The North Face rain jackets are fan favorites for everything from hiking to everyday wear. When it starts looking dirty, it might be time to find out how to wash a North Face rain jacket.
Their rain jackets are exceptionally durable and easy to care for. In general, a simple rinse cycle in warm water can help maintain a North Face rain jacket.
Plenty of North Face wearers are surprised to discover that a rain jacket needs washing to maintain its waterproofing. While that may sound counterproductive, washing a rain jacket is essential to keeping the DWR (durable water repellent) layer in good shape.
Why Do You Need To Wash Rain Jackets?
It’s a common misconception that rain jackets do not require washing because they are waterproof. That is false. Rain jackets repel water thanks to a Durable Water Repellent layer, commonly referred to as a DWR.
DWR layers use a breathable membrane to prevent the collection of moisture on the coat. When these membranes clog, they allow water to seep into the coat. Regularly washing raincoats helps keep the DWR layer clean and functioning correctly.
How Often To Wash A North Face Rain Jacket?
The North Face recommends washing their GORE-TEX rain jackets as often as necessary based on their exposure to dirt, grime, and pollutants. For example, rain jackets need cleaning after a night around the campfire or walking around the city after a week or two.
In short, rain jackets need washing at least once a month for the average wearer. Some waterproof jackets require more frequent washing, but that’s not something to worry about with this North Face jacket.
North Face Rain Jacket Washing Instructions
Washing a North Face rain jacket is not difficult, but it does require the correct steps to prevent damage to the coat.
Follow these instructions to successfully and safely wash a North Face rain jacket and keep your waterproof gear long-lasting!
First, read all the washing instructions listed on the jacket. Next, close all velcro closures to prevent damage to the velcro during washing.
Empty all pockets and leave all zippered pockets unzipped. Most North Face jackets come with plenty of storage and pockets so make sure you unzip each one!
Place the jacket in the washing machine. Do not overload the machine, only load a machine to half-capacity when washing GORE-TEX or waterproof clothing.
Set the washing machine to the warm water setting. The next step is to simply set the washing machine to a gentle cycle like hand wash or light.
Using a gentle cycle with a bit of detergent is the safest way to reduce the chance of creases from developing in the jacket.
Fabric softener should be avoided when cleaning and washing your raincoat.
Pour a small amount of liquid washing detergent, preferably a detergent designed for rain jackets, into the washing machine.
Run the washing machine.
For heavily soiled rain jackets, repeat the wash cycle and the above steps again.
For best results, tumble dry the jacket on low in the dryer. Alternatively, hang dry the coat and lightly iron it once dried. If you do decide to hang on a clothesline, I recommended wiping down the outside of the jacket first for a quicker drying time.
Washing A North Face Rain Jacket FAQs
Any piece of technical clothing comes with special care instructions and tips for proper and long-lasting care. Some common questions regarding washing a North Face rain jacket include:
Does A North Face Rain Jacket Need Washing Alone?
No. North Face rain jackets do not need washing alone for adequate cleaning. You can wash the rain jacket on its own, but it is not necessary.
Multiple pieces of technical clothing can go through the washer together. Just make sure that their care instructions do not differ. For example, a down coat may require a different wash temperature than a raincoat.
However, it’s essential never to wash your technical gear, including rain jackets, with regular articles of clothing. Everyday clothing comes soiled with cooking oils, detergents, ink, and other pollutants that can damage a rain jacket’s DWR.
Can You Clean North Face Rain Jackets With Powder Detergent?
The North Face recommends not washing rain jackets with powder detergent. Instead, liquid detergent or raincoat-specific detergent like Nikwax works best for rain jackets.
Why Only Half-Load The Washer To Clean A Rain Jacket?
Rain jackets need rinsing well for the WDR to function correctly. Unfortunately, overloaded washing machines cannot rinse rain jackets well. If a rain jacket does go through on a too-full load, running it through the washer a second time can help clean it properly.
Can You Use Stain Removers or Bleach on Rain Jackets?
No, stain removers, bleach, and fabric softeners do not work on rain jackets. Using any softeners or stain removers can damage the DWR layer of the coat, making it useless against water. In some cases, the damage is irreversible. Read my full guide on how to get stains out of your North Face jacket here.
Why Do Rain Jackets Need Tumble Dried or Ironed?
Drying or hang-drying and ironing a rain jacket helps reactivate the DWR layer of the coat. Without properly drying the coat, the waterproof layer won’t work well.
Can You Replace The DWR On A North Face Rain Jacket?
Yes, in many cases, you can add a fresh layer of DWR to a North Face rain jacket.
The most readily available re-waterproofing product comes from Nikwax in spray or detergent form. Simply apply the product to the coat (usually before washing or as part of the wash cycle) to re-waterproof the jacket.
Final Notes On Washing North Face Rain Jackets
Washing North Face rain jackets at least once a month will help keep the jacket functioning well for years to come. And, always remember to keep technical clothing separate from everyday articles, and never apply bleach or softeners to the jacket.