How To... Care for Gore-Tex Rainwear - Tuatara Tours

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How To… Care for Gore-Tex Rainwear

13 June 2019

To get the most out of your Gore-Tex® outerwear, keep it clean. The following information describes some basic cleaning procedures. But always read and follow the care instructions sewn into any Gore-Tex garment before you wash it.


Laundry Instructions

It’s easy to wash your Gore-Tex® outerwear:

          • Machine wash in warm water with liquid detergent.
          • Tumble dry on medium heat.

W.L. Gore and Associates, Inc. currently does not recommend the use of powdered soaps or any soaps containing fabric softeners, conditioners, stain removers or bleach when washing Gore-Tex outerwear.


Stain Removal

Use the exact same liquid detergent you plan to use to wash your outerwear (see above for details on what kind of detergent to use). Rub some of that detergent into the stained area and run the garment through a prewash cycle prior to laundering it. If your machine has no prewash cycle, then rub in the detergent and presoak the garment instead.


Water-Repellent Coatings

Like virtually all rainwear, Gore-Tex® outerwear comes with a DWR (durable water repellent) treatment on its outer surface. DWR causes water to bead up and roll off the garment. This clears the fabric surface so that sweat and body heat can pass through from the inside. It also keeps the fabric surface drier, which makes your outerwear light and comfortable.

Eventually, with regular laundering and exposure to the elements, DWR treatments can wear off. When this occurs, water no longer beads on the surface of the fabric, and the fabric may absorb some water. (The Gore-Tex barrier beneath the outer fabric, however, will still stop this moisture from getting to your skin.)

The best way to renew your DWR is to launder your Gore-Tex outerwear according to the care instructions and iron it using a warm steam setting. This will restore the water beading on the outer surface of the fabric as long as the original water-repellent treatment is present.

There is no such thing as permanent water-repellent treatment. Over time, the original repellent finish will be depleted and you’ll need to use a spray-on or wash-in water-repellency treatment to treat the fabric. You may repeat this process as many times as needed.


A Case of Mistaken Identity

Performance problems caused by worn DWR coatings are often mistaken for Gore-Tex fabric failures. This is due to the fact that when DWR coatings wear off, Gore-Tex® layers may:

          • Appear wet on the outside—since the outer fabric may absorb some water.
          • Feel heavier—again, due to water absorption.
          • Collect condensation on the inside—water on the fabric’s surface can lower the temperature of the fabric through evaporative heat loss. This can cause warm, humid air inside the garment to condense on the inside surface so it feels wet—like it’s leaking.

Before you consider replacing your jacket or rain pants, first try restoring your DWR or reapplying a spray-on or wash-in coating. Remember—just because the outer fabric becomes wet does not mean that water is passing through the Gore-Tex membrane layer laminated to the inside of your garment.

Serious Leaks

If you notice significant moisture inside your Gore-Tex® outerwear after just a few minutes in the rain, you may have a leak or more serious problem. Possible causes include a defective seam, a problem with the fabric or damage to the garment.


Dry Cleaning

Some outerwear garments that use Gore-Tex® fabric also use silk or wool. These garments should be dry cleaned only. When dry cleaning Gore-Tex garments, request clear, distilled solvent rinse and a spray-repellent.


Down Garments

If you have an outerwear garment that uses both Gore-Tex® fabric and down insulation, do not dry clean it. Dry cleaning will strip the oil from the down feathers, causing them to lose loft and warmth.

        • Machine wash in cold water with a mild powder detergent. Gore recommends using a front-loading washer.
        • Tumble dry, on low heat.
        • Touch up with a warm (not hot) iron.


Gore-Tex Fabric and Salt Water

Salt water does not contaminate, clog the pores, decrease the breathability, alter or harm Gore-Tex® fabric. So you can sail, paddle and cruise with confidence.

Salt is a desiccant, meaning it attracts moisture. To keep salt from accumulating on your outerwear and attracting water, simply rinse it occasionally in fresh water. If you have limited fresh water supplies, even a rinse in sea water will reduce heavy salt accumulations (sea water is approximately 3% salt).

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