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Outdoor clothing – how to wash these practical materials properly.

Autumn generally means the return of dirt to the home. It is raining outside and young and old alike come back with mud on their clothes. But how should outdoor clothing be washed to ensure that it remains functional? What is important to know about GORE-TEX, membranes and coatings?  We explain everything so that your textiles last a long time.

What kind of clothing is considered ‘outdoor’?

People like to wear outdoor clothing or functional clothing in the autumn so that they feel really comfortable when outside. There is the right outfit for every weather and everybody: children are now wearing a lot of hard- and soft-shell materials, such as rain trousers and jackets, while adults are increasingly wearing special impregnated materials with breathable membranes – when hiking or gardening, for example.

Here are the best tips for actually maintaining the function of functional clothing. Important: Always read the care label before washing functional clothing.

Hard-shell garments – your lightweight, waterproof companions

Rain jackets and trousers are generally made of so-called hard-shell materials. They are not only waterproof nowadays, but also particularly lightweight and they can and should be breathable. The most important thing of all, of course, is to ensure that such functions are preserved. When washing these garments, you should not use any fabric conditioner, detergents containing bleach, or bleaching agents! These products may block the pores or damage the membrane. You should generally add liquid detergent to the wash rather than powder or tabs. Otherwise, the following rules generally apply (assuming the label doesn’t recommend a different method): wash the garments twice at 30° or 40°C and rinse them well. Ideally only use a little liquid detergent, because this residue may also block the pores. Then dry the garments in the fresh air rather than the tumble dryer.

Children in the forestImgorthand/iStock

Soft-shell garments – robust and warm throughout the autumn

Either a special functional detergent or a normal liquid detergent (e.g. Persil Color) can be used for soft-shell materials. The following also applies here: do not use washing powder, fabric conditioner or bleaching agents! You can pretreat heavy soiling with the same detergent. To do this, simply rub in a little detergent with a soft sponge and leave it to work for a short while. Only then should you place it in the washing machine. Important: Close all zips and Velcro fastenings and turn the jacket inside out beforehand. Make sure the washing machine is no more than two thirds full so that the garment is rinsed well. Then wash it at 30°C on the ‘handwash’ or ‘wool’ programme. If the garment is heavily soiled, you can rinse it for a second time or select the appropriate stain removal programme.

GORE-TEX, Sympatex and Co. – high-tech materials

These special outdoor materials generally get their fair share of dirt and sweat when the autumn comes around and they are also subjected to very heavy wear. As such, they should be washed really well, but also really gently. Important: Before washing a GORE-TEX garment, close all zips, flaps and straps so that they do not damage the material. You should ideally use a functional detergent that has been specially designed for technical outdoor clothing and breathable membranes. Alternatively, you could also use a completely normal liquid detergent product (e.g. Persil Color). The manufacturers generally recommend using as little detergent as possible to wash the membrane and thoroughly rinsing it twice. A gentle cycle at 30° or 40°C is recommended here. A second rinsing cycle will ensure that any detergent residue has been rinsed out. Important: Always spin the laundry at a low speed and leave it to dry naturally in the fresh air instead of placing it in the tumble dryer.

However, if you would rather relax after spending time in the great outdoors, Persil Service will happily wash your outdoor clothing. You can find all the information at www.persil-service.de