Cleaning Gore Tex and other high tech ski clothes
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Denis - DCSki Supporter
October 25, 2008
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,221 posts
Well, today my wife did the annual ritual of putting away her summer clothes and getting out her winter clothes and putting the coats in the front hall closet. This is always trouble and today was no exception. She declared a couple of my ski jackets unfit to keep company with her winter clothes. She says they have body odor. I can't smell anything and I did the traditional male pit sniff test. This is of course no defense. She may be right. I wear them a lot. I sweat in them a lot. In the interest of domestic tranquility they will have to be washed.

The question: Why do the labels on gore tex and high tech clothes always say to use powdered detergent only? What happens if you use say, liquid Woolite, which is pretty mild? There are also high tech cleaners made for these things and they are also liquid. Can anybody enlighten me?

Thanks,

Denis
comprex
October 25, 2008
Member since 04/11/2003 🔗
1,326 posts
Originally Posted By: Denis

The question: Why do the labels on gore tex and high tech clothes always say to use powdered detergent only? What happens if you use say, liquid Woolite, which is pretty mild? There are also high tech cleaners made for these things and they are also liquid. Can anybody enlighten me?


As I understand it, the problem is with the durable water-repellent coatings on the surface cloth. They are, of course, designed to make water bead up.

General-use detergents all have a cleaning agent but most also have surfactant agents, designed to make water -not- bead up but soak up against fibers better. Anti-car-wax, if you will.

Well, if you use them in washing a DWR coating, you get a double whammy: the DWR is more likely to be attacked by the detergent during the wash, and there is some likelihood that the surfactant will remain on the fabric after the rinse.

Most of these surfactant agents are liquid or mushy or waxy at room temps so liquid general use detergent can have more of them per laundry dose than powdered detergent can (or it would cake up).

Liquid special purpose detergent can be formulated without the surfactant agents. Of course, this makes special purpose detergent nowhere nearly as good for washing general laundry.


Edit: as a temporary stench fixer, try a spray carpet cleaner on the inside of the garment.




SCWVA
October 25, 2008
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
I had the same question about my Marmot jacket a few years back and found this link.

Cleaning GoreTex - Northface

It also talks about renewing the DWR finish on your jacket (or pants). DWR is what causes the water to bead on your jacket in lieu of being absorbed by the fabric.
crunchy
October 27, 2008
Member since 02/22/2007 🔗
596 posts
hey Denis.. hit up REI or other outdoor gear place for some of that high tech wash stuff. They all should have it on the shelves of various brands, but the stuff works like a champ. Nikko wash is one brand, and REI had some other stuff ive used that works great. Its like a new jacket in a bottle smile
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
October 27, 2008
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
NikWax has special detergents for GoreTex, Dermizak, etc. They have specific cleansers for each type of material. REI sells them all. Check them at http://www.rei.com/gear/feature/search/Google/nikwax?cm_mmc=ps_google-_-Category%20-%20Footwear-_-Footwear_Footbeds_Insoles_Accessories_Brand_Nikwax-_-nikwax&gclid=COv12df0yJYCFRgqHgodAzqByw

I am as obsessed with ski suit cleanliness as they come. My stuff gets washed every year. And I have about 12 ski suits. I also wash the fleece in the special Nikwax for fleece. And they come out better than new, with the brand-new shine they used to have.

DO NOT use household laundry detergent. PLEASE. As Comprex said, you will dilute the waterproofing and the next time you use them they'll absorb the water. And if GoreTex, they will stop breathing as the detergent film will clog the pores.

NikWax makes both the detergent which you will wash the garments in, and then you will rinse them with the special GoreTex or fleece restorer. Believe me they're better than new.
Denis - DCSki Supporter
October 27, 2008
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,221 posts
Thanks everyone. I had a bottle of nikwax on the shelf and used it. The question was curiosity driven.
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