How to maintain shell layers
Care and impregnation for extreme weather conditions garments
"The basic rule when it comes to taking care of all kinds of garments and especially protective clothing is to read the care instructions on the care label carefully."

Choosing what type of protective clothing - shell layers to buy is the first important step and the beginning of your journey. Choosing MAYA MAYA you made a great decision in order to protect yourself from the wild and unexpected weather conditions out there. 

As with everything in life, you have to take good care and maintain your garments in a sustainable and long-lasting way - keep them highly functional for many years. It’s easy, keep them clean:

  • wash it at 30 °C

  • preferably use mild, non-toxic, and biodegradable detergents without softeners

  • Before you put the garment into the washing machine, make sure to close all the zippers, velcro fasteners, and straps. This way you reduce the risk of damaging the inner and/or outer layer and potentially other garments in the washing cycle.

  • make sure to wash it with similar colors and never soak it

  • once washed, hang it to air-dry, and never put it in a tumble dryer.

  • after washing the garment several times, make sure to re-apply the DWR treatment

Following the care-label instructions and these steps, you maintain the functional characteristics and prolong the lifespan of your clothes.

Waterproof jackets and pants have on the inner side of the shell fabric in most cases a PTFE membrane bonded to the shell fabric itself. That is the essence of having a high level of waterproofness and protection. 

However, the shell fabric has to be maintained in order to have the water drops slide off the surface. Important is that the surface is water repellent, we call it "durable water repellent" or DWR. It is important to have a dry look and perfect breathability. If the DWR is not maintained then you will have a wet effect on the outside and lower breathability. The membrane which is the essence of protective clothing will still keep you dry.

From our outdoor dictionary: "The Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatment is the first line of defense against wet weather conditions and prevents the face fabric from becoming saturated. When you see water beading up and rolling off your jacket, that’s actually the DWR technology at work. DWR is a polymer applied to the face fabric that creates microscopic pegs, or hairs, that protrude from the fabric. These pegs encourage the water droplets to band together and roll off, instead of spreading out along the face of the fabric and soaking through. The saturated fabric (wetting out fabric) can reduce the garment’s breathability. The DWR treatment over time wears off, and it is important that you re-treat the garment with the wash-in or spray-on products in order to make them water repellent."

As you keep using the clothes, and you wash them regularly, you will notice that they start to lose their water repellency on the outside, as told,  the membrane will keep you dry forever. This is perfectly normal, and there are things that you can do, to keep your functional garments in great shape almost forever. 

Pay attention to care labels 

Before we teach/inform you how to renew the DWR (impregnation) keep the following in mind: The basic rule when it comes to taking care of all kinds of garments and especially protective clothing is to read the care instructions on the care label carefully.

In order to best protect you from extreme weather conditions, all our shell garments are made of durable and highly breathable synthetic materials. High temperatures can very easily damage these types of materials, so it’s recommended to wash them at 30 and max. 40 ° and to never put them into a dryer or on high turnovers (centrifuge) of the washing machine. 

Additionally, you want to wash your clothes in a balanced way. Going on either side of the spectrum will just damage the materials. If you wash them too often you will probably make the lifespan of the products shorter. On the other hand, if you don’t wash them often enough and leave them with sweat and dirt, the materials will temporarily lose their functionality. A lot of dirt might even cause long-lasting damage to breathability. The advice is to wash them but not every day after each use.

How to know when you need to renew your garments DWR (impregnate it)? 

You bought your jacket, washed it a few times and you are not sure if and when you should renew its DWR to make it perfect again. Earlier, we mentioned the water drops rolling off the waterproof jacket. That’s how. Perform a test where you put your jacket down and put a few drops of water on it. Wait for a little bit and then pick up the jacket letting the drops roll-off. If they do, then the jackets’ impregnation is still working. But if you notice that the drops are getting fully or somewhat absorbed into the material that’s your cue that you need to re-impregnate the jacket.

Usually, in terms of time, the impregnation should happen after 3-5 washes. You won’t wash your technical jacket every time you use it naturally, especially if you wear it occasionally and not every single day. In a span of a year, you’d probably wash it around  1 to 3 times depending on how much you use it and where - how much dirt you put on it. The main reason is dirt as the materials are of high quality and odor-free.

How to impregnate your jacket? 

Generally, there are two ways in which you can do it in the washing machine by using a washing additive (wash-in) or by using a spray after washing (spray-on). These types of care products can be found easily in most sports stores.

We suggest using the product within a washing cycle (wash-in) according to the instruction of the producer. In the same cycle, you can put more garments and be more sustainable. Spraying a garment's outer surface might result in uneven coverage and will compromise the water repellency of the outer surface.

This method is much simpler than the spraying one, however, choosing a low-quality DWR washing additive might have a negative side and lower the breathability. The impregnation product will get also on the inside fabrics that are not meant to be impregnated and might affect the breathability of the garment. This can be bad news for you when you are sweating a lot and need that breathability to keep you from getting too wet on the inside. We recommend you choose additives from the brands listed at the end of this article.

The other method is a spray. Spraying the jacket requires a bit more dedication and attention. First, you need to wash your jacket and dry it completely. Then, put it on a hanger and start the spraying process. Make sure that you’re not spraying from too close, generally, you’d need a 30cm distance. Try to spray it evenly all over. The spray mixture can cause some problems if inhaled, so make sure that you’re doing the spraying process outside, and let your jacket dry outside as well. After the jacket is fully dry, you can re-apply the spray on some areas that you think need extra protection. Please read the instructions of the producer carefully. 

Of course, for any of these methods, some things may vary depending on the specific care product you’re using. That’s why you’re advised to thoroughly read the instructions on the products, and also ask any questions you might have to the people where the products are sold. 

Please bear in mind that DWR treatment should be PFC free - sustainable and eco friendly. When searching for the best DWR care solution, take care to check if they have PFC free Chemicals or they at least have the lowest possible level of PFC chemical ingredients.

Some brands producing the DWR sprays and washing additives are:

  • Grangers

  • Revivex

  • Nikwax

Please carefully follow their instructions.

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