7 Tips for Cleaning Your Raincoat
So far, it feels like the summer of 2023 has had more than the usual amount of raincoat weather in Toronto. Like everything else you wear, raincoats will reward you with smarter looks and longer life if you take care of them properly. Except, because they need to repel water and keep you dry, they’re made of fabrics that most people don’t know how to clean.
So, to keep you looking great when the weather isn’t, we’ve put together the following tips to clean your raincoat.
How to Take Care of Your Raincoat
Before we get into the tips, raincoats generally fall into two categories, based on the materials used in their construction. Plastic, vinyl and rubber coats are standard raincoats. They are non-breathable and usually only used in wet weather. Coats made with a natural or synthetic fabric, like a trench coat, are breathable and usually have a water-repellent finish. In addition to keeping you dry in the rain, fabric coats can often be used for warmth on cooler days, and even as a top-layer overcoat in winter.
1. Read the Care Label
This is true for all your clothing, but it’s especially important for your raincoat. Considering the variety of materials used to make raincoats, there will be different instructions for different coats.
2. Clean Your Raincoat Regularly
Again, like any garment, the more time there is between cleanings, the more difficult it is to clean raincoats. Your raincoat will get more or less use each year, depending on how much rain we get. But, instead of trying to guess whether you should clean your coat based on usage, plan to clean your coat at least once a year. If you use it more often than usual, or you use your coat during strenuous activities, like working outside or hiking, then you should clean it more often.
3. Always Spot Clean
Regardless of how often you clean your raincoat, you should always be on the lookout for stains and marks. The sooner you clean them, the better. For both non-breathable (plastic, vinyl, rubber) coats and breathable fabric coats, you can use a mixture of mild detergent and water to spot clean. Dip a soft cloth in the cleaning mixture and gently dab the stained area. Avoiding excessive scrubbing, as it may damage the fabric and/or spread the stain.
4. Wash According to Label Instructions
If the raincoat is labelled as washable, clean it in the washer or by handwashing in a large sink or bathtub, according to the instructions. Follow the recommendations for water temperature and detergents for both types of cleaning.
5. Pretreat Stains
For non-breathable materials, it will help to remove any visible mud or soil with a mild cleaning solution and clean cloth before washing. For breathable fabrics, pretreat stains, especially around the inside of the collar and cuffs, with a dab of an enzyme-based stain remover or mild laundry detergent.
6. Dry the Coat
First, you should never dry a plastic, vinyl or rubber coat in an automatic dryer. They should be hung to dry on a sturdy coat hanger in a well-ventilated place. You can use the dryer on low or medium heat for breathable fabrics, according to the label instructions. Still, the less time they spend in the dryer, the better. You can add clean, dry towels to the dryer with the coat to help absorb moisture and minimize the time the coat spends in the dryer.
7. Consider a Professional Raincoat Cleaning Service
Even when you follow label instructions carefully, there’s always a risk of damaging your raincoat during cleaning. Plastic, rubber and vinyl coats can deform in high heat. The water-repellent finish on breathable fabrics can be damaged by stronger cleaning agents and cleaning processes. And items like buttons, zippers, drawstrings and liners can also suffer from incorrect cleaning. The professionals at Parkers will hand-clean your raincoat with the utmost care and attention and return it to you in like-new condition.
If you found this post helpful, check out our recent article Baseball Cap Cleaning – Before & After.
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