How to Wash a Waterproof Jacket

After wearing it regularly in the outdoors, your waterproof jacket may start to get a little dirty. Dirt and debris which comes into contact with and settles on your jacket can damage the waterproof coating and allow moisture to start seeping into the fabric, thus ruining the valuable waterproof quality of the garment. While you may be tempted to just throw your waterproof jacket into the washing machine, there are tried-and-tested best-practice methods to wash and clean your jacket correctly.

Take note of these steps for washing waterproof jackets, which you should follow to prevent causing further damage to the material.

Before Washing Waterproof Jackets

  • Empty the pockets of your coat, doing up the zips and fastening any straps or flaps
  • Check whether the jacket has removable features – such as a hood or collar – that might need to be washed following another method

Prepping Your Waterproof Jacket

  • Clean off any visible debris or dirt with a brush or cloth. This grit can lodge itself in the waterproof fabric so try to clear it off as best as you can and as quickly as possible after the initial contact. Don’t let your prized waterproof become a soiled mess before you give it a refreshing wipe
  • Never use an abrasive material to clean waterproof fabric, as this will definitely damage the coating and exacerbate its condition. The best approach is to dip a clean microfibre towel into warm water and gently wipe the entire surface of the jacket
  • Always check that there is no leftover washing powder or liquid in the washing machine tray before starting the wash. Regular detergents, powders and fabric conditioners can also attack the waterproof coating of your jacket, causing it to start absorbing water. To prevent this, you need to use particular waterproof washing powder or waterproof washing liquid. We advise these specialist cleaning and proofing products designed for the washing of waterproof materials. Don’t forget to thoroughly clean the washing machine compartments before you start the cycle

Washing Waterproof Coats

  • Our clothing labels will generally advise machine washing at 40°C, but decreasing the temperature to 30°C will provide a more gentle wash and is better for the environment as an added bonus. Take a look at the instructions for your washing product and add the necessary amount. Preferably, you want to choose a slow spin cycle which won’t be so harsh on the jacket.
  • When the cycle is finished, you can run a dry spin to try getting some of the excess moisture out of the jacket. This will prevent the moisture soaking too long in the fabric. Don’t tumble dry your jacket, as the heat can damage the waterproof coating. Instead, hang it up neatly in a cool, dry place until it is thoroughly dried through.


  • Once your jacket is washed, you’re good to go. After prolonged use and several washes, however, you may find that the waterproof protection is wearing out. You can use waterproofing products to restore the jacket’s waterproofness.

Take a look at our Expert Advice on Reproofing for more information on how to return your favourite jacket to its former waterproof glory.