Winter and Dirty Gear
I love nature at any time of the year but what I hate, or at least dislike in the autumn and winter months is the dirt that seems to get everywhere when you are spending time out enjoying nature.
Dirty boots and trousers from walking, dirty bums from having a seat to enjoy the views, and even some dirty tops and jackets from scrambling over things or lifting the little ones up or over things. There is no getting away from getting your gear dirty.
Even if you manage to keep your gear clean or manage to sponge of the dirt with clean water what about other dirt that can accumulate. Yip, I’m talking about sweat and odors.
We do tend to wrap up a little more and this can mean more sweating when we are exerting ourselves in the colder weather and this can build upon our gear too.
Today we are washing our waterproof jackets and trousers so thought a little post may help others who have started enjoying the outdoors more this past year or are unsure of the best ways to wash these items of clothing.
You should never wash your waterproof outdoor clothing with normal detergent or fabric conditioner and this is because the chemicals in these products can often weaken the waterproofing technology and cause the fibres in the clothes to start breaking down and strips it of its waterproofing value.
Even when just spot cleaning an area of clothing you are best to use plain old hot water unless you have some specialized wash product you can use, such as Nikwax Tech Wash.
There are many products on the market for washing your outdoor gear, depending on the types of materials you are washing. The two main produces of these products being Nikwax & Grangers and both have a variety of products to keep all your gear clean and in tip-top condition.
Both companies produce products to wash everything from wool and cotton to Down and Gore-Tex and are used in much the same way.
No matter which products you choose for cleaning your gear just remember to always follow the instructions on the packaging for best results.
Today we are using NIKWAX for our clothing, although we are still currently using Grangers wax for our leather boots. We still have some Nikwax Techwash and TXDirect leftover from earlier in the year and are only washing our waterproof jackets and trousers today.
We like Nikwax as their products are water-based, they strive to lessen their carbon footprint, and are a very transparent company when it comes to what they use in their products and the impact they may have on the environment, they also fund a variety of conservation projects which we think is great. Not to say that Grangers aren’t as they also do great work and care about the environment so whichever brand you choose, you know you are getting quality products.
But, as I have already said we are using Nikwax today. Hopefully, we will get a chance to use and review some Grangers products soon.
If you are planning to wash your items in the washing machine rather than by hand you should ALWAYS clean your machine first. This means removing the detergent drawer and thoroughly washing it in hot soapy water and rinse it under the tap. Make sure you get all the detergent and fabric softener off. I often use a bottle brush to get into all those little nooks and crannies.
If you want to be super sure your machine is clean run it on an empty cycle too. I normally do this once I’ve cleaned the drawer, and inside the drawer compartment, as it can get pretty clogged too with detergent and softener.
Now you are ready to wash your clothes, simply follow the instruction on whatever product you have chosen for the job.
Remember to check all pockets and don’t forget any inside pockets or little storage compartments inside the jackets.
It is also worth checking all labels on your clothing items you are going to wash too. Just to ensure you are not going to ruin anything by washing it at too high a temperature or too heavy a spin cycle.
Often you can only put a few items in at a time, so if you have lots to do I would recommend doing everything with a cleaning wash first then move onto doing it all again with a waterproofing agent.
This is unless you are using Grangers 2in1 Wash and Repel, which does the cleaning and waterproofing in one load. We haven’t tried this yet but are going to give it a go soon hopefully.
When drying your washed gear it is important that you follow the instructions on your clothing labels.
To be on the safe side I always find it best to air dry all my freshly washed items. When I can I like to hang them out on the line, but as it is winter the days to do this are few and far between. Because of this, I tend to put off washing my gear coming into spring and will often wear them a few weeks past them seriously needing to be washed. So, when I can’t get them outside I simply let them drip dry in the house overnight.
To do this I simply put down a large bath sheet, make sure you use a room that is not carpeted. Rooms such as kitchens or bathrooms are ideal or any room where you have hard flooring will also do. I then put up the clothes airer and simply hang the items over them until they dry.
Normally overnight is plenty of time for items to dry in a well-heated house. I like to wait until night-time to hang them up as they won’t get in anyone’s way and there are fewer smells around such as from cooking.
Now we have finished our gear is looking and smelling great and all ready for our next adventure.
Keep It Clean
We hope this has helped you see just how easy it is to keep your outdoor gear in tip-top condition and looking and smelling great.
Knowing your gear is protected and going to protect you whilst out on adventures allows you to concentrate on doing what love while outside and enjoying yourself.