How To Care For Your Gore-Tex Equipment

Earlier this week, Apple released its newest products and updates. Seemingly, these conferences and development updates happen at least once a month, and at some point, it's impossible to keep up. For most of us, it leaves us longing for the times when things were built to last, and taking care of your precious gear was the mark of money well spent. After all, the less often you have to repurchase something, the more money you have for new things.

U.S. Elite's brands such as Arc’teryx LEAF, Salomon FORCES, and SITKA Arrowhead Equipment are the epitome of products made to last. But, as with all things that last ages, it requires some upkeep from the user. 

Gore-Tex Technology

While we don't specifically think of fashion as a technology, there is a science to keeping materials and garments lasting longer than your smartphone. Here is how you can easily extend the life of one of favorite apparel technologies, Gore-Tex. 

Gore-Tex boasts its products are guaranteed to keep you dry. In London, where Bob Gore invented the Teflon material, rain can come at the most unexpected times. Once patented, it was adopted by top outdoor brands like Arc’teryx LEAF, Salomon FORCES, and SITKA Arrowhead Equipment to waterproof their jackets and shoes. Look for the GTX abbreviation on to determine which of our products comes with this must-have tech for wet weather.

The original Gore-Tex layering construction is made up of 5 layers; the most important being the outer shell and the comfortable soft inner liner. The outer shell allows water to bead up on the outside, and the inner liner allows moisture caused by warm skin to escape. But, without getting into TOO much into the science the main thing to understand is this - the outer layer gets treated with an ultra-thin Durable Water Repellent polymer. Unfortunately, over time, this polymer can erode. 

NikWax Durable Water Repellency

Here's where another one of our favorite technologies takes the stage, NikWax.

You may know that NikWax is our go-to for cleaning athletic materials -  but did you know it also can protect the Durable Water Repellency of your equipment?

Over time, garments can lose up to 70% of their breathability in wet conditions. So just like car wax protects the paint and body of your car to keep it looking fresh, Nikwax renews the Durable Water Repellency to your jackets.

If it's time for you to start considering waterproofing your old jacket or shoes, you will want to make sure they are clean first. This isn't your mother speaking - it's science. Dirt is a magnet for water. So your well-worn apparel might cancel out the fantastic benefits of Nikwax. So, make sure you pick up the proper cleaning materials for your gear before applying the DWR.

7 Steps To Clean Your Gore-Tex Jacket:

Now that you know how your gear technology works, here is a quick step-by-step process of how to machine wash it and restore the DWR. 

  1. Close all the zippers, snaps, and Velcro closures to protect against damage to your garment. Do not turn the jacket or pants inside out. 
  2. Put your clothes into the washing machine leaving a bit of space if you have multiple items.
  3. Use a normal amount of regular liquid detergent or NikWax liquid detergent. Do not use powder detergent or add fabric softener.
  4. Select a delicate wash cycle at a low-temperature setting and a slow spin cycle.
  5. When the first cycle has finished, run the rinse and spin cycles again to make sure all the soap has been rinsed away.
  6. Place in the dryer with a delicate setting and low temperature for 40-50 minutes. If you decide to hang dry your garment, place a towel over the top and run an iron over it using a synthetic setting. 
  7. If you did not use a NikWax detergent, you can use a NikWax Spray over the freshly dried jacket.

5 Steps To Clean Your Gore-Tex Boots:

If you notice that your Gore-Tex boots have begun to retain water, it may be time to reapply DWR to your boots as well. Here’s how you do it.

  1. Remove all of the laces and insole. Then shake or brush off any loose dirt.
  2. Fill a sink or large container with warm water and a small amount of detergent.
  3. Partially submerge the outer part of the shoe into the water to clean the outside or fully submerge to clean the entire shoe. Use your fingers or a brush to clean any dirt.
  4. Dry the outside with a towel then place the boots upside down to dry completely.
  5. Once drying is complete, reapply the NikWax DWR spray to the outside of the boot according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Each boot will vary slightly.

There you have it! It's not rocket science to take care of your equipment - just two solutions and a bit of time for maintenance. Your gear will last you ages. Just like the good ol' days.


To learn more about how to take care of your Gore-Tex products, check out this video interview with Gore-Tex Marketing Director, Collin Friedman.

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