How to Clean Rain Gear


It is important to clean your rain gear on a regular basis. The normal wearing of rain gear allows dirt and grime to work its way into the fabric. This causes the rain gear to lose its water-repellency or waterproofness. The durable water repellent (DWR) coating that is applied to most rain gear is actually reactivated after a proper washing and drying. Knowing how to clean rain gear is important to ensure its longevity.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild laundry detergent
  • Nikwax Techwash (optional)
  • Rinse rain gear with clean warm water after each use. This prevents dirt buildup and keeps the DWR activated.

  • Close any open zippers or snaps on the rain gear, including pockets, before a thorough washing to prevent accidental abrasions.

  • Use a mild laundry detergent, or a non-detergent such as Nikwax Techwash, and machine-wash the rain gear in warm water. Rinse the rain gear twice to fully remove any detergent residue.

  • Dry waterproof rain gear on a low setting. You can steam iron it on warm as well. Both processes will reactivate the DWR coating.

Tips & Warnings

  • After much use, the DWR will begin to wear off. You can find DWR-reviving solutions at outdoor stores. These are sprays used on the outside of the coat or added to the wash.
  • Do not use dry-cleaning solutions, bleach or fabric softener on rain gear.

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  • Photo Credit rain coats image by jscott from
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