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May 2013 Issue
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Maintaining your wet weather gear

Wash your jacket, apply a DWR spray and tumble dry. Photo: File

Your expensive waterproof gear needs lots of TLC to ensure long life and use

It’s simple to get the most out of your expensive waterproof/breathable garment: just keep it clean.

Dirt, grime, sweat, body oils, sunscreen, insect repellent and smoke all affect the performance of your jacket.

If left unchecked and allowed to build up, these contaminants can have a harmful affect on the fabric, causing the glue that binds the seam seal to deteriorate or damage the bonds that hold the layers of fabric together leading to membrane damage and delamination.

Taking care of outerwear is easy: Machine wash in warm water using a powdered detergent and tumble dry on a medium heat.

As a rule of thumb, consider washing your waterproof breathable garment as often as you would your favourite pair of jeans.

Tip: A front loading washing machine gives a deeper, more gentle wash than top loaders do. Instead of using a powdered detergent, which can contain surfacents and perfumes, consider using a Nikwax Tech Wash or Grangers 30 degree cleaner which will not strip the DWR coating from the garment. Use an extra rinse cycle to make sure all the detergent or soap is removed.

Durable water repellency

Most waterproof breathable garments come with a DWR treatment which causes water to bead up and roll off of the garment. When the DWR coating has worn off, it’s time to reproof your garment. Grangers and Nikwax both have a DWR product. To apply, wash and double rinse your garment, spray on your chosen treatment when it is wet – don’t be shy, give the jacket a good coating – and tumble dry until completely dry and then tumble dry for a little bit longer.