How to Clean Rain Gear

How to Clean Rain GearYou may be surprised to find that washing your rain gear is actually good for it. Properly washing the fabric--and drying it afterward--will reactivate the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating applied to the fabric to help keep it waterproof. If your jacket no longer seems waterproof, cleaning it may help restore the waterproof coating. If this still hasn't done the job, the coating may have rubbed off, and you'll need to reapply it with products found at almost any outdoor retailer.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Rinse your rain gear off with clear lukewarm water after every use. This helps keep the DWR coating activated and reduces the need for deeper cleaning. Go to Step 4 if your rain gear doesn't need more intensive cleaning at this time.
Step 2
Close any zip or hook-and-loop closures on the rain gear, including the pockets, before conducting a more thorough cleaning. This helps prevent abrasion during the washing process.
Step 3
Machine-wash the rain gear in cool water with a mild detergent or a non-detergent "technical soap" intended for use with waterproof rain gear. Put the gear through a double rinse cycle to remove any soap or detergent residue.
Step 4
Tumble-dry your waterproof rain gear on a low setting. Also press it with a steam iron set to the warm or synthetic setting. Both practices will help reactivate the water-repellent coating on the fabric.

Tips & Warnings

Never use bleach, fabric softener or dry-cleaning products on your rain gear; this will ruin the fabric.

Article Written By Marie Mulrooney

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.

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