As outdoor enthusiasts, we depend on our gear in a multitude of conditions. At its worst, the weather can pose bitterly cold and soaking wet conditions. We rely on our gear to not only be comfortable (and fashionable), but to also withstand harsh temperatures and moisture. Which is why, before you put it away into summer storage, you should take some extra care to clean and reinvigorate your gear. Below we discuss technical clothing care tips and tricks.
How to wash technical clothing: Before washing, secure all zippers, snaps, and closures. It’s strongly encouraged to wash different layering items separately. Machine wash, according to the care instructions, and use recommended cleaning products or a gentle, non-fragrant detergent. Every piece of gear should have an inside tag with basic care instructions. It may be necessary to run an extra rinse cycle to ensure a complete rinse of all soap from the material. Do not use bleach or fabric softeners, and avoid dry cleaning your gear.
Washing gloves isn’t recommended, but can be done if you hand wash them with cold water. It’s best to keep your hands inside the gloves while washing them, this will preserve their shape. Allow gloves to air dry or use a glove dryer. For items like these, with inner liners, separate the outer and inner layers so all the components are thoroughly cleaned. When spot cleaning, it’s best to use specialty products intended for women's technical clothing. If such products are unavailable, DSG founder Wendy Gavinski says, “A drop of dish soap, and a toothbrush rubbed in a circular motion usually does the trick.”
DSG recommends Grangers or Nikwax products for cleaning and reinvigorating waterproof protection. The Durable Waterproof Repellant treating applied to fabric exteriors does wear off over time (regardless of brand). If water starts to soak in, rather than bead up on the outside of the fabric, it’s time for some reinforcement. Seams on the garment are the weakest part, and the most susceptible to DWR breakdown. DSG Outerwear reinforces the waterproofing of their seams with an interior seam seal.
Both Grangers and Nikwax produce a range of cleaning, conditioning, waterproofing, and other technical clothing care products. Down to the base layers, both offer cleaning products specific to layers and fabrics. For example, base layer cleaners revitalize the wicking properties of your base layers and prevent odor build up. When it comes to both brands’ waterproofing products, these are preferred for your technical materials because they restore DWR while maintaining the breathability of these technical fabrics. Additionally, neither brand requires heat activation for their waterproofing products.
Both brands are generally available at sporting goods stores or can be ordered on Amazon. Down to your footwear, there are cleaning and protection products specific to each of your gear items. Conveniently, many Grangers products are packaged into cleaning or care kits. Ultimately, investing in technical clothing care and protection will increase their longevity and performance.
Excessive washing and drying will break down the Durable Water Repellent finish, but gear should be washed before storing it for the summer. Accumulation of dirt can deteriorate the exterior finish on the gear, while dirt and sweat from your body can clog the breathability of your gear, so don’t be afraid to wash it. Finally, before you store your women's technical clothing, make sure everything is completely dry, to prevent mildew.