How to maintain your technical clothing and make it last

Outdoor clothing can be expensive because it is often made of technical materials designed to withstand the elements and keep you comfortable even in the most extreme situations and environments. However, mistakes made when washing, drying or storing these pieces that you care so much about unfortunately reduces their effectiveness. Therefore, we explain how to maintain each type of fabric so that its properties are effective for as long as possible.

Merino wool

Unlike regular wool, Merino wool is delicate and soft to the touch. It is a coveted material for outdoor enthusiasts since it allows sweat to evaporate, keeping you dry and warm. Naturally antimicrobial, it does not retain odours and therefore does not need to be washed after each wear. In fact, the less often you wash your Merino wool socks, sweaters and underwear, the better they will be! When you decide to wash them, a regular cold water cycle is enough, followed by machine drying at a low temperature or air drying. Clothing made of Alpaca wool or any other wool that is rougher and heavier than Merino wool must be washed by hand with mild soap and dried flat, horizontally, to avoid stretching the wool fibers.

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Synchilla and other kinds of fleece

Fleece, made of recycled polyester, is warm and comfortable, but has the unfortunate disadvantage of losing several milligrams of microfibres in the wash, which end up in rivers and in the food chain. The solution? Again, wash only when necessary, by hand in cold water, and treat the fabric gently. For optimal drying, spread the sweater on an absorbent towel for a few hours, then hang it on a hanger to air dry.

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Natural or synthetic down jackets

Did you know that the insulating properties of both natural and synthetic down are compromised by dirt? If you want to stay warm, you must wash your down jacket properly. For natural down, a mild detergent designed for outdoor clothing is a must. Regular detergent will do the job for synthetic down jackets. Wash both natural and synthetic down jackets in cold water in a front-loading machine or by hand and then machine dry at a very low temperature with two or three clean tennis balls to plump up the jacket. Before storing your jacket, we recommend waiting two or three days after washing and storing it on a shelf rather than a hanger to avoid damaging the down around the shoulders.

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Gore-Tex and other waterproof fabrics

Waterproof coats are very much appreciated when it rains, but their waterproofing properties can become less effective over time. A coat’s properties can also be diminished by dirt, but you might have to go further than washing so that raindrops will slide off the fabric surface again. Has this happened with your coat? It’s probably time to treat it. The next time you pop it in the washing machine, add a little waterproofing cleaner. You can buy this in outdoor equipment stores. Alternatively, pop the coat in the dryer at a medium temperature. This may reactivate the water-repellent finish that is present in the fabric.

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Cotton

Cotton usually takes a long time to dry and is not a breathable fabric so it is not popular when it comes to sportswear. However, many brands still favour cotton for their t-shirts and training tank tops because it is durable and soft. If you also appreciate these qualities, machine wash your items and air dry them to prevent them from shrinking.

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Nylon and elastane

Unlike natural fibers, synthetic materials like nylon and elastane tend to retain odours and therefore require frequent washing. What rule should I follow? Read the label. This applies to all clothing, but especially to synthetic materials made up of a wide variety of different fibers. Therefore, it’s vital that you take the time to decipher the symbols on the label. However, a classic cold water machine wash followed by air drying is generally a safe bet.

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Leather

How should I maintain my shoes and accessories? As is the case with clothing, if you take good care of your shoes and accessories, they will last longer. If they lose their waterproof properties, adding a little waterproofing cleaner could do the trick. As a general rule, wash your leather shoes, gloves and mittens and those made of other durable materials by simply wiping the surface with a damp cloth and a cleaning product designed to make them shine. After letting them air dry, store them in a dry place that is neither too hot nor too cold.

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