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How to Clean Your Raincoat

Having a fresh, clean raincoat to help protect against the elements is a must for spring. It’s inevitable that you’ll need to clean your raincoat from time to time, whether it’s a simple spot job or a complete cleaning, so use these tips to get the job done right! Even the best raincoats need cleaning. You’ll stay dry and stylish all spring long with your sparkling gear.

How Often to Wash Your Rain Gear

The amount of time you can go between washing your rain jacket and other rain gear can vary. If you wear it occasionally to and from the office, for school, or for light use like when running errands with clothing like your cardigans, you may only need to wash it every month or every other month. If you wear it more frequently, you may need to wash it every few weeks or every month. Wearing a rain jacket often, or wearing it during activities such as hiking, jogging, biking, yard work, lifting, or other physical exercise or heavy use may necessitate washing it as often as every week. You can also let your senses help guide you – if it looks clean and smells fresh, you’re good to go, but if you notice any dirt, stains, debris (that can’t be easily brushed off), or odor, it might be time for a wash.

Always Read Your Raincoat Care Label

While general guides can be very helpful, it’s always important to read the specific care instructions for your item. Rain jackets are not all made of the same materials, so knowing exactly what’s right for your coat can prevent accidental damage when cleaning it. A heavyweight jacket might have very different instructions than packable jackets, for example. You’ll also want to check the care label even if you have purchased the same style or brand. Sometimes new materials or construction methods are introduced that may impact the care your jacket needs.

Don’t Wait Until a Heavy Cleaning Is Needed

In order to keep your raincoat looking its best, keep an eye out for small stains, dirt, or debris that needs to be cleaned off regularly. Cleaning small areas when a mishap occurs will help prevent stains from setting in and will make your coat easier to clean over time. Cleaning spots immediately will also help ensure that you don’t forget where the offending spot occurred.

Set Aside a Good Time to Wash Your Raincoat

In most cases, you’ll need to allow for plenty of time to let your raincoat dry after you’ve washed it, so set aside some time when you know you won’t need it. Opt for a long weekend or after work when you know the weather is forecast to be clear for a few days. Then just throw on your favorite women’s shorts and get ready to go. (Having a backup rain jacket or another water-resistant spring jacket may come in handy when you need to clean your raincoat, too!)

Prep Your Supplies

Next, make sure you have the necessary materials on hand for cleaning your raincoat. Depending on the type of raincoat you have, the following might come in handy:

  • Soft-bristled brush or sponge for removing dirt or debris
  • Spot cleaner or a solution of white vinegar and water for cleaning stains and soiled areas
  • Gentle eco-friendly laundry detergent (an eco-friendly detergent is a great option)
  • Warm or cool water, depending on the jacket care instructions
  • Clothes hanger or drying rack to dry it

Begin Cleaning

To begin, get rid of any loose debris by lightly shaking or brushing off your jacket. You may want to tackle this step outside or in a mudroom. Next, look for any stains or dirty areas that need special care. Spray or dab a gentle spot cleaner or vinegar and water solution on the areas and allow it to sit for up to several minutes for stubborn stains. Use a soft brush, sponge, or cloth to clean the area, and repeat as needed until spots and soiled areas are cleaned. Take special care to look for any dirt on small areas like pocket linings, zippers, and buttons. Next, you’ll need to clean the coat fully.

Machine Washing a Raincoat

If the care instructions say your raincoat can be washed in the washing machine, you’ll be able to wash your jacket with ease. This will usually call for washing it on a gentle cycle with a low spin cycle with cold, cool, or warm water. If you are able to wash your jacket in the washing machine, you may want to consider washing it alone. This will allow for plenty of room for it to get clean and ensure the weight is not unevenly distributed. Make sure to close all the zippers, hook and loop fasteners, or other closures to prevent snags. Also, make sure to check pockets prior to washing. A second rinse cycle can help make sure all soap residue is rinsed away after cleaning.

Hand Washing Your Rain Jacket

Hand washing is another option to consider for cleaning your waterproof coat. Use a large basin or washtub and fill it with the correct water temperature for your item. Place a small amount of detergent into the water and swish the water around gently to disperse the detergent. Submerge the rain jacket, gently massaging the material where dirt or odor is most likely to have occurred. If you have any stubborn areas, allow the jacket to soak in the water and detergent for up to 30 minutes, then recheck the stains or spoiled spots. Spot clean or re-soak as needed to remove stains. Some stains, such as oil or grease, may require a specific cleaner to remove completely. Rinse the jacket in a basin of clear water, making sure suds are completely gone.

Dry It and Get Ready for a Brand-New Day

Hang your raincoat to dry in an area that has plenty of ventilation. You can simply hang it dry on a clothes hanger or position it on a drying rack. Allow plenty of time for it to dry completely. Once it’s dry, you’re on your way to a brand-new day of feeling fresh and protected from the elements!

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