If you want the best ideas for making your rain gear last, read on!
Caring for your favorite “go to” jacket is fairly simple if you follow a few basic steps.
Here in the pacific northwest we usually take our raincoats out around the middle of October and can safely put them away around June. That is about 8 months of rain. That being said, our water repellant wear probably get more wear than any other jacket or coat we own. A lot of the reason these jackets are so effective is because the back side of the outer shell is coated with some level of a polyurathane resin that keeps us dry while adding an additional layer of protection from wind as well.
Fortunately, this fabric is easy to care for, as long as you follow the instructions on the label.
I make my own pre spotter ( more on that in an upcoming blog) but you can use a store bought pre spotter if you like. If I am completely out of any prespotter, though, I just use dawn dish soap and warm/tepid water. I squirt the prespotter (or soap and water combination) generously over the areas I want to focus on and start to gently scrub the cuffs , collar, pocket fronts and zipper placket a good scrub with a medium bristle brush with the and toss it in the wash.
I find that almost always my laundry loads come out best if I add at least a quarter to a full cup of white vinegar to each washing load. This type of load included. White vinegar will keep the colors bright and lint to a minimum along with adding softness to the garment.
I tend to wash a few jackets of similar colors at a time, being careful not to crowd the machine too much to give the garments plenty of space to move during the cycle. Cold water wash is always the optimal way to keep the garment looking its best. Warm water can be used and is often recommended on the label, but I have experienced shrinkage of the lining in these jackets before, causing the outer layer to pucker at the hem when it is dry. That is why I always use cold water.
After the wash cycle is done, check to make sure the water has completely spun out of the jackets. Gently lift the garment out of the machine carefully to see if all the water is gone. Water tends to cling to the material, especially in the sleeves or hood, so it may take an extra spin cycle to get all the water out.
The next step
DO NOT put your jacket with water repellant properties in the dryer. It may be ok once, but over time the heat from the dryer melts the resin coating causing it to peel and flake. The jacket will start becoming limp and puckered from the breakdown of the polyurathane and you will experience the loss of the water repellency properties much sooner than necessary.
Once the jacket is dry, I grab a large safety pin and gently glide the sharp end through the hook and loop fasteners ( Velcro) to remove any lint or thread build up that occurs over time. It takes just a few minutes and it lifts out like magic. This process makes the jackets look like new and ready to go when the rain inevitably comes again.
The color will stay more vibrant, the water repellency will last much longer and you’ve saved a lot of money in the long run.