Can You Put A Rain Jacket In The Washing Machine?

Yes, most rain jackets can be washed in a washing machine, but it’s essential to read the care label on your specific jacket before washing it. 

Some jackets may be labeled as “hand wash only,” in which case you should follow those instructions to avoid damaging the jacket.

But before you put it in the washer, there are a few things you need to do to ensure you don’t damage the waterproof coating. Keep reading to learn the proper ways to prepare, wash, dry and maintain the jacket’s waterproof integrity.

How To Prepare A Rain Jacket Before Washing

Before washing your rain jacket, there are a few important steps to take:

  • Always refer to the care label sewn inside your jacket. It will provide specific instructions on washing temperature, cycle type and drying methods.
  • Turn your jacket inside out and empty all the pockets. Zip up all the zippers and close any velcro closures to prevent snagging during the wash. 
  • Remove any parts that can be detached, such as the hood. Tie any loose straps or tassels to prevent them from getting tangled.
  • If there are any stubborn dirt marks, mud, or grime, pre-treat them with a soft brush and a little water. Do not use harsh detergents or stain removers, as they can damage the waterproof coating.
  • Remove any residual detergent left in your washing machine’s dispenser as it can damage the water-repellent finish of your jacket. Run an empty hot wash cycle to remove any leftover residue.
  • Skip your usual laundry detergent. Opt for a mild detergent specifically designed for washing rain jackets or outdoor gear. These detergents are formulated to clean effectively without harming the waterproof or breathable properties of your jacket.

How To Wash A Rain Jacket In The Washing Machine

open washing machine door

When washing your rain jacket in the washing machine, follow these guidelines:

  1. Refer to the care label for recommended washing cycle and temperature. Generally, a delicate or hand-wash setting with cool water is ideal.
  2. Wash your rain jacket by itself. This ensures it gets a thorough clean and avoids snagging or damage from other garments.
  3. Use a gentle detergent or one specifically made for outdoor wear because it will rinse out quickly. Just use a smaller amount of detergent than you would for a regular wash.
  4. To ensure all detergent residue is removed, consider adding an extra rinse cycle to your wash.

Pro-tip: Never use an all-purpose detergent, bleach, or fabric softener on your raincoat. It’s better to use liquid detergents over powders, as powders can fill the fabric’s pores. But be cautious with liquid detergent types; some contain softeners. 

How To Dry A Rain Jacket Properly

Always check the care label. It will tell you if your jacket can be tumble dried, and if so, at what temperature. If your care label allows it, tumble dry your jacket on low heat with a gentle setting.

If your jacket cannot be tumble dried, hang it up to air dry in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight. Always make sure it’s completely dry before you store or wear it.

How To Re-Waterproof A Rain Jacket

person wearing a rain jacket

Sometimes, after being washed, a rain jacket might lose part of its waterproof layer. Before re-waterproofing, make sure your jacket is completely clean and free of any detergent residue, which can prevent the waterproofing treatment from adhering properly.

There are various waterproofing sprays and wash-in treatments available. Select one that’s compatible with your rain jacket’s material and follow the application instructions carefully.

Once the treatment is dry, do a quick water test to see if the water beads up and rolls off the fabric. If not, reapply the waterproofing treatment. Note that some products need time to activate, so patience might be needed or a different brand might work better.

Why Is Washing Important For Maintaining Your Rain Jacket?

Regular cleaning of your rain jacket is essential to remove dirt, oil, and sweat that can clog the protective layer of the fabric, reducing its breathability and waterproofing effectiveness. It’s advisable to wash your jacket monthly if used regularly to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

SEE ALSO: Can You Tumble Dry Fleece Jackets?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to wash a rain jacket in a washing machine?

Yes, it is generally OK to wash a rain jacket in a washing machine, but it is important to check the care label for specific instructions to avoid damaging the jacket.

How do I know if a rain jacket can be washed?

You can determine if a rain jacket can be washed by referring to the care label sewn inside the jacket, which provides specific instructions regarding the washing temperature, cycle type, and recommended drying methods.

How do I wash a rain jacket without ruining it?

To wash a rain jacket without ruining it, turn the jacket inside out, empty all pockets, and close all zippers and velcro. Use a mild detergent designed for outdoor gear and select a delicate wash cycle with cool water. Avoid using standard laundry detergents, bleach, or fabric softeners.

Do rain jackets lose waterproofness?

Yes, rain jackets can lose their waterproof quality over time, especially after repeated washings or exposure to dirt and oils that clog the fabric’s pores, reducing its effectiveness.

How do I make my rain jacket waterproof again?

To make your rain jacket waterproof again, first ensure it is clean and free from any detergent residue. Then, apply a waterproofing spray or wash-in treatment suitable for the jacket’s material, following the product’s application instructions carefully. After it dries, perform a water test to check effectiveness.

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