Clothing Care

climberLook after your clothing and it will look after you!

Always refer to the manufacturers garment cleaning guidelines and the cleaning product guidelines. Always clean your washing machine of normal household detergents before using specialist outdoor detergents.



Down Products

down washWashing down products yourself is a difficult and long winded job. There is a risk of damaging baffles and the down in the process. Professional cleaning is a far better option resulting in a better clean and less chance of damaging your garment or sleeping bag.

We recommend:

Elite Cleaning Services (Rotherham), 01709 833189

Chevin View Laundry (Otley), 01943 461306

VERY IMPORTANT - Do not, under any circumstances, dry clean your down sleeping bag or jacket. The chemicals used will linger and, in the confines of a tent or bivi, can be extremely dangerous.

If you want to do your own washing then set aside the best part of a day and follow the instructions below:

  • Hand wash the item in warm water (30-40°C) with a specialist Down Wash from Nikwax or Grangers (do not use normal washing detergent).
  • Gently hand rinse until there is no Down Wash left in the item.  This can take some time.

VERY IMPORTANT - When transferring the down item from the sink to the washing machine it is very liable to damage.  A saturated down sleeping bag is very heavy.  If you picked it up by the hood it is more than possible that all the baffles within the bag will tear as they are not made to withstand that kind of weight.  It is advisable to put a towel into the sink and lift out the bag using this.  By cradling the bag in this way you greatly reduce the likelihood that baffles will break. Remove as much water as possible gently by hand and then put the item in a washing machine.  Run the most delicate spin programme that the machine offers.

  • Tumble dry the item in a big commercial (the kind you'd find in a laundrette) drier on the coolest setting.  Small home tumble driers are often not big enough.  Make sure you turn the item inside out repeatedly during drying and 'fluff' it gently to ensure a more even drying effect.
  • The amount of time an item should be tumble dried for depends on the item size.  However tumble drying should continue for some time after the outer fabric has dried.  This is because the down inside will still be damp long after the outer fabric has dried.
  • Tumble drying can take anything from a couple of hours to almost all day. When finished the item should be stored in a cool dry place, uncompressed and allowed to air for 2-3 days before use.

TOP TIP - If your jacket is held together with gaffa tape, DO NOT put it in the washing machine unless you want to get feathers all over the next six hundred loads of washing you do. Although it will get you out of doing any washing in the future. 

Waterproof Breathable Fabrics

If you want to clean your jacket:

  • Read the label on your product or refer to the manufacturer's website.
  • Do not use detergents or softeners, these damage the jackets breathable membrane.
  • Use a specialist cleaner from Nikwax or Grangers.
  • Wash the product with the appropriate cleaning product paying close attention to the jacket and the cleaning product instructions.

nikwax tech washIf you want to clean and reactivate the DWR (Durable Water Repellent) outer to your jacket: Follow the same cleaning steps as above but instead of drip drying, tumble dry or iron on a very cool setting (always check on jacket care label for this).


In time all breathable waterproof jackets start to loose their ability to shed water.  This is not a sign of a faulty jacket.  The DWR outer which makes water bead up and roll off wears out and needs reactivating.  If the water does not run off the breathability of the jacket is compromised and it feels as if the jacket is leaking because your body moisture is not escaping ('wetting out').

nikwax 300txIf you want to totally re proof your jacket because cleaning and tumble drying are no longer reactivating the DWR: Follow the same cleaning steps as above but before putting in the tumble drier spray with Grangers XT proofer or alternatively wash again with Nikwax TX Direct and then tumble dry.


Soft shell fabrics

Niwax down washIf you want to clean and re invigorate the water repellence of your garment: Use the appropriate Nikwax or Grangers wash in cleaner in a machine wash and then tumble dry (this will help rejuvenate the DWR finish).  Don’t use standard household detergents.



Nikwax polar proofIf you want to increase the warmth of your fleece by maintaining the air gap between the knit and the weave and reduce the speed with which your fleece absorbs water: Clean with an appropriate cleaner (Nikwax Tech Wash) and then machine wash with the most suitable Grangers or Nikwax product.  Tumble dry on a low setting referring to the care setting.

Synthetic insulated clothing

Nikwax tech washRegularly cleaning your synthetically insulated jacket will slow the speed that the insulation absorbs water and increase the water repellence of the jackets outer. Wash with a specialist cleaning product (Nikwax Tech Wash) at 30°C.  Much technical artificial insulation (like Primaloft) has a silicon coating that reduces water absorption.  Detergents damage this silicon coating.

The Outside Cleaning, Waterproofing and Repair categories

Athlete: Cedar Wright Location: Trango Valley, Pakistan © Tim Kemple, The North Face


Visa, MasterCard and PayPal Accepted 5 Star Reviews from Trust Pilot

Outside.co.uk uses cookies and some may have already been set. Please click the button to agree and remove this message.

If you continue to use the site we'll assume you're happy to accept the cookies. Find out more .