How do you wash something built to stay dry?
January 12, 2010 12:43 PM   Subscribe

Who knows how to clean a stinky raincoat?

Hey everyone! I've got a hooded Columbia raincoat w/ no cleaning instructions on any tags that I need to launder with a quickness. It does a great job of keeping moisture on the proper side of the coat, so the rain stays out and my fragrant musk stays in. There's a nylon shell around what I'm pretty sure is polyester. The tags on this thing only tell you the size, you see. This is a great coat but it's also a body odor wildlife preserve at the moment.

I don't know anything much about laundering nylon and polyester and I'd sure hate to wreck this thing with the wrong washing machine settings or wrong detergent or bleach or whatever.

How do I eradicate the current stank and is there a way to store a raincoat that'll minimize future stank?
posted by EatTheWeek to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You're looking for Nikwax stuff. It's recommended by Gore-Tex, BMW Motorrad and a number of other technical apparel manufacturers. Here you go.
posted by workerant at 12:45 PM on January 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

If it is just a plain raincoat (i.e. not some sort of waterproof-breathable fabric), then I'd just wash it on a cold, delicate cycle. If it is a waterproof-breathable fabric, then you can buy fancy Nikwax stuff to clean it with (and/or to make it more waterproof).
posted by ssg at 1:35 PM on January 12, 2010

I just throw mine in the washing machine on a cold cycle with my hypoallergenic/gentle detergent like I do with everything else. You have to be careful getting it out because the water pools everywhere but it gets rid of the smell and everything still works fine. I've done this with both my waxed cotton (like an oilskin with but wax) raincoat and various nylon jackets, the raincoat has been well used for 16 years now and it's just starting to need some resealing on the seams.

As for storing, somewhere it will get a bit of air. So on the ouside of a cupboard door rather than stuffed in the backof the cupboard seems to work. Definitely hang rather than bundle. Being clean before you store it also helps and you can hang it outside to air and be fully dry before you put it away for the summer, assuming you live somewhere it doesn't rain alll summer (unlike me, heh).
posted by shelleycat at 1:46 PM on January 12, 2010

Most commercial detergents will eventually destroy the waterproof finishes on outdoor gear like Gore-tex, which is why you need Nikwax like everybody says. Do not machine dry, do make sure you follow the directions to the letter.
posted by slow graffiti at 2:08 PM on January 12, 2010

Nthing the tech wash type stuff. I use Penguin sport wash on my gore-tex jackets. It actually restores the water beading effect on the outside of the coat. I also run it through the dryer and haven't had any problems. It totally gets rid of that body stank smell off of polyester clothes too (its the only stuff I found that does). You can get it at any of those sports/jogging type places.
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 2:20 PM on January 12, 2010

The two Gore-tex (or similar) jackets I've owned (one from Patagonia, one from North Face) have both called for delicate wash in the washing machine. And I believe both have called for being dried in the dryer. But check the manufacturer's website, or give them a call at their toll-free number.

You asked about storage... is there any reason not to just hang it up in the closet?
posted by bluedaisy at 8:59 PM on January 12, 2010

« Older Where to go in Carribean for a group of single...   |   Downsides of Scribus for Windows? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.