Gore-tex waterproof and windproof jackets will protect you from the elements, but you need to take care of your garment so it continues to keep you warm and dry. These jackets are made for the outdoors, and there is no way you can keep them pristine when you're racing through muddy trails or city streets, so it's good to know you can clean them instead of wearing a lifetime of body odour and dirt on your back. Be careful when cleaning, and do take into account the water-repellent treatment only lasts so long.
Before cleaning your jacket do check the manufacturer's instructions on the tag inside, as various fabrics may have slightly different needs.
How to wash and dry your Gore-tex jacket
- Zip up all pockets and the main jacket zip. Make sure all straps and tags are fastened securely.
- Warm machine wash up to 40º C. Rinse twice and use low spin cycle to decrease creasing.
- Dry on the line or use a tumble dryer set to a warm temperature.
- Once dry, tumble dry for 20 minutes to reactivate the durable water-repellent treatment.
- If you don't have a tumble dryer, ironing on a warm setting with no steam will also help reactivate the water repellent treatment. Ensure you place a towel or cloth between the garment and iron. Placing the jacket over a radiator can also help reactivate the treatment.
- Water should bead when poured onto the garment. If it doesn't, it's time to reapply a waterproof treatment which can be purchased at outdoor clothes stores.
You need to reactivate the water-repellent treatment to ensure water doesn't seep through, making you wet and cold. You will also need to apply a new water-repellent treatment at some point, as the treatment applied at the factory can become less effective from general wear and tear, insect repellents, dirt and detergents over time.
How Gore-tex works
The jacket's ability to keep you warm and dry when it's blowing a gale and bucketing down is due to a membrane layer, which was developed by Gore. The extremely thin membrane layer is laminated to the fabric making the jacket windproof, waterproof and very breathable. The membrane prevents wind from passing through, but on the other hand it allows perspiration to escape, as the pores are 700 times larger than a water vapour molecule, according to Gore. The size of the pores on the membrane are also key to the jacket's ability to keep you dry, as water is not able to seep through the microscopic pores that are 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet. Every seam and stitch is also sealed with special tape to prevent water seepage.
The membrane is trademarked by Gore so when you see the Windstopper or Gore-tex logo on other brands, it means the company has bought the rights to use the membrane technology. Like Gore's own products, these garments are put through rigorous testing to ensure they will keep you warm and dry.