Can You Tumble Dry A Waterproof Coat? (is it safe or will it damage it)

After extensive research we have found that you can tumble dry the majority of waterproof coats. There are a few brands that advise not to tumble dry their waterproof coats which is why you should always check the care label inside your coat before tumble drying.

Many people are of the opinion that waterproof coats can’t even be washed, let alone tumble dried. However, there are some precautions that need to be adhered to before washing and drying  a waterproof coat.

The DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating that is applied to coats to make them waterproof can be washed off completely. Or at the very least damaged in places, unless you use a non-biological detergent. Or better still, a detergent specifically designed for washing waterproof coats.

If you can tumble dry your waterproof coat, you should always keep the dryer on a setting that is either delicate, cool or warm at the most. Some manufacturers actually advise putting their waterproof coats in a tumble dryer for 20-30 minutes on a low setting to reactivate the DWR coating.

While many recommend washing and tumble drying their waterproof coats after every 10 wears, to help maintain their appearance and waterproofing capabilities.

What The Tumble Dryer Symbols Mean On A Waterproof Coat

Tumble Dryer Symbols On Clothes

Many of the industry’s waterproof coat manufacturers advise that their coats can be tumble dried on low to medium heat every 10 wears or so to reactivate their DWR coating.

However we recommend that you always check the care label in your waterproof coat to be sure that it can be dried in a tumble dryer. Below are all of the symbols you are likely to find in your waterproof coat relating to the tumble dryer and a short description of what they mean.

Square With A White Circle

This is the symbol that indicates that you can tumble dry this garment.

Square With A White Circle, One Black Dot In Circle

This symbol indicates that you can dry on normal or low heat. This is one of four symbols that you can expect to find in your waterproof coat depending on the make.

Square With White Circle, Two Black Dots In Circle

This symbol indicates that you can dry this garment on normal or medium heat. You might find this symbol on your waterproof coat, however, always check, never assume.

Square With White Circle, Three Black Dots In Circle

This symbol indicates that the item can be tumble dried using normal or high heat. You’re very unlikely to find this symbol in your waterproof coat.

Square With Black Circle

This symbol indicates that the garment can be dried in a tumble dryer with no heat. You might find this one on your waterproof coat.

Square With White Circle And A Black X On Top

This is the symbol for DO NOT TUMBLE DRY. You need to be very sure that this symbol isn’t displayed in your waterproof coat before you put it in the tumble dryer.

How To Reactivate The DWR Coating Without A Tumble Dryer

If you don’t own a tumble dryer and you feel that your DWR coating needs reactivation there’s a method many people use that might help:

Simply place the waterproof coat on a flat surface like a table or ironing board. Then cover the coat with a tea towel to act as a barrier, and iron on a medium heat.

Ensure that the iron doesn’t come into contact with the coat at any point and be sure to cover every part of the coat.

How To Dry A Waterproof Coat Without A Tumble Dryer

If you don’t own a tumble dryer, there are several ways you can dry your waterproof coat which are;

Air Drying Your Waterproof Coat On A Clothesline

The best way to dry your waterproof coat on a washing line is to put it on a coat hanger and secure the hanger to the clothesline. This will ensure your waterproof coat maintains its shape as it dries.

Expect the coat to take at least 2-4 hours to dry, more on cold days.

Using A Dehumidifier To Decrease The Drying Time

If you are drying your waterproof coat indoors, you can cut the drying time considerably if you use a dehumidifier in conjunction with your preferred drying method.

Place the dehumidifier in the room where the coat is drying to reduce the moisture content in the room. This will allow the material to dry much quicker.

SEE ALSO: The Best Dehumidifiers For Drying Waterproof Coats

AIr Drying You Waterproof Coat On An Airer

Using an airer or clothes horse as they’re sometimes called is a great way to dry your waterproof coat indoors. SImply place the airer in a well ventilated room and allow the coat to lay flat on the wire frame. Spread the coat out so that it has plenty of drying surface exposed.

Ensure a good flow of air around the coat to help with the drying process. Airers use no power and produce no heat, but it is possible to position the airer close to a radiator which could help speed up the drying process.

Using A Retractable Clothesline To Dry Your Waterproof Coat

If you don’t have a garden and live in a small place where space is at a premium, a retractable clothesline could be a good idea. The retractable clothesline is essentially a wall mounted box with a nylon braided line which can be extended across the room. 

The line is then secured into position and can be used to hang your waterproof coat onto. Once the coat is dry, the line can simply be unsecured and retracted into the box.

SEE ALSO: Retractable Clotheslines We Recommend

Speed Up The Drying Time With An Electric Fan

By aiming an electric fan towards your drying waterproof coat, you can simulate a gentle breeze. As long as you have a window open to help remove any moisture, this will speed up the drying process.

The fan can be used in conjunction with a dehumidifier as long as you ensure the air is flowing in the correct direction. The order should be fan > coat > dehumidifier.

Why You Should Always Read The Wash Care Label On Waterproof Coats

Always check the wash care labels

The wash care label is there to ensure that your waterproof coat keeps you dry and looks good for as long as possible. It also gives you advice on the temperature the coat should be washed (and dried) at.

If you don’t stick to these guidelines, your waterproof coat will not last as long as it has been designed to. You could also seriously affect the DWR if you don’t adhere to the wash care label’s advice. For instance;

  • Using The Wrong Detergent – Using the wrong type of detergent could cause you to completely remove the DWR coating on your waterproof coat. The DWR coating is designed to repel water, if it is removed the coat will absorb water making it heavier to wear and eventually that water will breach the coat’s liner and make you wet.
  • Drying On Too High Heat Setting – Drying your waterproof coat on too high a heat setting could completely remove the DWR coating which will mean your waterproof coat is just a coat – Not a waterproof coat.

Re-Waterproofing A Waterproof Coat

If you find your waterproof coat is no longer keeping the water out, there are a few things that you can do to return it to its waterproof past. You can;

  1. Tumble Dry On Low Heat For 20-30 Minutes
    Check the care label first and if it’s OK to tumble fry your waterproof coat simply tumble for 20 to 30 minutes on low heat to reactivate the DWR on your coat.
  2. Iron On Moderate Heat
    Always place a tea towel between the iron and the waterproof coat. Never use an iron that’s too hot, never more than moderate heat. Be sure to iron the whole coat.
  3. Reapply DWR Coating
    If, after trying the first two methods, your waterproof coat is still letting the rain through, you can buy DWR coatings in a spray can. These can be sprayed evenly across the whole coat and once dried your coat will be waterproof again.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to put a waterproof coat in a tumble dryer?

You should check the care label first, but in many cases it is perfectly safe to put a waterproof coat in a tumble dryer on low heat. In fact, many waterproof coat manufacturers recommend putting their waterproof coats in a tumble dryer for 20 to 30 minutes on a low heat setting to reactivate the waterproof coating.

How can I dry a waterproof coat without a tumble dryer?

There are several ways to dry a waterproof coat without a tumble dryer. These include; Drying the waterproof coat on a washing line, on an airer or a retractable clothesline. If you are drying indoors, a dehumidifier will dramatically shorten the drying time.

What is the best way to wash a waterproof jacket?

The best way to wash a waterproof jacket is as per the wash care label. In the absence of a wash care label you should use a non-biological detergent and wash at low temperatures to decrease the risk of removing the waterproof coating.

Can you tumble dry a rain jacket?

You should always consult the care label first. In the absence of a care label you should put the rain jacket in the tumble dryer on a low heat setting for 20-30 minutes. This will help to reactivate the waterproof coating on your jacket.

Do waterproof jackets lose their waterproofing?

Waterproof jackets will lose their waterproofing over time. Just by leaning against a wet car door or cuddling a muddy dog some of the waterproof coating can get removed.

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