How to wash a waterproof jacket


Waterproof jackets are specially designed to provide long-lasting wet weather protection and breathability – but like any other outdoor garment, they should be washed occasionally to ensure optimum performance and longevity. Extended wear, dirt, sunscreen and sweat can reduce the effectiveness of your jacket's Durable Water Repellent (DWR) protection.

When you've been hitting the trails hard, and your waterproof jacket is looking a little worse for wear, washing it can give it a new lease on life. But it's important to know how to wash a waterproof coat or jacket the right way to avoid damaging the waterproof membrane.


Can you wash waterproof jackets at home?

It's always best to check the care label on your waterproof jacket before washing it at home. However, as a general rule of thumb, waterproof jackets can be washed at home using a detergent designed for waterproof and technical gear or a gentle powder detergent. 

Always avoid using harsh powder detergents, fabric softener and chlorine bleach, as these can remove or degrade the Durable Water Repellent finish on the outside of the fabric.

Can you tumble dry a waterproof jacket?

Waterproof jackets should only be tumble dried on a low heat setting if the care instructions say it's OK to do so. Instead, we recommend that you wipe down the exterior of the jacket to speed up the drying time and hang it on a clothes rack to air dry.

How often should you wash a waterproof jacket?

How often to wash your waterproof jacket depends on how regularly you use it and the types of conditions you use it in. Basically, wash it only when it really needs it. 

That said, if your waterproof jacket looks visibly dirty, is damp or is starting to smell, aim to wash it as soon as possible. 

Why do waterproof jackets have to be washed differently from other jackets?

Waterproof jackets and rain jackets have what's known as a 'Durable Water Repellent (DWR)' finish on the outside, which is a special treatment that makes a jacket waterproof.

Washing on a hot cycle or using harsh types of detergents can damage the DWR treatment, which can reduce the jacket's ability to prevent water from being absorbed. If the DWR is damaged, you'll notice that the surface of the jacket will saturate with water. 

Washing on a cold, gentle cycle and using mild detergent helps keep the DWR coating on a waterproof jacket in good condition for longer.


How to wash a North Face waterproof jacket

Whether your waterproof jacket’s shell is made from FutureLight™ or DryVent fabric, you can wash it in the washing machine on a cold, gentle cycle using a detergent designed for waterproof and technical gear or a mild powder detergent. Never use harsh powder detergents, fabric softener or chlorine bleach.

Make sure to zip all zips and close all Velcro® fasteners before you wash your jacket.

To ensure the detergent residue is completely washed out, we suggest running your jacket through the rinse cycle before hanging it to dry.

The North Face footwear and clothing care range features premium formulations designed to help you keep your waterproof gear clean and protected, maximising the lifespan of your apparel. 

Waterproof clothing wash tips

  • Always check the care label of your waterproof clothing for exact instructions.

  • Before washing, lightly brush off any caked-on mud or dirt. Close all zips and Velcro® fasteners on your jacket.

  • Make sure your washing machine's detergent compartment is free from any leftover harsh detergents or bleach powder.

  • Wash your waterproof jacket on a cold, gentle machine wash cycle. 

  • Run your jacket through the rinse cycle to ensure all residue is washed out.

  • Hang to dry naturally.

Washing your The North Face waterproof jacket will help keep it in the best condition for as long as possible. Follow the care instructions on the label, and your jacket will be a reliable companion on your outdoor adventures for years to come.