How to Clean Rain Gear

It is important to clean your rain gear on a regular basis.

Keep rain gear clean to ensure its longevity.Keep rain gear clean to ensure its longevity.
The normal wearing of rain gear allows dirt and grime to work its way into the fabric. This causes the rain gear to lose its water-repellency or waterproofness. The durable water repellent (DWR) coating that is applied to most rain gear is actually reactivated after a proper washing and drying. Knowing how to clean rain gear is important to ensure its longevity.

Rinse rain gear with clean warm water after each use. This prevents dirt buildup and keeps the DWR activated.

Close any open zippers or snaps on the rain gear, including pockets, before a thorough washing to prevent accidental abrasions.

Use a mild laundry detergent, or a non-detergent such as Nikwax Techwash, and machine-wash the rain gear in warm water. Rinse the rain gear twice to fully remove any detergent residue.

Dry waterproof rain gear on a low setting. You can steam iron it on warm as well. Both processes will reactivate the DWR coating.

Things You Will Need

  • Mild laundry detergent
  • Nikwax Techwash (optional)


  • After much use, the DWR will begin to wear off. You can find DWR-reviving solutions at outdoor stores. These are sprays used on the outside of the coat or added to the wash.


  • Do not use dry-cleaning solutions, bleach or fabric softener on rain gear.