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According to my jacket instructions, it performs best when clean (gore-tex pores need to be clean from sweat, skin oils, and whatever else from the outside). Also, they instruct to tumble-dry the garment after washing so to renew its water-repellent treatment.

Can there be too much washing and tumble drying? Would that ruin the cape on the long run? Or, should I just follow the instructions slavishly?

  • 2
    You might find some useful answers here outdoors.stackexchange.com/q/40/33 – Phil May 4 '15 at 11:34
  • Thanks. I actually would like to know how often can I do that, not how to do that. I wonder if there's such a thing as too much cleaning, or, the more the better. – Dakatine May 4 '15 at 15:21
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    Too much cleaning is one way to wear things out, you have to find a nice balance for the sake of the longevity of your garments. Typically, you only clean it after it gets dirty. So how often you wash depend on how often you soil your stuff. – ShemSeger May 4 '15 at 16:50
  • My personal approach is as little as possible. It will only wear it out so unless it's filthy or stinks bad I'd leave it alone. – Liam May 6 '15 at 9:46
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From my experience with WP/B garments, keeping them clean will keep them useful and functional for a long time (I have a 11 years old Gore jacket). What I do is:

  • Clean the garment in the washing machine (30 degrees, delicate cycle) using pure soap flakes under two conditions:
    • Heavy soil (WP trousers after a very muddy trip) will be cleaned straight away
    • Regular use - wash after 10 days of use in total (can be multiple trips)
  • Apply a spray on DWR (Nikwax/Storm/Granger) after every wash
  • Wipe excess with a cotton cloth (also spreads the spray on)
  • Put in the drier for 20 minutes on very low heat

So far that worked very well for me in maintaing all my shells. I use the same principles for wind jackets (for cycling/running) and softshells.

Note about softshells (weaves): Make sure you give them a second rinse as the soap tends to get really stuck in the fabric and than continue with the spray on and drier.

In the first 60 days of actual use (first year for heavy use, 2-3 years for less frequent use) I won't apply the spray on, as the factory DWR will hold with just a wash and heating.

If you don't have a drier, just place the garment on a warm radiator for 30-60 minutes (depends on heat) or use VERY CAREFULLY a low heat iron. If you are not sure about the iron don't use it!

I just wrote an overview the other day about waterproofs if you need some more in depth information.

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These are just my personal rules of thumb for WB gear care.

  1. It goes in the drier after every trip. If there is dirt on it, it gets rinsed first, but not washed.

  2. If it looks dirty after it comes out of the drier, wash it, but don't wash it until it looks dirty.

I have found that following 1 reduces the need to do 2 a lot. Renewing the DWR( durable water repellency) helps keep the garment clean since a good DWR reduces the ability of dirt and grime to stick to the jacket.

Even with "safe" detergents, every time you wash the garment you are removing some of the DWR. While you can use products like NixWax or Grangers to renew the DWR, it never is as good as the original. You want to make that last as long as possible. For the gear I own and use, I've found that putting it in the dryer every other weekend only seems to help. This same strategy also works quite well with softshell gear.

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