Thursday, December 27, 2012

How to Wash and Care for Your Gear: Midlayers, Wool, Softshells, and Fleece

Caring for your midlayer technical jackets such as wool layers, merino wool layers, fleece, and softshells helps your gear last longer with improved function and appearance. I regularly monitor my equipment especially my pricey jackets and wool items so that I get the most from them. Here's some tips for washing and caring for your gear.

(NOTE-- Carefully read your clothing and gears labels and follow them carefully. If you have questions or are unsure of how to appropriately care for an item contact the manufacturer/retail store directly.)

For Midlayers (wool, merino wool, fleece, softshell)

Once again I regularly monitor my usage and wash when needed. How often should you wash your wool or softshell jackets? It's very dependent on how often you use the jacket or layer. We spend nearly every weekend hiking and tend to run or snowshoe several times a week. Due to this, we probably wash our gear more frequently than, say, someone who mainly uses their gear for walking the dog around town. So adjust to your needs and usage.

  • Wash on gentle cycle (less agitation is very important for wool) or skip some of agitation on the regular cycle
  • Wash with like colors and materials. Avoid washing midlayers with velcro or things with clips/snaps that could snag. Velcro and I have a love hate relationship. 
  • I always wash with cold water.
  • Use a mild detergent for things like wool or fleece-- I like ALL hypoallergenic (no perfume smell) or Seventh Generation (harder to find depending on where you live)
  • Use a wash like Nikwax TechWash for softshells or items with waterproofing. TechWash removes dirt and helps revitalize waterproofing.
  • I always hang dry these items. Read your labels. 
  • Dry wool flat so you don't get weird shapes or stretched out arms.
  • Have a weird stain on your wool clothing? Ibex has a great section for how to care for your wool here.
  • Have a weird smell on your wool clothing? Ibex has a great section for how to get out the odor here. I've tried the baking soda method (not with borax though, just baking soda) and it works like a freakin charm. Once again check your labels and always check with the maker of the product if in doubt.
Also in this series:

How to Wash and Care for Your Gear: Base Layers
How to Wash and Care for Your Gear: Outer Layers

Disclaimer: Product Reviews and How to's are based on opinion only and are not intended to condone, encourage, or promote a product. Some products are sent to me by the manufacturer or affiliates and are mine to keep. I mention this specifically on products sent to me. Compensation and/or product and/or services never interfere with the review of the product. Otherwise, products and services are purchased by me for personal use. I have purchased way too many bottles of Techwash and TX.Direct Spray On than I care to recall. I was sent BaseFresh recently to try.

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