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[Cleaning GORE-TEX] Difference between personal washing and professional cleaning

GORE-TEX is a revolutionary waterproof material that keeps the body dry even in harsh conditions. However, proper cleaning and maintenance are essential to prolong and maintain its excellent performance. In this article, we will introduce how to clean Gore-Tex and unpack what the differences are between personal and professional cleaning.

The difference between personal and professional cleaning is, in a word, quality.

In particular, the following are different

  • Stain removal
  • Water repellency
  • Checks and repairs
  • Other

We also receive comments such as "the tension has been restored as if it were new," "the color and gloss have become beautiful," and "odors that could not be removed have been removed. The details will be explained in the text.

To begin with, cleaning GORE-TEX is not something that only professionals can do, as each manufacturer tells us, and you can choose to do it yourself using the washing machine in your home.
Properly cleaning Gore-Tex will remove dirt, oil, and other contaminants that reduce its waterproofing properties and allow it to breathe, allowing the high-performance aspects of Gore-Tex to shine through.
On the other hand, some people are afraid of making mistakes by cleaning it themselves, and here are some common mistakes.

By cleaning and maintaining your Gore-Tex clothing and gear with the correct knowledge, you can keep it in good condition and use it carefully for a long time.


What is GORE-TEX in the first place?

GORE-TEX is a waterproof material that outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers have relied on for decades. This material has the ability to keep water out and moisture in while allowing moisture from the inside to escape.
This makes it not only comfortable in rain and snow, but also able to withstand strenuous activity and harsh weather conditions.

GORE-TEX is composed of a composite material containing a fine polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membrane. This membrane allows vapor molecules to pass through, while keeping water molecules from passing through. This mechanism allows moisture inside to escape while keeping out rain and other moisture.

To elaborate...

Gore-Tex is, roughly speaking, a waterproof fabric. To be more precise, a waterproof fabric is made by laminating a film-like material called GORE-TEX membrane with a nylon fabric or other material.

The GORE-TEX membrane consists of a composite material containing a film of fine polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). The size of the pores in the mesh is 1/20,000th of a water drop and 700 times the size of a water vapor molecule. This difference in size allows water vapor to pass through the membrane, while water cannot.

Due to this unique property, wearing clothing made of waterproof fabrics used to be uncomfortable due to moisture trapped inside, but when GORE-TEX fabrics are used, moisture inside the clothing is allowed to escape moderately, maintaining comfort.

In fact, Gore-Tex is not the only material that can keep water out but let moisture in; there are other materials with the same function.
The reason why GORE-TEX has become synonymous with high quality rain jacket and is used by many famous manufacturers is because of its excellent waterproofing performance, moisture permeability, and resistance to deterioration.


Cleaning and maintenance are necessary to maintain performance.

As mentioned above, GORE-TEX is a membrane laminated to a fabric.

The reason why GORE-TEX is laminated with fabric is to protect the membrane itself and to prevent discomfort when the membrane comes in direct contact with the skin.

The key point is that the GORE-TEX membrane is laminated with the fabric.

Laminated means that it is affected by the fabric it is laminated to. Simply laminating the fabric alone will result in a slight decrease in breathability compared to the unlaminated GORE-TEX membrane itself. Not only that, but the following specific disadvantages also occur.

Decrease in breathability due to dirt

As we said, lamination alone slightly reduces breathability, but dirt on the fabric, when not cleaned, also leads to a decrease in breathability. This is not only due to dirt on the outside of the garment.
Inside the garment, the accumulation of sebum stains can also inhibit moisture permeability.

Decreased water repellency leads to decreased moisture permeability

If the laminated fabric loses its water repellency and becomes waterlogged, the GORE-TEX membrane will block the holes in the fabric above it, reducing breathability. If the water repellency of the fabric is not maintained, the performance of GORE-TEX will not be utilized.

In addition to this, the reduced water repellency of the fabric also leads to increased cold due to the increased weight and heat transfer that occurs as a result of the water in the fabric. In other words, for clothing made of GORE-TEX fabric, care must be taken to ensure the condition of the fabric laminated to the GORE-TEX.

Thus, the performance of GORE-TEX is actually dependent on the fabrics laminated on top and bottom. 3.


step-by-step guide to cleaning GORE-TEX

Here is a step-by-step procedure for personally cleaning GORE-TEX clothing.

Step 1: Preparation before cleaning

First, make sure that the pockets of your GORE-TEX garment are empty. Then, close the zippers on all pockets to prevent water from unnecessarily collecting in the pockets and overloading the washing machine during laundering.

Then, put the garment in a net. Putting the garment in a net will prevent parts from being hit or damaged. If you do not have a net, turning the garment inside out will have the same effect.

Step 2: Washing

When washing GORE-TEX clothing in a washing machine, use a special detergent available from the outdoor manufacturer. There is nothing that cannot be washed with general detergent. And one wash does not necessarily make a difference. However, after several washes, there may be a problem with detergent residue, or the treatment may be affected when restoring water repellency. In this respect, detergents from outdoor manufacturers are suitable for washing Gore-Tex because they contain fewer mixtures and rinse well.

Basically, use a small amount of detergent. The detergent package will probably list the amount of detergent for the amount of water used, so be careful to calculate the amount of detergent to avoid excess detergent.

The first wash cycle should take 10 to 15 minutes, followed by three rinses to remove as much detergent residue as possible. Detergent residue can affect water repellency.

Finally, dehydrate for 1 minute or minimum time. Gore-Tex® garments are waterproof fabrics, so water cannot be drained out, which places a heavy load on the washing machine. Use the minimum dehydration time to allow only a rough drainage of water.

Step 3: Drying

After washing, your GORE-TEX garment will still be soaking wet because it has not been dehydrated enough.

The water will drip off the garment, so dry it in the shade with a bucket or something to catch it. Drying in direct sunlight for a short time is not a problem, but drying in the sun for a long time will affect the garment.

Once the garment is dry, we will put it in the dryer for another 20 minutes to restore its water-repellent performance. It is important to put the garment in the dryer after it is dry.

Step 4: Re-repellent treatment

There are cases where the water repellency is not restored after the dryer treatment described in Step 3. This is because the water repellency itself has peeled off. In this case, it is necessary to perform the water repellency treatment again.

Water repellency can be reprocessed by using waterproofing sprays or machine washable water repellents sold at outdoor specialty stores.

Waterproof sprays are the easiest to treat, but they can be dangerous if inhaled, so be sure to spray outdoors.

When using water repellent that can be put in the washing machine, do not put in too much. Many times, people think that putting in a lot will make it more effective, which leads to the mistakes we will discuss later.


typical mistakes when cleaning Gore-Tex

Printed logo peeling off

If the logo on your Gore-Tex garment is embroidered, you don't have to worry about it, but if it is a printed logo, it may peel off. Since the logo is glued to the garment, it will inevitably peel off over time. To prevent this, be sure to wash the garment in a laundry net or inside out.

Stains and stains cannot be removed

Detergents specially designed for GORE-TEX do not have high cleaning power, so stain removal will inevitably be poor. Pre-treatment, such as soaking the area of concern with detergent first, will make it easier to remove stains and dirt.

Water repellency has decreased

If the water repellency falls off, it may be due to an incorrect choice of detergent or insufficient rinsing. Prolonged immersion in water will also lead to a loss of water repellency. First, try implementing hanging the garment in a dryer for 20 minutes after the garment is thoroughly dried. If the water repellency is still poor, water repellency restoration treatment should be performed.

Water repellency cannot be restored

There are cases where water repellency cannot be restored as expected after performing the water repellency restoration treatment. To begin with, it is important to understand that the water repellency restoration treatment performed by individuals is not the same process as the water repellency treatment used in garment manufacturing, so it is not possible to achieve the same quality.

Even taking this into account, you may end up with inadequate water repellency. When treating water repellency, the treated surface must be clean, but it is necessary to consider not only how clean it looks, but also whether there are any elements left behind that could block the bonding of the coating, and this can be difficult for an individual to control. Please consult a professional with the expertise we will discuss later in this article.

Seam tapes have peeled off or fabric has peeled off

This is actually not so much a laundry problem as it is a problem before that. The laundering is the critical problem, but the main cause is storage.

Some people have left their products in poorly ventilated stuff bags for long periods of time without being cleaned, and such storage can cause deterioration of the adhesive surface.

The Gore-Tex membrane itself is a very chemically stable material, but the adhesive surface is not. The seams are covered with a waterproof tape called seam tape, and the Gore-Tex laminate is also bonded to the seams. Such adhesive surfaces deteriorate, causing peeling and delamination, which is basically caused by storage.

Water repellent stains have formed

I thought that adding a lot of water repellent would restore more water repellency. If the amount of water repellent added is greater than the amount indicated on the package, or if excessive amounts of water repellent are sprayed, water repellent stains may form. When this happens, it is difficult for individuals to deal with the problem. If such stains occur, please consult a professional cleaner as described later.


What is professional cleaning of GORE-TEX clothing?

Although GORE-TEX can be cleaned by an individual, leaving it to a professional can bring it to a level of quality that cannot be achieved by an individual. Professional cleaning means that there are certain qualifications for cleaning, but we have rarely seen companies that really specialize in cleaning outdoor clothing. In many cases, stores that handle general cleaning also wash Gore-Tex.

So in this article, we will present the case of our store, which really only handles outdoor wear. Therefore, the process is different in some respects from that of general dry cleaners, and not all stores will implement the same details. This is just a case study of our store.


Specialized outdoor cleaning: What is Droproof?

We originally developed a rental service specializing in outdoor activities. We also own a lot of Gore-Tex clothing, so we started out by asking ourselves how we could rent out our own Gore-Tex® clothing in better condition.

In particular, restoring water repellency was an important issue for garments that are rented out repeatedly. At first, we tried the same water repellents available in stores as we do for individuals.

But that didn't satisfy me. Fortunately, I have always been a science person who has loved research and development since I was a child, so I had a strong desire to do something about it, and I spent my days cutting up Gore-Tex clothing, treating it in various ways, and doing research and development on it. We had many GORE-TEX garments that had been rented repeatedly and lost their water repellency, so as a result, we developed the product while ruining more than 100 GORE-TEX garments.

The water repellent treatment developed in this way is a special process and differs from the water repellent treatment used by ordinary dry cleaners. This is also the reason why we specialize in outdoor clothing, as it is not possible to process ordinary clothing. Of course, it is different from water repellent treatment done by individuals, and as a result, it is able to produce high water repellent performance.


What is the difference between professional cleaning

The differences between professional cleaning and personal laundering are stain removal, water repellency recovery, and checking and repair. Each of these will be explained below.

Stain Removal

While detergents designed for Gore-Tex do not adversely affect Gore-Tex, they have less cleaning power. For this reason, we often hear the problem that the garment is not cleaned after washing or that the stain was not removed.

In our professional cleaning, we carefully perform pre-treatment. If water repellent treatment is applied without removing the stains, not only will the water repellent be difficult to ride on, but it may also coat the stains, so we carefully check for stains and pre-treat the areas where stains are identified.

Since there are multiple pre-treatment processes, like stain removal, we will determine the most effective pre-treatment for the stain.

Water repellency recovery

The recoverability of water repellency varies greatly between professionals and individuals. We are particularly conscious of the recoverability of water repellency, not only the water repellent performance immediately after the water repellent is removed, but also the sustainability of the water repellent.

Special treatment methods are required to treat water repellency in a way that it has staying power without being removed immediately. Water repellent treatment at home has been developed so that it can be done at home without using special equipment. While easy, it also means sacrificing performance. This process makes it different for individuals and professionals.

There is also an ingenious way to clean the fabric in order to create a water repellent treatment with lasting power. We do this by removing any water repellent treatment already on it and any components that interfere with water repellency. It is a unique feature of professionalism that water repellency is affected not only by the water repellent agent, but also from the point of cleaning.

Checking and Repair

Checking is another point where individuals and professionals differ. We carefully check for stains and damage, and send a check sheet to the customer as an email attachment when providing a quote. We also suggest repairs to any areas that we notice that need repairing. You may also request repairs as needed.

We also check the deterioration of the fabric and seam tape.

And I think it is our unique approach that we check for water repellency at the final finishing stage. We do not only check the water repellency to see if it is repellent or not, but also to see how long the water repellency will last, which is our original quality check.

After these checks, the GORE-TEX garments are cleaned.



You can wash GORE-TEX by yourself as described in this fabric. Even if you do it by yourself, if you are not confident about whether the water repellent treatment will be removed, whether the Gore-Tex will be damaged, or whether you will make a mistake, it is a good idea to leave it to a professional cleaner like us. In fact, if a stain is left on GORE-TEX due to lack of knowledge or misunderstanding, it is difficult for individuals to remove it. And quality is also limited by individual equipment and techniques. Even I, the writer of this article, honestly feel that satisfactory cleaning & maintenance of GORE-TEX at home is difficult even if you have the knowledge. That is also because I know the techniques and equipment of professionals.

I feel that my recommendation would be for you to do the daily care as laundry and send it to us professionals for cleaning as maintenance at the end of the season. We would be happy to help you use your GORE-TEX garments comfortably and in good condition for a long time.