If you bought your outerwear at Shep’s and you’ve worn it around making great memories and looking awesome along the way, chances are it will be time for a wash at some point.
First rule: follow manufacturer’s printed instructions, usually located on a tag inside the garment. Or, visit their website for fabric and care information. Any manufacturer’s warranty may be nullified if their instructions are not followed.
Second rule of thumb: unless it’s faux fur, don’t take it to a dry cleaner! Their process and chemicals will ruin your waterproof/breathable garment. Happily, you can wash and maintain your performance outerwear easily at home whenever you feel it’s time to be refreshed. If it’s looking dirty or water is soaking through the shell fabric, then it’s a good time to launder it again.
Your performance outerwear has two lines of defense between you and the elements: the DWR finish on the face (outer) side of the fabric, and waterproof/breathable coatings or laminates on the inside of the fabric. Waterproof/breathable coatings and laminates will last for the lifetime of your garment with proper care. All such coatings have microscopic pores that are too small to allow liquid water to pass through, but large enough to let water vapor escape. Dirt and grime can disrupt the waterproofing and breathability by clogging the pores, which lets water soak through and also prevents water vapor from escaping. Careful cleaning and drying will reopen these pores and restore the effectiveness of the coatings.
The DWR (durable water-resistant) finish is applied to the face side of the outerwear fabric, enabling it to resist exposure to ultraviolet light. If you splash some water on the outside of your garment, the water should bead up and roll right off. If it doesn’t, then try careful washing and drying to restore the DWR finish. If careful cleaning does not restore the effectiveness of the DWR finish, you can reapply a DWR finish yourself. We recommend Nikwax TX Direct, which can be sprayed on or washed in.
Here’s how to properly wash your performance outerwear to restore it’s appearance and function:
- DO NOT DRY CLEAN. Check the care tag that is attached.
- Unzip all the zippers and turn your garment inside-out.
- Wash in COLD water, separately.
- DO NOT USE FABRIC SOFTENERS OR BLEACH. Fabric softeners will clog the pores of the garment. Bleach will ruin it.
- Use a non-detergent cleanser or very mild powder detergent. We recommend Nikwax products.
- Minimize soap usage. Better few bubbles than many.
- If you’re using a wash-in DWR restorer, add it to the wash cycle.
- Use your machine’s GENTLE cycle, or hand wash.
- Rinse throughly. Even better, rinse twice.
- Gently squeeze out most of the water. DO NOT WRING. Wringing the water from your garment can cause the waterproof/breathable coating to separate from the inside of the shell fabric.
- Use a powdered non-detergent cleanser. Liquid detergent can clog the pores in the waterproof-breathable coating. If one is not available, use a very mild powdered detergent, and use it sparingly. Powdered detergents rinse more throughly than liquid detergents. Gently rinse your garment, preferably twice. If you must use a grocery-store brand, we recommend Dreft detergent, used sparingly.
- LINE-DRY your garment until it is completely dry. Do not hang it over a heat source, which can damage the fabric and the coatings.
- If you want to restore DWR and did not a wash-in type, you may apply a spray-pn DWR restorer after washing.
We Offer Nikwax products alongside our great selection of premium outerwear.
Nikwax Tech Wash, a non-detergent cleanser for most outerwear
Nikwax Down Wash, a non-detergent cleanser for outerwear and mid layers insulated with down.
Nikwax TX Direct, Wash-in or Spray-on.