With a good women's rain jacket, you can survive a wet day in style. All that nasty weather can take its toll, though, and your coat will need cleaning from time to time. Even walking along a rain-soaked sidewalk can result in kick-back crud on the back of your raincoat. Not to worry, it’s possible to restore it to its rain-shielding luster.
Can you put a rain jacket in the wash? Is it possible to iron it? Should I just take mine to the dry cleaner? These are all valid questions, and we’re happy to provide the answers! So here’s a handy guide with helpful tips for taking care of your rain jackets.
If your raincoat has a few surface stains, try wiping them off with a damp paper towel. A sponge soaked in water and vinegar works, too. To clean around the seams and zippers for stubborn spots, dip a toothbrush in soapy water and gently scrub them away.
Kids' rain coats, which are usually made from plastic, can also be cleaned with a soapy sponge. If the coat is really grimy, fill your sink with water, add half a cup of baking soda and let it soak for an hour or so. Finally, rinse it thoroughly before you hang it up to dry.
Before washing petite or plus size rain jackets, it’s important to check the care label for any special washing instructions. Look for it on the collar or at the sides of your rain jacket. You may find that your raincoat is washing machine safe, but certain jackets require special detergent that won't weaken the waterproof coating. Others can be cleaned like almost anything else in your closet. If your raincoat contains delicate material or you don’t have access to a washing machine, you may have to wash it by hand. No worries, it’s pretty easy to do! For small areas that need cleaning, mix some liquid dish soap with warm water until it becomes sudsy. Dip a clean sponge into the water and gently wipe away the dirt on your rain coat.
For larger areas that need cleaning, fill a tub or sink with hot, soapy water. Submerge the raincoat in the water, then take it out and put it on a clean, flat surface. Use a clean, soft sponge to gently scrub the coat clean. Rinse your rain jacket with cool water before hanging it up to dry.
Prep a washing machine-safe rain coat by zipping it up, fastening all the buttons, and closing any Velcro openings to prevent damage. If regular detergent is safe to use with your rain coat, choose one made for delicate clothing that's bleach-free. Avoid using fabric softener, as it can damage the waterproof treatment on your jacket.
Always clean your washing machine's detergent dispenser to remove old residue before putting it in your raincoat. For a little padding, add a couple of towels to keep it safe during the spin cycle. Don't forget to review the user manual if you have a high-efficiency, top loader machine, as some models can't handle waterproof clothing.
Once your rain coat is freshly washed, hang it up outside in the sun or wind, or leave it to dry inside, in a well-ventilated room. If your raincoat is partial to wrinkling, lay it out flat on a clean surface. Depending on the material, you may be able to put your rain jacket in the dryer. Use low or medium heat, and make sure to zip it up first and close any buttons. For added protection, throw it in with some towels. This will help to soften the impact and absorb any excess heat.
It’s important to note that most men's rain jackets can't be ironed. The high heat will destroy the waterproof coatings that keep you dry, and any coat made from plastic is at risk of turning into melted goo. If straightening out the creases in your rain jacket is necessary, try placing a cotton press cloth over your jacket and then ironing it. You can also give it a few blasts of steam to remove deep-set creases, but never let the iron touch the jacket directly. Alternately, you can cover the coat with one of your bath towels instead, or you can even try blasting the wrinkles with a hair dryer set on low.
If you’re unsure of the care instructions or short on time, you can always take your rain coat for dry cleaning. Most raincoats can be cleaned this way unless they contain polyurethane, which will crack or flake off during the process. No matter which method you choose, try not to wash your raincoat too often. If it doesn't look dirty or smell funky, hang it in the closet and wear it again. Repeated washings can weaken a coat's ability to keep you from getting drenched, so don't rush to clean it after every use.
When you do have to clean your rain coat, take care by following the instructions and using our helpful hints. Then throw on your favorite rain boots with your freshly cleaned rain coat and take on the day.