Caring for Winter Outerwear

The Pacific Northwest gray season has begun, with whipping winds and sideways rain battering windows, cars, and your outerwear.



Outerwear can be hard to care for – we

store it or ignore it for part of the year, but when we use it, we use it regularly. It acts as a protective layer and gets beat up as we carry it through winter. So how do you keep your outerwear in the best shape possible?


First things first – for any article of clothing you want to care for, check out the material and washing information tag. Normally, these tags are sewn into a side seam inside a garment. It will list what materials the item is made of and what the best washing options are.


Some items can be thrown in the wash after you’ve secured all buttons, closed zippers, and removed any attachments like fuzzy trim on a hood. Outerwear rarely goes in the dryer. Shackets, fuzzy/teddy coats, denim, twill, faux fur, rubber, weatherproof/rainproof materials, and even some faux leather may be able to be washed and hung to dry.


Waterproof materials, like rubber and rainproof items, won’t absorb water. They’ll easily drip dry over a tub. Heavier textiles that absorb water, like fuzzy items, will stretch or become misshapen if hung to dry because the weight of the water will pull on the garment. Lay these items flat to dry.


Spot clean any dirty marks by dabbing the spot with water or a baby wipe, or brushing any loose dirt off.


Natural fiber outerwear, like wool, shearling, leather or cashmere blend coats, should be treated ahead of time with the appropriate water-resistant treatment. Read the instructions on your chosen waterproofer – some need to be regularly reapplied for the best results. Use leather cleaners and conditioners/moisturizers as needed.


These natural materials need more care when washing. You may have to handwash them or invest in dry cleaning to keep them in their best shape. Keep them looking sharp by de-pilling fibers with a clothing shaver.


At the end of the season, outerwear is shoved to the back of the closet or packed away. Make sure items are clean, dry, and odor-free. Drop some cedarwood in boxes or pockets to ward off pests. Throw in baking soda sachets if you’re worried about any musty smells.

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