How to Wash A Waterproof Jacket

Waterproof jackets are an essential for getting the most out of the outdoors, providing us with instant and reliable protection from the rain. Unfortunately, without proper care, waterproof jackets and trousers can become less and less effective overtime, so after a while, they won’t work as well as they did when they were new. The good news is that it's actually very easy to restore them to their original waterproof glory; this guide will tell you exactly how to wash waterproof jackets and how to reproof a waterproof jacket too.

Waterproof jackets should NOT be washed with fabric softeners; the chemicals in them clog the membrane which prevents moisture from passing through - this means that the jacket will no longer be able to breathe. We recommended using one of our technical outdoor fabric cleaners when washing a waterproof jacket or washing waterproof trousers - these will ensure a thorough wash, without causing any damage.

Still looking for the perfect waterproofs? Check out our guide to waterproof jackets and browse our range of waterproof clothing available right here at Millets.

How To Clean Your Waterproof Jacket or Trousers

Step 1

Before washing your waterproof jacket or waterproof trousers, use a soft-bristle brush to wipe away any loose dirt and close all zips and flaps on the jacket.

Step 2

Make sure your washing machine’s detergent compartment is clean of any other detergents - you can set your washing machine to do a hot wash with nothing in it to remove any leftover residue in the washing machine.

Step 3

Pour the cleaner into the detergent compartment following the instructions on both the clothing and product label. For cleaning waterproofs, we recommend Nikwax Tech Wash®, a high performance cleaner specifically designed for wet weather clothing and equipment. 

Nikwax Tech Wash

Step 4

Place your waterproof jacket or trousers into the washing machine. You can wash multiple jackets or trousers at once, however, most outdoor washing detergents recommend putting only two waterproof garments in at a time. This ensures that each waterproof is washed and cleaned properly.

Step 5

Set the washing machine to 30°C on a gentle spin. You should still check the care label on your waterproof garments for the exact care details, as some temperatures may differ. 

Step 6

The waterproof jacket should then be hung up to air dry or you can tumble dry the jacket (ONLY if the care label allows).

Top Tip!

Don't fall into the habit of washing your waterproof jacket or trousers after every wear. You only need to do this if they get dirty (as dirt will impair the performance over time) or if you notice that water is saturating into the fabric and has stopped beading on the surface. If you've had your waterproofs for a lifetime, then it may be worth revamping your wardrobe and buying some new ones.

How To Reproof A Waterproof Jacket or Trousers

Once the waterproof jacket or trousers have been cleaned, you can move onto the next step - how to reproof a waterproof jacket. Follow steps 2 to 6 using reproofing treatment instead of tech wash and your jacket will be restored to its former glory. For reproofing, we recommend Nikwax TX Direct Wash-In Waterproofer, an environmentally safe formula that can revive even old waterproofs by leaving a water repellent and breathable treatment within the fabric.

Nikwax Waterproofer

When it comes to waterproof clothing, you don’t need to reproof after every outing. You should reproof your waterproof jacket or trousers once they're no longer repelling water and you're finding that they're not as breathable (you're overheating when wearing them).

When the time does come for washing waterproof jackets or reproofing waterproof jackets, be sure to check the label and follow the simple steps above to keep your waterproof clothing in perfect condition!

Ben is passionate about the beauty of the outdoors. Stargazing, sightseeing and outdoor photography hold a special place in his heart. Now that beauty is at risk he’s keen to take a stand to try and fight back against this Climate Crisis. In his free time, Ben is a music fanatic. If there’s one place you can find him, it’s at a festival. Plus, he plays guitar, bass and piano, as well as producing his own electronic & UK Garage tracks. He’s also a regular at every Wetherspoons in his local area, so if you ever see him around, pull up for a pint?

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