How to Wash a Waterproof Jacket and How to Reproof It

Washing a waterproof jacket with your regular detergent might cause it to lose its waterproofing layer. 

Unfortunately, that means it’ll absorb the water instead of repelling it like it’s supposed to.

In this article, we’ll tell you how to wash a waterproof jacket and how to reproof it to be as good as new!

1. Remove the Dirt

Before we proceed into the washing process, you’ll want to remove any loose dirt and dust on the jacket using a soft-bristle brush.

dirty jacket

This way, you protect the delicate layer from getting scratched in the machine.

2. Use a Waterproof-Jacket-Friendly Detergent in Your Washing Machine

Your regular detergent, bleach, and fabric softeners all have chemicals that can ruin the waterproof membrane on your jacket.

You should never try them on waterproof clothes.

Additionally, you should check the detergent compartment in your washing machine for any residue before using it.

using the right detergent for waterproof jackets is very important

Running an empty hot cycle with nothing in it will be enough to remove any residue inside.

Waterproof-friendly detergents like Nikwax Tech Wash and Grangers Performance Wash are recommended for washing your waterproof jacket.

They’re designed for waterproof clothes, so they’ll keep your jacket intact.

Remember to read the care label on your jacket before washing it. It may include specific instructions that you need to follow.

Furthermore, it’s best if you don’t add other non-waterproof garments to the washing cycle.

Most detergents ensure that it’s safe to wash two waterproof garments together.

With that being said, the following steps will guide you through washing your jacket:

  1. Turn your jacket inside out and empty all the pockets.
  2. Place it in the washing machine.
  3. Add the waterproof-friendly detergent to the designated compartment.
  4. Set the washing cycle temperature according to your jacket’s care label. Don’t set a hot washing cycle. The temperature should be around 20-40 °C and with no fast spin.

3. Use a Waterproof Spray to Re-Waterproof Your Jacket

Re-waterproofing your jacket is a simple task; you only have to spray it with a reproofing spray. There are many sprays available, including:

Some brands offer a detergent that can waterproof the jacket.

However, you’ll still have to test your jacket’s waterproofing after washing it, and you might still need to add a reproofing spray on specific areas.


These sprays maintain the breathability of the jacket and reproof it.

They contain Durable Water Repellent (DWR), a chemical that repels water and keeps the breathability of the fabric.

It might be a good idea to check if only certain parts of the jacket need reproofing.

All you have to do is spray some water, and it will show you the spots of your jacket that absorb it rather than spill it.

These are the parts that require reproofing, as absorbing water means they aren’t repelling the water efficiently.

Reproofing your jacket is relatively easy. It doesn’t matter if it’s wet or dry. 

First, you should check the spray label for any special instructions; then, follow these steps:

  1. Hang your jacket on a drying line or lay it on the floor on a clean sheet of cloth
  2. Zip up your jacket and its pockets
  3. Hold the spray bottle 5 inches (0.13 m) away from the jacket
  4. Spray an even coat front and back, and make sure to cover every inch of the jacket
  5. Leave it to dry
  6. Retest your jacket’s waterproofing by spraying some water on it
  7. Reapply the spray to the areas that absorb the water droplets

4. Leave the Jacket to Dry

Hang your jacket on a drying line and leave it to dry, or put it in the tumble dryer.

Before that, it’s best to check the care label on the coat to make sure it can be tumble-dried.

If you’re going to use a tumble dryer, it’s best to run it on a gentle spin cycle with no other garments.

How to Wash a Regatta Waterproof Jacket

It’s important to check each jacket’s care label, as it might include special instructions specific to that model.

Regatta’s jackets are not chemical-proof.

So, using commercial stain removers to erase any stains might cause the jacket to lose its waterproofing membrane.

It’s recommended to reproof your jacket after every wash and on a regular basis to maintain its breathability and waterproofing.

Using Regattas’s Wash-In Garment Cleaner and Spray-on Reproofer is recommended. Yet, other waterproof-friendly detergents and reproofing sprays are just as efficient.

How to Wash a North Face Waterproof Jacket

While most North Face jackets can be machine washed on a cool cycle, others can only be hand washed or dry-cleaned.

Most North Face waterproof jackets have an outer shell that’s made from FutureLight or DryVent fabrics. You should wash the jackets regularly and reproof them to maintain their breathability and waterproofing.

Washing a FutureLight jacket is simple as it’s machine washable.

Before placing it in the washing machine, you need to make sure to zip off all the pockets and the Velcro fastenings.

Just like washing any waterproof jacket, you need to make sure there is no detergent residue in the detergent compartment of the machine.

Additionally, there are some special instructions you need to make sure of while washing your North Face jacket:

  • Using a mild powder detergent is preferred over a liquid detergent.
  • Set the washing machine on a cold, gentle cycle
  • Put the jacket through two rinse cycles to get rid of any detergent residue

How to Wash a Columbia Waterproof Jacket

Columbia’s jackets can be hand washed or machine washed in a cold, gentle cycle.

As with all other waterproof jackets, you should use a mild waterproof-friendly detergent, preferably non-toxic.

The jackets can be tumble-dried on low heat. However, you need to put the garments on the right side out after washing.

The inside of the jacket can stick to the tumbler, so the jacket might get torn or lose its waterproof membrane.

You can add a towel or two in the tumble cycle to absorb the extra moisture and make the process smoother for the jacket.

Make sure your jacket is completely dry before storing it. Mold loves the moisture!

How to Handwash a Waterproof Jacket

If you don’t have access to a washing machine or your care label says your jacket can’t be machine washed, handwashing is the right solution.

hand washing a jacket

You’ll need a large bucket or a bathtub, cool water, a waterproof detergent, and a reproofing spray.

It’s not a challenging task; it’ll just take a little more time and effort than using a washing machine. The following steps will guide you through it:

  1. Fill two-thirds of a large bucket with cool water
  2. Pour the recommended amount of the detergent and mix it with the water
  3. Empty the pockets of your jacket, zip it up, and turn it inside out
  4. Remove any loose dirt and dust using a soft-bristle brush
  5. Submerge the jacket in the water bucket
  6. Let it soak for a few minutes
  7. Gently squeeze the jacket with your hands and let it soak again
  8. Repeat the process until your jacket becomes clean
  9. Rinse the jacket with cool water thoroughly at least three times or until the rinsed water is completely clear of any dirt or excess detergent
  10. Let your jacket dry completely. It’s fine if it takes longer than machine-washed jackets.

To Sum Up

Your jacket can’t be washed using your normal detergents, bleach, or fabric softeners.

They will ruin the waterproof membrane. So, you should use a waterproof-friendly detergent.

Check the care label of your jacket for the washing and drying instructions.

Some models have special requirements.

Reproofing your jacket with a spray is a simple process that you should do after washing your jacket on a regular basis. You can also use a reproofing detergent.

Regularly washing your waterproof jacket will maintain its breathability, and reproofing it will keep its water-repelling capabilities just like how you bought it.

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