Washing and Storing Winter Gear: Common Mistakes to Avoid

It's that time of year again. The snow is melting and the temps are rising which means you're most likely getting ready to store your cold weather winter gear. But wait! Before you shut the door on winter, be sure to follow proper cleaning and storing techniques to help avoid the most common mistakes when it comes to taking care of your winter gear.

Mistake #1: Storing without washing

As winter adventures come to an end, it's important to properly clean your gear, especially outerwear. Even though most snow jackets and pants have been engineered to deliver some type of water repellency benefit, don't be fooled - waterproof doesn't equal dirt-proof. Over time, dirt can accumulate on the surface and clog the microscopic pores, impacting the coating on the material. A good thorough wash before storing it away in your gear closet will help eliminate the dirt and even odor, ensuring your gear is clean and fresh for next season.

Mistake #2: Opting for dry cleaning

While dry cleaning may seem like the best heavy-duty option, keep in mind that many of the cleaning chemicals used are far too harsh for the waterproof coating that most snow jackets and pants possess. Skip the dry-cleaning and instead use a traditional washer (and dryer) to clean your winter gear.

Mistake #3: Using the wrong detergent

When it comes to washing your gear, many people will use the wrong type of detergent. In order for any laundry soap or cleaner you're using on snow clothes and jackets to work as intended, make sure that they are water soluble meaning if a little bit gets in contact with wet surfaces like fabrics then its going down through them instead being left. In most cases opt for a mild detergent and ALWAYS, ALWAYS check the label on your gear for specific instructions!

Mistake #4: Packing to too tight and using plastic storage bins

Your gear likes to breathe. Don't suffocate it by packing it too tight, especially in plastic bins. If possible, hang your gear in a closet allowing it to breathe and avoid any sort of compression. This is especially critical for gear made with polyester fibers or down feathers. Compression for extended periods of time can breakdown the fibers, making it harder for them to "bounce" back.

Mistake #5: Storing gear even though you'll never wear it again

Why store something that you'll never wear again? Save the space and potentially earn money by selling your unwanted gear. Whether you no longer like the design, the size isn't right or maybe it's even torn, there's a responsible and rewarding way to get rid of your unwanted gear. Depending on what you're looking to do with your gear, checkout your local donation center or opt for an easy-to-use online platform such as Out&Back's Sell Back program to quickly make space in your closet and get cash in your wallet.