material from wetting out. It’s also a good idea to periodically re-proof your waterproof to refresh the DWR treatment and extend the life of your gear.

 

 

How often should you wash your waterproof jacket?  

Just like your everyday wardrobe, it’s important to wash your waterproofs. We’d recommend doing this at least once every six months but depending on the frequency and intensity of your outdoor activity, your gear might need to go through the washing process more regularly.  

 

 

Can you put a waterproof jacket in the washing machine?  

The short answer is, yes! But before you do, there are a few steps you should take to protect your waterproof. First, make sure to clean the detergent drawer and put your washing machine on a rinse cycle before use. This removes any leftover soap from previous washes and protects your waterproof from detergents and softeners that might damage the fabrics and finishes. Next, make sure that all the pockets have been emptied and close all the zips, Velcro, and snap closures. This will help the jacket maintain its shape and ensures that nothing snags, preventing any fabric damage. And finally, before washing make sure to get rid of any dried mud or dirt with a soft brush or dry cloth. 

 

Man walking in drizzly weather wearing the Tamar Overhead

 

How do you wash waterproof clothing? 

Load the drum with your waterproofs and select a gentle synthetic cycle, up to a 30°C wash. Only use a non-biological liquid detergent, we do not recommend using a fabric softener as this works against the repellency of the fabric. Washing your waterproofs helps to maintain the fabric’s breathability, as it removes any build-up from the fabric’s pores and limits the collection of moisture inside your jacket or trousers. 


The machine-washing process should be followed by a cool tumble dry or cool iron – if you choose to use a cool iron, please ensure that you use a barrier like a tea towel between the iron and the garment for protection against any heat damage. 

 

Man and Woman wearing Brecon Waterproof Jackets

 

How do you re-proof a waterproof jacket? 

Re-energising the DWR finish on the outer fabric of your waterproof will help the garment perform better for longer. To do this, we recommend using a wash-in product like Grangers Clothing Wash + Repel, which will clean your waterproof and replenish the Durable Water Repellency in a single wash cycle and at a low temperature, saving you time, energy and water.


Use two 50ml capfuls of Wash + Repel for each garment you need to reproof, wash on a full cycle at 30°C, and then follow the instructions below to add some heat, which helps the product work correctly.


By following the steps above you’ll help to rejuvenate the DWR, which makes sure water droplets keep beading up and falling off your waterproof kit and works with the waterproof and windproof membrane to keep you dry on all your outdoor adventures.

 

Grangers Wash & Repel Clothing 2-in-1
Close up of Rohan Waterproof jacket in the rain
Women's Waterproof Trousers with water beading

 

Also good to know:  

Are down jackets waterproof?

Most down jackets on the market will have a Durable Water Repellency finish on the outer fabric to protect against very light showers or snow flurries, but it is fairly rare to see down jackets with a full waterproof outer, this is for a few reasons.


Down jackets are designed to be very lightweight and packable, so adding a waterproof membrane would add unnecessary weight and reduce the packability of the garment.


Another reason is that down insulation needs to be able to breathe to effectively regulate your body temperature. Adding a waterproof membrane would likely limit the breathability of the jacket, and potentially lead to moisture becoming trapped which would greatly reduce the insulation capability of the down filling.


While you can buy a fully waterproof down jacket from some brands, most experienced outdoors enthusiasts will simply opt to bring a waterproof outer layer with them in case of rain, which solves all the issues of a waterproof down jacket.

 

Are softshell jackets waterproof?

The short answer is, no. Softshell jackets are designed to be stretchy, highly breathable, and easy to wear, but they aren’t designed to be waterproof. Most softshell jackets you find on the market will have a Durable Water Repellency finish to help protect you from light showers, but the lack of a waterproof membrane means that they cannot be fully waterproof.

 

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Man and Woman hiking wearing Ventus Waterproof Jackets