How to Care for Your Snowboard and Ski Outerwear
Your snowboard and ski jacket and pants are the most important part in staying dry and warm on the mountain. It’s important to know when, and how, to wash your jacket and pants so you don’t end up offending everyone else on the mountain. When you notice other skiers and snowboarders starting to avoid standing near you in the lodge, it’s a good indicator that it’s time for a wash.
While washing your outerwear the wrong way can wear off the DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish - a fabric coating that allows water to bead up and roll off rather than soaking into your outer layer - on your snowboard jacket and snowboard pants, there are a few tricks you can use to make sure you do the least amount of damage possible. First things first, find the washing and care instructions on the inside of your snowboard jacket or pants. This is the best way to find out the specific guidelines you should follow to take the best care of your snowboard outerwear.
The following guidelines are general tips for caring for your snowboard or ski jacket and pants.
• Wash your clothing when it gets dirty. Dirt, oil, grease, sap, smoke, and another other type of dirt clogs the pores in the shell fabric. As the pores clog, the DWR stops doing its job. Washing your clothing the right way actually revitalizes the DWR by unclogging the pores and allowing water to bead and run-off rather than stick to dirt and grime.
• Use residue free laundry soap. Regular soaps will create a layer over the DWR. This layer of residue will block the DWR on the snowboard and ski jacket or pants and keep it from repelling wind and snow. This will allow water to stick to the fabric and eventually soak in over time. Residue free laundry soap cleans fabric without leaving a barrier over the DWR layer. Residue free fabric wash will also make the insulation in your jacket fluff back up, keeping you warmer on cold days.
• Wash your ski and snowboard jacket and pants by themselves on a gentle cycle in cold water. Make sure the clothing is rinsed thoroughly, adding a second rinse cycle if necessary. After the wash, tumble dry on low heat or line dry. If you line dry your jacket or pants, use a warm iron to gently heat up the fabric. The heat of the dryer or iron actually revitalizes the DWR on the clothing, helping you achieve waterproofing levels close to those of brand new clothing.
• If needed, reapply DWR. When do you reapply DWR to your snowboard jacket or pants? When you need to, of course. A good indicator is when you notice water isn’t beading up and rolling off of the jacket anymore. When water begins to soak into the jacket, give the jacket a wash and dry it completely. Then, test the jacket to see if the DWR finish has been restored by simply washing the item. If water is still not beading up and rolling off, you should then reapply DWR.
You can find residue free laundry detergents and DWR at most sporting goods retailers and online. Don’t be afraid to wash and care for your snowboard and ski outerwear using the guidelines above. By following those simple steps, you can be sure to not “stink up” any friendships you’ve made in the lodge or on the mountain.
Photo Credit: Sierrasnowboard.com Special Blend Circa