Hey gang! Bjørn here, your friendly neighborhood gear geek, and I’m back to drop some clean knowledge on y’all. It’s rainy season here outside of Norrøna HQ and winter is coming, so today we’re taking a look at how to keep our waterproof garments fit for the foul weather that is unfortunately upon us these days.
Care and Content labels
So how should you best take care of your garments? The Care & Content (C & C) label is a good place to start. The C & C label is that little piece of fabric with weird symbols on it, usually located in the neck or side of your garment. It tells you how to wash your garment and if there’s any special precautions that you need to be aware of. Some of you might think that this is where C & C Music Factory, the 44th most successful dance artist of all time (as ranked by Billboard Magazine in 2016) with hits like “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everbody Dance Now)”, got their name, but you would be mistaken, as this is purely a coincidence. The group was formed by musicians Cole and Clivillés. But I digress.
As we have touched on briefly before, synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon are a relatively new invention, so up until the mid 50s, when most machine washable garments were made of natural fibers like cotton and linen, the only two programs on washing machines were 95° C for hot washes and 60° C for non-colorfast dyed materials. But along with the development of more advanced materials, so has also the care instructions become increasingly complicated. The symbols you now see on most care labels around the world today were introduced in 1963, and they are there for a reason, so follow the instructions and your garment will perform year after year.
No such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing
And most likely, your clothing ain’t bad. So what about that leaking Gore-Tex jacket of yours? It’s not waterproof any longer, you say? The fabric soaks up water and is moist on the inside? Actually, most likely it’s just as waterproof as it was when you first bought it! The problem is that the Durable Water Repellency (DWR) might have worn off, and/or it’s just plain dirty. The DWR is what helps water form droplets on the outside of your jacket and roll off, and the Gore-Tex membrane is dependant on this in order to function properly. If the outside layer of the laminated fabric is soaked with water or otherwise contaminated with oils, sweat, or dirt, the water vapor (evaporated sweat and warm humid air) can’t escape from the inside of your jacket and you’ll feel wet and clammy. You might even be led to believe that your jacket is leaking, even though it probably isn’t!
Wash it, warm it, wear it.
So here’s the final lowdown. Wash it! Read the care instructions and wash your Gore garment, following this simple two-to-three step program:
- Wash your garment using a mild detergent, preferably some sort of tech wash intended for the purpose. Most likely machine wash is ok.
- Dry your garment. Most likely tumble dry is ok. Heating your garment will actually help re-activate the DWR treatment.
- If necessary, re-apply DWR.
Water Repellent Tech
Eco friendly water repellent for technical materials
This product preserves the breathing of technical materials and enhances the repellancy of water on the fabric. This is a great eco-friendly alternative to other water repellents out in the market.
Can be used on Gore-Tex, dri and other technical fabrics.