By Caroline Nelson
Have you ever washed your rainwear? When it comes to technical outerwear there are a few small steps you can take to retain the quality of the garments. Rainwear or anything with a layered fabric composition should be washed. Many people are under the assumption that rainwear does not need to be washed since it is meant to keep you dry. Quite the opposite in fact. Most waterproof garments consist of a porous material which allows vapor to escape from the inside out yet keeps you dry on the inside. Over time these pores can become blocked by dirt and oils from your skin, and can be damaging to the inner lining. The image on the right is a good illustration of what can happen to the interior of your rain jacket if you do not wash it once or twice a year. All technical clothing items have a tag on the inside with direction for proper laundering techniques. Most of the time its best to wash your garments on the gentle cycle with cold/cool water using a tech wash detergent like Nikwax (always read the manufacturers suggested method). Drying is also an important step in keeping your rainwear like new. Most rainwear, even high end Gore-Tex, may be treated with a polyurethane (PU) coating on the outer surface for optimal water resistance. This PU coating typically lasts for 20 wash cycles. By drying your rainwear on low to medium heat it reactivates the PU coating, making it good as new!