How to Wash and Store Winter Jackets

By Published On: March 8th, 20210 Comments

Whether you like it or not, when winter arrives, you need a winter jacket! For some of us, we excitedly pull out our casual and snowboarding or skiing jackets, and even get a tune-up for equipment, ready for the season. For others, pulling out winter jackets is a dreaded task. Whichever group you fit into, inevitably it will be time to pack them away once again for warmer seasons.

When it comes time to pack away your parkas and coats, it is important to do so correctly. These articles of clothing do not come cheap and the hope is that they last for years! Properly learning how to wash a jacket and how to store it in warmer months will extend its potential use by many seasons.

There is a right and wrong way to wash and store a jacket, these tips and guidelines will help you make sure you know how to take the proper care and are ready to go when winter arrives again!

Know What You Want to Keep (And What You Don’t Need)

Before you go through the work of washing and packing away your winter jacket or outerwear, make sure they are pieces you like and that still fit. If you did not wear it all season, perhaps it is time to donate this piece! If you are washing or packing away for jackets for little ones, consider whether your child will fit into this piece in a few months or next season. If they might, it is worth keeping, if it was already pushing it, it is time to donate!

How to Wash a Winter Jacket: Consider Materials

To understand how to wash a jacket, you first need to know what it is made of and what materials and treatments were used in the construction of the coat. Check the tags or check with the manufacturer, if the tags do not provide washing instructions, just understanding the material is a good place to start.

No matter the style of a jacket, if you choose to wash it at home, one good rule to follow is to wash it completely by itself. Even if they are the same type of coat, washing them separately reduced the likelihood of any pieces getting stuck or tearing during the wash. Do not throw in other laundry with your outerwear. Identify any stains on your jacket and treat them before they go in the wash. Also, check the pockets.

To start, for a standard jacket that states it is machine-washable, make sure to close all zippers, attach Velcro’s, and clasp buttons, leaving zippered pockets open – if they will not catch. Doing this will decrease the likelihood of catching and ruining components during the washing process. Generally, wash on warm with the proper detergent, waterproof specific if necessary. If you have a tag for instructions, follow these for drying, if you do not have drying instructions, dry the jacket on a hanger or in the dryer on a gentle cycle or a low heat setting.

Typically, down jackets, puffer styles, and varying materials, can be washed in a washing machine! Of course, make sure you check the tag for how to wash instructions, however, most of them can be washed on a gentle cycle with regular laundry detergent. For down and puffer style jackets, you can put them in the dryer on a low heat cycle or delicate. If you have dryer balls, put them in with your down items to help fluff it back up and redistribute the down.

For waterproof or treated technical jackets, how to wash them is best determined by the tag, brand, or manufacturer. However, if you are at a loss for instructions, here are some general how-to guidelines. You can use the warm setting and a normal cycle on your machine, what matters most when washing waterproof outerwear that has been treated is maintaining the integrity of the waterproofing as much as possible during the wash. We recommend using a laundry detergent that is specifically designed to be used on waterproof materials, using a regular detergent can diminish the waterproofing dramatically. Once your coat is clean, put it in the dryer on medium heat. If you have washed your waterproof coat several times, consider retreating it with a spray DWR – Durable Water Repellant – as needed. Learn about caring for Gore-Tex and other waterproofing tips.

Winter jackets that are constructed from wool or a wool blend, we recommend taking to your local dry cleaner for a professional cleaning. By having this type of coat professionally cleaned, you reduce the likelihood of heavy shrinkage or degradation in the quality of the fabric. However, if you would prefer to wash your jacket at home, there are tutorials online on how to hand wash it in your tub or you can wash it on a delicate cycle, making sure that your detergent can be used on wool products, then lay it flat to dry.

How to Store Jackets

Depending on the style, material, and construction of a winter jacket, you will want to store it respectively, after you have learned how to wash it. Avoiding dirt and moisture buildup is important, so avoid damp spaces, garages without temperature control, sheds, etc. Instead, choose a closet or basement storage if there is not a humidity issue. Make sure all garments and gear are completely dry before being stored.

Synthetic, waterproof, snowboarding, and skiing jackets can be hung up or folded for the warm season. In general, folding your collection of winter gear and storing it in clear plastic bins will be the best protection and organization.

For down coats and other puffer styles, if possible, hang them when they are not being worn. This will help retain the shape and maintain the quality of the fill.

When storing a wool coat, it is best to brush it out before you store it for the season to clear unwanted elements from building up and potentially ruining your jacket. Store it in a place where there is little to no chance of having moths and hang it on a sturdy or wooden hanger. Consider a garment bag to prevent moths from getting to it.

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