To fully enjoy outdoor winter activities, you need warm, lightweight, waterproof clothing such as jackets and snow pants. If you care for these clothes properly, they will last for years to come.
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 because 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, but cleaning the fabric improves its performance.
Almost all snow pants are washable, but check the labels for cleaning instructions. 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. If you have youth snow pants or bibs, you can use these same cleaning methods.
|How to Wash Snow Pants|
|Detergent||Gentle detergent, such as Hex Performance, Woolite, or one formulated for waterproof gear|
|Drying Cycle Type||Do not machine-dry|
|Iron Settings||Do not iron|
Working time: 5 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes to wash; dry time varies
Skill level: Beginner
What You’ll Need
- Gentle detergent
- Stain remover (optional)
- Water-proofing liquid solution or spray (optional)
- Washing machine
- Clothesline or drying rack
- Soft bristle brush or toothbrush (optional)
Prep the Garment
Check the pants pockets for lip balm, tissues, and anything that could stain your fabrics. Cut off or untie any lift tickets or passes on pants, bibs, or ski jackets if you're washing them together. Remove any jacket inner linings or hoods, zip up all the zippers, snap the snaps, and close all Velcro fasteners to prevent snagging and tears during washing.
If you have a grease stain or food stains such as chocolate or mustard, pre-treat 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 soft toothbrush). Allow the stain remover to work for 15 minutes, scrub the stain again, and then wash as directed.
Add Pants 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, then start the machine. If the clothes still feel soapy after rinsing, run them through a second rinse cycle.
Rinse With Waterproofing Solution
After washing, run just the pants and outer jacket, if washing one, 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 do not put other clothes in the washer.
Air-Dry the Pants
Do not place your snow pants, or any 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.
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 them 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 before storing 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 fabric's fibers. Compressing the fibers will hinder that result.
If you have a small tear in your snow pants, repair it with pre-cut repair patches that are meant for waterproof clothing. You'll find patches in stores specializing in outdoor gear, marine items, fabric, and crafting.
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.
Treating Stains on Snow Pants
If pre-treating a greasy spot with a stain remover on snow pants did not help, try a different method using a gentle dish detergent. For example, if you see a grease stain, it could be from ski chair lifts. To help eliminate the problem, put a few drops of gentle dish detergent, such as Dawn or Joy, on the stain and use a soft toothbrush to work it in. Blot up the stain with a clean cloth, then rinse any remaining suds off with a damp clean cloth, and air-dry.
Tips for Washing Snow Pants
- If you're not using 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.
- This is a good time to hand-wash water-repellent gloves. Put them on, wet them down with cold water, put a drop of mild soap in the palm, and make the motion of washing your hands. Rinse well with cold water. Clean the inside by inverting the gloves, if possible, and repeat the steps. Gently squeeze out the water; wringing damages the fabric. Air-dry away from sunlight and high heat, hanging gloves from fingertips. Treat with a spray-on water-repellent.
- If your gloves have leather palms, use a mild leather cleaner and when the leather is dry, treat with a leather restorer to keep it supple.