The waterproofing secret other retailers won't tell you
You may have come across iconic manufacturers of quality jeans, Hiut Denim? They famously promote sustainability among their customers by advising them NOT to washing them.
But when it comes to waterproof layers, the secret to longevity turns out to be washing. Not every week of course, but once the beading effect becomes less effective and your jacket works more like a sponge, a wash may be just the thing needed. Chances are, dirt particles are lodged in the fibres, wicking water through your defences. If that doesn't cure it, a proper wash followed by a reproofing will almost certainly do the job.
But hold fire on the Persil! You need to do this properly to ensure it's effective.
We caught up with Yorkshireman, skydiver, outdoor industry expert, sustainability guru, and lecturer in performance sportswear design at Falmouth Uni, Charles Ross, to learn how to get this right.
Charles has, somewhat incredibly, been backing Gather Outdoors since Day 1. In fact, there would be no Gather without his sage advice and gentle encouragement in our pre-pre start-up days. We asked him once why he was such a keen backer of such a tiny business, given a lifetime of working with the biggest beasts in the industry. His answer made us glow with pride:
So before you wash jackets with a water repellent finish, apply a service wash to your machine first. This means a proper cleaning of the detergent draw (where most of the resident dried-on detergent is) and an as-hot-as-possible wash cycle. Preferably with nothing in the drum; Use a cup of white wine vinegar, or Sodium Carbonate crystals (aka Soda crystals).
However if the garment is badly stained (oil deposit from grass/suntan oil/sweat) then a detergent wash works better; you need to follow this up with a pure soap wash.