How to Wash a Windbreaker

how to wash a windbreaker

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Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins - 1 hr, 30 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5-10

Windbreakers are a helpful water-and-wind-resistant clothing item that can protect you from the elements, while being lightweight and versatile. And though most windbreakers are quite durable and fairly protected from dust and dirt buildup, they still need a good cleaning every once in a while. Here's all the information you need about how to wash a windbreaker, including a few essential tips for how to keep it clean as well.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Washing machine
  • Drying rack
  • Mesh laundry bag


  • Gentle laundry detergent
  • Stain remover (optional)


How to Wash a Windbreaker
Detergent Gentle detergent
Water temperature Cool or tap-cool
Cycle type Gentle
Drying cycle type Air-dry
Special treatments Pre-treat stains
Ironing settings Do not iron
How often to wash As needed


  1. Read the Care Label

    Before you throw your windbreaker into the washing machine, ensure that it can actually be machine-washed. Look for the care label on your windbreaker (it's usually along a seam towards the bottom of the jacket) and read through the symbols or any other information on it to confirm it can be machine washed.

    how to wash a windbreaker care label

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  2. Spot Treat Any Stains

    If your windbreaker has any major stains, now is the time to deal with them. You don't need to buy a specific spot treatment product—instead, just dab and gently rub a small amount of gentle detergent on the stain and let it sit for five to 10 minutes.

    how to wash a windbreaker stain removal

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  3. Place the Windbreaker in a Laundry Bag

    Windbreakers are often made of nylon or other synthetic fabrics, which can tear easily, and they may have lots of buttons and zippers, which can easily snag. To protect against this, place your windbreaker inside a mesh laundry bag before starting your washing machine.

    If you don't have a mesh bag, you can also turn the windbreaker inside out before starting the cycle.

    how to wash a windbreaker laundry bag

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  4. Wash On Gentle

    Add the necessary amount of gentle or mild detergent, and select the gentle cycle with a cold rinse on your machine. Both of these selections will ensure your windbreaker gets clean without getting damaged.

    how to wash a windbreaker washing machine

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  5. Dry Your Windbreaker

    Thanks to the water-repellent makeup of most windbreakers, it will probably still be pretty wet once you take it out of the washing machine. It's best to let to windbreakers dry on a drying rack to avoid any heat damage or shrinking from a dryer. Hang dry on a rack (out of direct sunlight) to rid it of excess water, then enjoy wearing your wonderfully-clean windbreaker again.

    how to wash a windbreaker drying rack

    BlackdovFX / Getty Images

Treating Stains on Windbreakers

Windbreakers are fairly durable and stain-resistant, but they can still deal with a stain or two every once in a while. To get rid of stains on windbreakers, use your favorite stain spot treatment according to its instructions, or use gentle detergent, dabbing it on the stain before letting it sit for 10 minutes then washing.

Windbreaker Care and Repairs

Windbreakers are made for the great outdoors, but they're also susceptible to rips and tears. Prevent rips and tears in the washing machine by washing them in a mesh laundry bag or inside out.

But if your windbreaker does rip, not all is lost. Adhesive nylon patches can be placed on top of the tear to mend it and ensure the windbreaker continues to be waterproof and wind-resistant.

Storing Windbreakers

When you're not wearing your windbreaker, leave it hung up. Though windbreakers can be easily packed into small spaces and nooks, it's not a good idea to keep them stored long-term in this way, as they can get creased and wrinkled.

How Often to Wash Windbreakers

Windbreakers do not need to be washed very often, thanks to their makeup, which often a synthetic, dirt-resistant fabric like nylon or polyester. Wash your windbreaker only when you notice a lot of dirt or grime, or when it has an unpleasant odor.

Tips for Washing Windbreakers

  • If you're unsure about whether your windbreaker can be washed in a washing machine, hand-wash in a large sink or basin instead.
  • Don't wash your windbreaker with a rough washing cycle or with a hot water rinse, as these can damage it.
  • It's best if you air-dry your windbreaker. But if you're short on time, you can dry your windbreaker in the dryer on low, cool heat.
  • What are windbreakers made of?

    Windbreakers are made of synthetic materials that are water and wind-resistant. Some of the most common material choices are nylon, polyester, and micro-polyester.

  • Do windbreakers shrink in the dryer?

    Windbreakers are made of synthetic materials that can be susceptible to shrinkage when exposed to high heat. Therefore, it's best to air-dry windbreakers instead.