As an outdoor enthusiast who loves exploring the great outdoors, having quality gear that holds up is essential. My Arcteryx jacket has become my trusted companion on hikes, climbs, and backcountry ski tours. The durable, waterproof fabric and streamlined design makes it perfect for alpine adventures. But after countless days wearing it in the elements, it eventually needs a refresh.
Washing technical outdoor apparel properly is important to maintain performance and extend the life of the gear. Arcteryx garments are built to last, but taking the wrong approach can lead to compromising the fabric or protective coatings. I’ve tested various methods over the years to find the ideal way to clean my Arcteryx jacket while preserving its technical qualities.
In this guide, I’ll share what I’ve learned about the best practices for washing an Arcteryx jacket based on the manufacturer’s recommendations and my own experience. Whether you need to prep your jacket for storage during the off-season or clean up after a dirty day outdoors, these tips will help keep your Arcteryx gear performing at its best.
Evaluate the Situation – When Does Your Jacket Really Need a Wash?
The first step is assessing if your jacket actually requires laundering. Arcteryx advises washing jackets as infrequently as possible – only when truly dirty. Unnecessary washing can degrade the durable water repellent (DWR) treatment over time. Here are a few indicators it’s time to clean your jacket:
- Visible dirt or stains on the fabric that don’t brush off
- Accumulation of body oils and salt from sweat
- Offensive odors that don’t air out
- Loss of water beading effect on the outer fabric
For light soiling, spot cleaning or an occasional garment refresh may suffice. But a full wash is required once grime starts to build up. Use your best judgement based on wear frequency, activity, and current condition.
Prepping and Precautions
Before getting started, take a few preparatory steps to protect your jacket:
Close All Zippers, Velcro, and Snap Enclosures
Securing all fastening systems prevents snagging and damage during agitation. Ensure zippers are fully zipped up with any pull cords secured inside. Fasten all Velcro straps tightly so they don’t catch on other fabric. Snap any enclosure covers in place over the fasteners.
Wash Inner Liners Separately
Many Arcteryx jackets have removable fleece or insulation layers. Whenever possible, remove and wash liner layers independently to prevent pilling. Turn liners inside out prior to washing as well.
How to Wash an Arcteryx Jacket
Now let’s explore various techniques to clean an Arcteryx jacket, ranging from light spot cleaning to a complete machine wash. Choose the method that matches the current condition of your jacket.
Spot Cleaning for Light Soiling
For light surface stains or dirt accumulation in isolated areas, spot clean the soiled region with a damp sponge or soft brush. Avoid vigorous rubbing. Use a mild detergent and lukewarm water, then rinse the spot thoroughly to eliminate any soap residue. Let the area air dry fully.
Spot cleaning can refresh a jacket between full washes. It’s a quick way to clean up minor grime so you can keep on wearing the jacket. But frequent build-up in the same area still indicates a full wash is due.
Hand Washing for a Deep Clean
When it’s time for a deeper clean, hand washing is my preferred method. This gentle, manual approach allows complete control so you can treat the jacket with care.
Fill a tub or basin with cool water and a small amount of technical cleaner or mild detergent. Nikwax Tech Wash is formulated for synthetic performance fabrics. Rotate and massage the jacket to mix in soap, then let soak for 15-20 minutes.
Drain the wash water and refill the tub with cool, clean water. Rinse the jacket thoroughly by gently moving it in the water. Drain and repeat the rinse cycle until water runs clear. This removes all soap residue.
For drying, gently press water out of the jacket with towels. Then lay flat and reshape to original form as it air dries. This prevents heat damage from mechanical drying.
Hand washing with a technical cleaner helps restore DWR (durable water repellent) while removing dirt and odors. Just take care to avoid excessive agitation that can damage fabrics.
Machine Washing for a Regular Deep Clean
Over time, the accumulation of dirt, body oils, and environmental grime will require a machine wash to get your jacket truly clean again. Turn the jacket inside out to protect the DWR coating on the outer fabric. Use a mesh garment bag if available.
Wash on gentle cycle with cold water and a mild powder detergent. I also recommend these extra steps:
- Add a few clean tennis balls to the wash to act as agitators
- Pretreat any stubborn stains before washing
- Use an additional rinse cycle to fully eliminate detergent
- Wash solo – no other garments
After washing, check all closures and fasteners to ensure they’re still in good shape. Hang or lay flat to dry – avoid the dryer at all costs.
A periodic deep clean in the washing machine helps expel accumulated dirt and odors to refresh your jacket. Just be mindful of frequency to avoid over-washing.
Post-Wash Care: Reviving DWR and Garment Inspection
Once you’ve washed your jacket, there are a couple extra steps to ensure it stays in top shape:
The washing process can start to break down the durable water repellent coating. Revive the water resistance by applying a spray-on DWR treatment like Nikwax TX Direct. Follow the product directions to re-establish the beading effect. Reapply as needed over time.
Inspect and Make Repairs
Check your jacket thoroughly after washing and drying. Look for any new stains or damage that may need spot cleaning or repairs. Catching issues early keeps the jacket in action. Make repairs right away on any compromised fasteners, torn seams, or fabric damage.
Proper post-wash care helps your freshly cleaned jacket regain its protective performance and resolve wear-and-tear.
Storing Your Jacket Between Adventures
When it’s time to tuck your jacket away for the off-season, take a few steps to prevent musty odors and avoid damage:
- Make sure the jacket is completely clean before storage
- Allow to dry fully so no moisture remains
- Store loosely folded or hanging – avoid tight creases
- Keep in a cool, dry place away from direct sun
- Consider placing in a breathable garment bag
With proper storage habits, you’ll pull out a jacket ready for your next adventure when the season changes.
As an essential part of my outdoor kit, keeping my Arcteryx jackets in peak condition is a top priority. By using the proper hand wash, machine wash and spot-cleaning techniques outlined here, you can keep your jacket looking and performing like new for many seasons.
The key is being gentle and using the right products to care for the technical fabrics and DWR coating. With some basic maintenance, your jacket will last for years and handle whatever the weather throws your way. The investment is well worth it for the quality, comfort and protection Arcteryx provides.
Now grab your gear, get out there and adventure on! Just be sure to take proper care of that hardworking jacket when you return. Your bank account and future self will thank you.
FAQs About Caring For Your Arcteryx Jacket
What is the best way to wash an Arcteryx jacket?
For a deep clean, turn the jacket inside out and wash on a gentle cycle in cold water with a mild detergent. Skip the dryer and air dry instead to prevent heat damage. Hand washing also works well if done gently with mild detergent.
How often should you wash an Arcteryx jacket?
Only wash when truly dirty, about once a season or less. Frequent washing can degrade the DWR coating. Spot clean or use a garment refresh spray for light soiling between full washes.
Can you machine dry an Arcteryx jacket?
No, heat from machine drying can damage the fabrics and protective finish. Always air dry your jacket fully after washing.
What is the best detergent for washing Arcteryx jackets?
Use a mild powder detergent without dyes or fragrances, like Nikwax Tech Wash. Avoid regular laundry detergent as the residue can affect breathability.
How do you restore DWR on an Arcteryx jacket after washing?
Apply a wash-in or spray-on DWR treatment like Nikwax TX Direct after washing. This will revitalize water beading and repellency diminished by washing.
Should you wash the liner separately?
Yes, removable fleece or insulation liners should be washed separately to prevent pilling damage from the outer shell fabric.
What temperature water should be used?
Always use cold water when washing an Arcteryx jacket. Hot water can damage the technical fabrics and membrane.
Can you wash down and synthetic materials together?
No, wash your jacket separately from down items which require different detergent. Only wash with like fabrics.
How do you wash a stained Arcteryx jacket?
Pretreat any stains prior to washing. Scrub gently with a soft brush and mild detergent. Avoid vigorous rubbing which can damage the fabric.