Now that the ski season has ended, it’s time to wash your ski gear and put it away until next winter. Technical performance apparel like ski wear, requires proper laundering to keep it performing best. Knowing your fabric care label symbols is helpful. But also knowing a little bit about laundry products helps too. Sport specific fabrics should be treated with extra care in order to help maintain their integrity and functionality. Always follow the instructions on the fabric care label for each individual garment.
General care instructions
Make sure all your pockets are emptied of tissues and lip balm. Close the main zipper and pit zips. Open pocket zippers. Release tension on all elastic drawcords. Loosen and secure any velcro cuffs. If machine washing we recommend using a front load machine on the permanent press or gentle cycle with cold water (maximum water temperature 85°F/30°C) and double rinsing if you can. When possible use a cleaning product made specifically for technical fabrics such as Nikwax Tech Wash. If using a standard laundry detergent avoid those with fabric softeners, fragrance, whiteners or colorants.
Powder Detergent vs. Liquid Detergent
Why do many labels on high tech performance fabrics say to use powdered laundry detergent? It is because of the durable water repellent (DWR) coating on the fabric. A DWR increases surface tension and encourages water to bead up on fabric and roll off instead of soaking in. Laundry detergents use surfactants to lower the surface tension between the detergent and the fabric to clean better. Basically, surfactants are designed to do the opposite of a DWR. They facilitate water to be drawn into fabrics. Liquid detergents have more surfactants than powder detergents. So by using a liquid detergent you are causing more harm to the DWR coating than a powdered detergent does.
Laundry detergents are specifically formulated for use in recommended measurements based on the amount of water a washing machine uses. Don’t be tempted to add extra detergent to combat especially dirty ski pants. This can leave residue in your washing machine and on your clothing that will effect waterproof/breathability.
For oily stains, like grease from a lift tower, we recommend washing the stain by hand using a high quality liquid dish soap, like Dawn, as a degreaser prior to washing your clothing. This will help to break up the grease and allow it to be rinsed out when you wash your ski gear in the washer. Standard laundry pre-treatment sprays also work well to break up a stain and remove it.
Hang Dry vs. Tumble Dry
After you wash your ski gear you need to get it dry as quickly as possible. A tumble dryer is the quickest way, but it is very hard on fabrics. Especially delicate technical fabrics. Too high a heat can melt synthetic fibers. And metal and plastic zippers and snaps are just abrasive. Where does all that lint on the dryer screen come from? It’s the fabrics breaking down. For longer lasting performance of your ski wear, hang dry whenever possible. Or throw in the dryer on the lowest setting for the shortest amount of time necessary. If using a tumble dryer, whatever you do – don’t use fabric softener sheets. They add a coating that reduces static electricity but clogs the pores in the fabric and effects waterproof/breathability.
How to wash your Arctica ski gear
Here’s our recommendations on how to properly clean your Arctica apparel to insure many seasons of use.
Speed Suits: Alpine ski racing suits require special care to keep them looking their best. We recommend washing your ski race suit in a pillow case or lingerie bag and then storing it in our Speed Suit Storage Bag to protect it from abrasion from velcro, zippers and other apparel hardware it may come in contact with.
Once you have protected the fabric from abrasion, the actual washing instructions are easy – machine wash cold, do not bleach, tumble dry low. You can also lay flat to dry to further protect the Elastaine (spandex) fibers. Putting spandex in the dryer will accelerate the breakdown of the thread and lead to shrinking/stretching of the race suit. The less the Elastaine/Spandex fibers are heated and cooled, the longer they will last.
Pinnacle Down Jacket: Machine wash cold with like colors. Do not bleach. Iron low heat. Do not dry clean. Tumble Dry Low. If your jacket has some extra dirty spots – like the collar and the cuffs, do not add extra detergent to the machine. Any residual soap left in the jacket after washing will prevent the down from lofting. Use a spray on stain remover prior to washing, or stop the cycle mid-way to allow the garment to soak. Tumble drying this jacket helps to loft the down and ‘fluff it back up’. We suggest using clean tennis balls or dryer balls in the dryer with your down jackets to break up clumps and help loft the down. This will dramatically decrease drying time.
Arctica Ski Outerwear: The same care instructions apply for all our outerwear pants and jackets. This includes our Full Side Zip Pants 2.0, Animal Side Zip Pants, Speed Freak Jackets, Comp Jackets, Targa Jackets, GT Jackets and GT Pants. Machine wash cold with like colors. Do not bleach. Iron low heat. Do not dry clean. Do not tumble dry. We say ‘do not tumble dry’ on these items because of all of the metal and plastic zippers and snaps.
We think you will find, with proper care your Arctica ski wear will provide you several seasons of use.