We have a few sayings around Tactical Distributors. "Buy once, cry once" and "There is no such thing as bad weather just bad gear". That being said we invest a good amount of money in our gear so like anything else we want to get the most life out of it. In this brief post, we will give you step by step best practices for washing your Gore-Tex rain jacket. If you take care of the fabric and jacket you will have many years of use.
First off, let's talk about the fabric itself. Gore-Tex comes in many different layers. The technology that separates Gore-Tex from other fabrics is that it's a membrane that is breathable and waterproof. This membrane has a micro-porous thin layer that allows tiny bits of water vapor to escape and does not allow the water to penetrate. It's a one-way system. Gore-Tex has 9 billion pores per square inch to give the user maximum breath-ability. This is important when the user is participating in high output activities and builds up a sweat. Most other fabrics trap that moisture and when it cools it makes the user cold. Not Gore-Tex, it allows the sweat to breathe out and dry faster than any other alternative on the market.
Another great characteristic of Gore-Tex is the tight weave of the fabric makes the jacket or garment windproof. This is important because wind penetrating the fabric can rob you of the build-up heat and can cool you quicker than you expected or want. You want to create a nice microclimate with your clothing and Gore helps you achieve this goal.
How to wash and protect you Gore-Tex
You will notice that over time your Gore-Tex jacket loses its ability to bead water. While it still keeps you dry, the exterior fabric will hold water "wetting out" this adds weight and can get your car seats or anything else you rest against wet. There are two reasons this happens. One, over time the exterior fabric gets dirty and the allows moisture to build. The second reason is due to the rubbing off of the DWR "Durable Water Resistant" treatment to the exterior fabric. This is a solution that repels water off of the face fabric and keeps the material from wetting out. How to fix this issue and maintain the integrity of the Jacket.
Wash the Garment: First, you want to close the main zipper and the pit zips. Open the pocket zippers. Make sure to release all the elastic tensions and cuff velcro. Choose a liquid detergent that is mild. There are special Tech Detergents that are made for washing technical clothing.Second, set your washer to warm water. You may want to rinse twice this will help get off any excess detergent. (Do not use powder detergent or bleach) If you need to replace the DWR treatment use a wash in DWR treatment.Or you can use a spray-on DWR treatment after wash and drying.
Drying: You can either hang dry your garment or put it in the dryer on tumble dry at a low-medium heat setting. Some DWR treatments are activated by heat.
You may be asking...how often do I need to wash my jacket? The answer is often. Like I mentioned before in the article: dirt, grease and oil clog up the pores that allow the membrane to breath and work.
We hope these tips help you in prolonging the life of your beloved gore-tex. Stay dry!