Q: How often should I clean my jacket?
A: Every month.
No really. Even GORE-TEX product experts recommend cleaning your jacket every month. Keeping your jacket clean is one of the best ways to preserve its useful life. Dirt, smoke, and even body oils and sweat can wreak havoc on many aspects of your jacket. Your body oils and sweat can cause the seam tape and lining of your jacket to break down more quickly. Dirt, grime, and smoke can mask the water-repellent coating, making your jacket wet out faster. “Wetting out” is when water soaks into the surface fabric of your jacket. This is bad, as a wet jacket is not a breathable jacket, and you will get wet from the inside. (See image below.)
By washing your jacket, you remove all these harmful contaminants, thereby allowing your jacket to perform at its best. Be mindful though! Cleaning with regular detergents can lead to other issues. Household detergents leave behind a water-attracting residue that can cause your jacket to wet out; similar to dirt, oil, and grime. The safest bet is to always clean with a technical cleaner, like Nikwax Tech Wash, or Nikwax Down Wash if your jacket is down-filled. Tech Wash and Down Wash are soap-based cleaners that are formulated to not leave behind any water-attracting residue. They are also biodegradable and never tested on animals.
Almost all jackets are safe to simply wash in your washing machine- it’s easy! However, if your jacket is down-filled, make sure to use a front-loading machine, as agitators in top loaders can bash up the delicate down feathers. Lastly: always check your garment’s care label before washing.
Enjoy your clean, high-performing jacket!