How to Clean and Care for Snow Pants

Man skiing down a snowy mountain
Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

To fully enjoy winter sports, you need warm, lightweight, waterproof clothing like jackets and snow pants so you can move. It's important to take care of these clothes, so they will last from season to season.

Lightweight ski wear is usually made of nylon fabric that the manufacturer treats on one side with special polymers that lower the surface tension of the fabric, causing water to bead up and roll off. The special finishes on the inside of ski wear have microscopic pores that are too small to allow liquid water to pass through, but large enough to let water vapor escape. This breathability keeps you both dry and warm since perspiration is moved away from the body. Dirt and grime can disrupt the waterproofing and breathability by clogging the pores and preventing water vapor from escaping. Cleaning opens the pores and improves clothing performance.

How to Wash Snow Pants
Detergent Gentle detergent, such as Dreft, Woolite or one formulated for waterproof gear
Water Temperature Cold
Cycle Type Delicate
Drying Cycle Type Do not machine dry
Special Treatments None
Iron Settings Do not iron

Project Metrics

Some people don't ever wash their ski clothes, but during normal wear, the clothes accumulate soil from external sources, as well as from your own body, that can lessen the performance of the finishes. Almost all snow pants are washable, but check the labels for cleaning instructions, as it varies between materials. This is especially important for waterproof clothing. Ski clothes should not be dry-cleaned because the cleaning chemicals are too harsh for the waterproof coating.
Working time: 5 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes to wash; dry time varies

Skill level: Beginner

What You’ll Need




  1. Empty the Pockets

    First things first, empty the pockets of lip balm, tissues, and anything that could stain your fabrics. Cut off or untie any lift tickets or passes. Remove any inner linings or hoods. Zip up all the zippers, snap the snaps, and close all Velcro fasteners to prevent snagging and tears during washing.

  2. Pretreat Stains

    If you have a grease stain or food stains like chocolate or mustard, pretreat the stain before washing. Unlike more delicate fabrics, snow pants can handle a little bit of scrubbing to remove stains. Apply stain remover to the affected area and scrub it with a soft-bristled laundry brush (or a toothbrush). Allow the stain remover to work for 15 minutes and then scrub the stain again. Wash as directed.

  3. Add Pants and Jackets to the Washing Machine

    Put the snow pants in the washing machine with similar fabrics. Turn the water temperature to cold and the cycle setting to gentle, and start the machine.

  4. Repeat Rinse if Necessary

    If you feel you were too heavy-handed with detergent and the clothes feel soapy, run them through a second rinse cycle.

  5. Rinse With Waterproofing Solution

    After washing, run just the outer jacket and pants through a second wash cycle using an in-wash waterproofing solution. Be sure that the waterproofing solution is designated for clothing, not tents or sleeping bags. Use cold water and don't put other clothes in the washer.

  6. Air-dry the Pants

    NEVER place your ski clothes in the dryer. After washing, hang them to air dry away from direct sunlight or a heat source on a sturdy hanger that will not rust or bend. Ironing will not be necessary because the weight of the fabric will pull out most wrinkles.

Tips for Washing Snow Pants

  • If you do not want to use or don't have an in-wash waterproofing product, wait until the clothes are completely dry and use a spray-on water repellent product.
  • Between washings, hang ski jackets and pants to dry well after each use. Brush away any topsoil and wipe away visible stains with a clean, damp cloth.
  • Even if you didn't wash your ski wear during the season, give it a good cleaning before storing away. Be sure that everything is completely dry before storing in a cool, dry area to prevent mildew and you'll be ready to hit the slopes next year.


If you have a small tear in your snow pants, repair it with pre-cut repair patches that are meant for waterproof clothing.

To use the repair patches, trim any loose threads and clean the area around the tear as much as possible. Dirt or oil could prevent the repair patch from sticking properly. Lay the pants down on a flat surface and line up the edges of the rip as closely as possible. Peel the backing from the patch and place it over the tear. Press down firmly to remove any air bubbles or wrinkles. The patch will reach full strength after 24 hours.

Storing Snow Pants

At the end of winter, wash your snow pants with a special detergent that's meant for base layers, such as BaseWash from Nikwax. It cleans and deodorizes the synthetic fabrics before storing for the summer.

Once the snow pants and ski jackets have been washed, put them outside to air dry on a warm, sunny day. Make sure that every last drop of moisture is gone to avoid mildew or mold growth during the off-season.

Finally, hang up the snow pants in a closet or fold them loosely and place them on a shelf. The pants keep you warm by trapping air in the fibers. Compressing the fibers will hinder that result.

Tips for Washing Water-Repellent Gloves

  • Water-repellent gloves should be hand washed. Put them on and wet them down with cold water. Put just a drop of mild soap (same choices as for your jacket) in the palm and "wash your hands." Tough stains on the gloves may need a bit of extra soap and rubbing for removal. Keep your hands in the gloves, which helps them hold their shape, and rinse well with cold water. To clean the inside of the gloves, invert the gloves, if possible, and repeat the steps. Or, wipe down using a clean white cloth dipped in the soap mixture. Rinse very well. Gently squeeze the water from the gloves; never wringing because that can damage the fabric. Air-dry away from sunlight and high heat.
  • To speed drying, use clothespins to hang the gloves from the fingertips so that water runs out the cuffs.
  • To improve water-repellency, use a spray-on water repellent.
  • If the gloves have leather palms, use a mild leather cleaner and when the leather is dry, treat with a leather restorer to keep it supple.