How To: Wash & Waterproof Your Ski Gear
Get the most out of your ski gear:
Waterproof outer laters. They're a modern technological wonder that allow us to enjoy extreme winter conditions without getting soaked. Unfortunately though, even "100% waterproof" outer linings can still break down with time and wear. Have you noticed your ski gear isn't keeping snow out the way it once was? With wear, waterproof garments can lose their water repellency as dirt and oil break down the waterproof coating. If you notice the fabric of your jacket is absorbing rather than repelling water, it's probably time to reproof it. Waterproofing your gear is simple, cheaper, and more sustainable than buying new stuff, and it extends the longevity of whatever you’re waterproofing. Follow these three easy steps and you’ll be shedding water in no time.
First, your gear needs to be washed. Properly.
The first step in revitalizing your gear is to wash it. Ketchup, coffee, grease-they all clog the pores of your gear’s fabric, and no, this is not some acne treatment pitch. When a fabric’s pores are clogged, moisture cannot exit and you get soaked with your own sweat. Waterproofing agents will also adhere much better to a freshly cleaned jacket. It's the same principle as waxing a freshly cleaned car.
Key tips: When washing your jacket, it is important to use a specialist performance cleaner designed for technical outerwear rather than everyday household detergents.
How To Wash Your Ski Jacket & Pants
Step 1. Check the care label. Be cautious as some jackets may be dry clean only, while others are not.
Step 2. Make sure the detergent compartment of your washing machine is clean of any detergent or softener. For extra precaution, do a brief empty run on hot to clear any residues from detergent or softeners.
Step 3. Place your waterproof garment/s in the washing machine. Brush off any loose dirt before washing and zip up and velcro any flaps on jackets and trousers.
Step 4. Pour in the appropriate amount of the cleaner and run a complete wash and rinse cycle using a cold cycle. Remember to always check the label of your garment for exact care details.
Step 5. After washing, gear should be air dried or tumble dried on a low or medium heat according to care label.
Next, replenish the (water) repellent:
There are two straightforward ways to reproof your jacket--one requires a waterproof spray while the other is a “wash-in” method. From our experience, the spray-on technique adheres better and lasts longer, but obviously requires an extra step each time before application. If you're looking for extreme protection, you can use spray-on proofer at the start of each season, and then using the wash-in method each time you wash.
Some of the top waterproofing brands we're fond of are:
Granger’s One-Step Wash & Waterproofer, ActiveX, Nikwax’s Tech Wash, and Nikwax Down Wash for insulated gear.
Using Waterproof Spray:
Step 1. Spray the product evenly on the outside of the jacket from approximately 6-8 inches away. Hang the jacket and maintain an even spray throughout.
Step 2. Check the jacket carefully to ensure no areas of the fabric have been missed.
Step 3. Wipe off any excess with a damp cloth.
Step 4. Allow the jacket to dry naturally.
Step 5. For high abrasion areas such as the elbows and shoulders, we highly recommend spraying a second coat of proofer. Again, allow to dry naturally.
Using Wash-In Proofer:
Step 1. Read the label and pour the appropriate amount of liquid into the detergent compartment.
Step 2. Allow the washing machine to run through the complete wash and rinse cycle on a warm cycle.
Step 3. Heat helps to activate the product, so if the jacket’s care instructions allow, you can tumble dry the jacket on a low or medium heat.
For down items, throw a tennis ball in with your gear to keep them lofty. If you’ve waxed your boots or gloves, make sure to buff out the excess wax and give them a day to dry.
Voila, your ski jacket and pants are now waterproof and ready to take on the elements!
If you want to learn more about waterproofing ski gear, definitely check out these other helpful tutorials: