Technical clothing needs looking after, here's how to wash your jackets and trousers so they remain waterproof. Plus, how to reproof them, and fix them if they tear


You can wear pretty much whatever you want on a bike, but investing in one of the best mountain bike jackets and best winter trousers is totally worth it if you want to stay dry and comfy. And the really good news though is that you don’t actually have to spend a fortune, brands including Endura and Madison make jackets that can cut it alongside the likes of Patagonia and Rapha.

What you must do though, is look after your riding gear, that way it’ll last years. Make sure you wash garments in sports wash rather than regular detergent, reproof them regularly to keep things watertight, and fix any issues – plenty of brands have a repair service now. Here’s how to do it right…

The Gorewear Endure is one of the best mountain bike jackets around… you still need to wash it, reproof and fix up any holes you make in it though

1. Wash your jacket when it’s dirty

Sounds simple, but there’s a really good reason behind this. Dirt clogs the pores in the jacket’s waterproof membrane, stopping them from working as effectively. Keep the pores clear, however, and your waterproof jacket will stay breathable.

Wash off dirt with a hosepipe (not a jetwash) or in the shower (if you’re allowed). If you want to sling it in the washing machine then use a cool wash and avoid the use of detergents as these can damage the DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating.

Water should bead on a jacket, if it’s not the breathability will be compromised and you’ll need to reproof it

2. Renew the DWR coating

Check to see if water beads on your jacket, if it doesn’t then it probably needs its DWR coating renewing. This layer is what prevents the material underneath becoming saturated, at which point it stops breathing and you get wet.

In recent years Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) or PFAS, aka ‘forever chemicals’ have been phased out in the UK, which is great news for the environment and our health. We have noticed DWR coatings don’t stay put as long now though, and in some cases they need reapplying after every ride.

To use, make sure all zips and Velcro flaps are closed and use the 2-in-1 as you would a normal detergent, washing on a warm wash with a rinse cycle. To finish, tumble dry the jacket on a medium heat until it’s dry.

3. Fix tears and broken zips

Plenty of brands now send out repair patches with new items of clothing, or let you request them at a later date. These are usually iron on fabric squares to mend your garments after a crash or a close encounter with the bushes. Some also offer a repair service, Rapha and Endura have both been doing this for years, fill out an online form and you’ll be able to send the garment back and – most likely – have it repaired for free.

There are also specialist repair shops that can fix all manner of tears, as well as repairing the waterproof taping. We’ve used Lancashire Sports Repairs in the past — they’re Gore-Tex approved and can also repair other waterproof materials and footwear.