How to clean & care for your GORE-TEX jacket

How to clean & care for your GORE-TEX jacket

As the Rockies embrace the fresh blossoms and vibrant greens of spring, it’s also the season of unpredictable weather. From sudden rain showers to lingering mists, ensuring your GORE-TEX jacket is in top shape is essential. Here’s your complete guide on how to properly clean and care for your GORE-TEX jacket, so you’re ready to enjoy the great outdoors, rain or shine!

When to Clean Your GORE-TEX Jacket

Initially, your GORE-TEX jacket repels water with ease, but over time, you might notice the jacket absorbing moisture rather than beading it off. This phenomenon, known as "wetting out," signals that it's time for some jacket TLC.

Simple Test: Lay your jacket flat and sprinkle some water on it. If the water beads up and rolls off, you’re still good to go. However, if the fabric absorbs the water, it’s time to clean and possibly reapply the waterproof treatment.

Why Cleaning Your GORE-TEX Jacket Matters

Your jacket’s ability to breathe and repel water is crucial for comfort and protection. Dirt, oils, and sunscreen can clog the membrane, diminishing its effectiveness. Regular cleaning helps maintain the fabric’s breathability and water repellency.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Guide

Read the Care Label:

Always start by checking the care instructions provided by the manufacturer on the inside label of your jacket.

Prepare the Washer:

Clean your washing machine’s detergent compartment to remove any residue from regular detergents that might affect the jacket’s fabric.

Choosing a Detergent:

Use a specialized technical wash designed for waterproof garments. Avoid regular detergents, fabric softeners, and bleach as these can damage the fabric’s waterproof membrane.

Spot Cleaning:

Before washing, tackle any heavy soiling or stains with a damp cloth. Apply a small amount of tech wash directly to stubborn stains.

Prepare the Jacket:

Close all zippers and fasten any hook-and-loop closures. Check the pockets to ensure they are empty.


Place your jacket in the washing machine, following the temperature and cycle guidelines specified on the care label.

Re-Waterproofing Your Jacket

After washing, you might want to restore the DWR (durable water repellent) finish:

Wash-In vs. Spray-On:

Choose a wash-in waterproofer for even coverage or a spray-on treatment to target specific areas like the shoulders and avoid insulated parts.


For spray-ons, ensure the jacket is clean and damp. Apply the spray evenly, working from the center outwards, and wipe any excess with a clean cloth.


Again, consult the care label. Generally, tumble dry on a low heat setting for about 20 minutes to reactivate the DWR coating.


Once dry, test the water repellency by spraying water on the jacket. If it beads up, your jacket is ready for more spring adventures. If not, consider another round of treatment.

Can You Dry Clean GORE-TEX?

It's advisable to stick to washing your GORE-TEX jacket in a regular washing machine. However, if dry cleaning is necessary, ask your cleaner to use a clear distilled hydrocarbon solvent and apply a DWR spray before drying.

Keeping your GORE-TEX jacket clean and well-maintained not only extends its life but also ensures it performs at its best during your spring adventures in the Rockies. Whether you’re hiking through a light drizzle or facing a downpour, a clean and waterproof jacket makes any wet weather outing more enjoyable. Remember, a little care goes a long way in keeping you dry and comfortable in the great outdoors!