How to Properly Wash Your Windbreaker

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Do you need to know how to wash a windbreaker? Don’t worry! I’ve broken it down into a handy list of steps below:

Brush off any loose dirt or debris.
Check for and treat any stubborn stains and treat them before putting them into the machine washing.
Zip your windbreaker up. Check and zip your pockets (pull anything out of your pockets before it’s too late!) as well.
Place your windbreaker in a mesh bag (like a lingerie bag) and turn it inside out before adding it to the washing machine.
Add your detergent—anything gentle or formulated explicitly for waterproof items will work.
Set your washing machine to a gentle cycle and wash your windbreaker in cold water.
Inspect your jacket for any soap residue. If residue remains, run your washer on a rinse cycle to remove it.
Air dry your windbreaker or tumble dry on low heat. Do not use high heat!

Now your windbreaker should be fresh and clean! If you’d like more detail on some of these steps, tips on products to avoid using on your windbreaker, and instructions on how to remove tough stains, keep reading!

Which detergents are not safe to use on my windbreaker?

According to Eazihome Laundry, any detergents containing bleach, whitener, stain removers, or enzymes are not suitable for your windbreaker. Windbreakers and other waterproof or water-resistant items are often coated in chemicals that can react with specific components in detergents.

Related: It’s Time to Wash Your Bath Mat: Here’s How

You should also never use dryer sheets or fabric softeners on your windbreaker. Windbreakers can’t be dry-cleaned, either! 

Which detergents are best for my windbreaker?

Non-chlorinated detergents are best to use, as these won’t break down any chemical coating that may have been used on your windbreaker.

Related: Check out my Homemade Cleaning Solution: SAVE LOTS OF MONEY!

If you’re unsure what to use, remember to always check the label on your windbreaker for specific cleaning instructions! 

How can I get stubborn stains out of my windbreaker?

Flatten out your windbreaker (if the fabric isn’t flat and warm water is applied, the material could become permanently warped) and apply your chosen detergent with a bit of water, making circular motions over the stained area. Be gentle, as aggressive scrubbing may damage the fabric!

Let this solution sit on the windbreaker for a few minutes. Repeat this as many times as necessary to lift the stain. Once you’re finished, you can proceed with putting your windbreaker in the wash as detailed in the above steps. 

Why should I wash my windbreaker in a mesh bag?

The bag will protect your windbreaker from getting torn in the washing machine. The material of your windbreaker is relatively thin, and most jackets have various zippers, strings, or other attachments hanging off of them. All of these run the risk of getting caught in your washing machine and ruining your windbreaker—that’s the last thing you want!

Related: How to Clean Your Portable Ice Maker

Another way to prevent snags is by adjusting all zippers and cuffs before washing. The metal teeth on exposed zippers can cause damage to the fabric, so keeping the jacket zipped up and flipping it inside out helps your windbreaker retain its shape and integrity. 

Why can’t I wash my windbreaker in hot water or tumble dry using high heat?

Hot water can damage the fabric of your windbreaker, creating warping or permanent lumps—if it doesn’t melt your windbreaker, that is.

Many windbreakers are made of nylon, and some nylon fibers can melt at high temperatures, this will turn washing in hot water and high heat drying into a disaster!

Why might there be residue on my windbreaker after washing? 

Due to some windbreakers’ water-resistant or waterproof quality, detergent may stick to the outside surface of the jacket.

According to iFixit, running your windbreaker through at least one rinse cycle after washing is a great way to prevent this!

If detergent residue or excess moisture gets stuck to the outside of your jacket, this may harm the fabric in the long term or create unsightly lumps.

Should I wring excess water out of my windbreaker before drying?

Wringing your windbreaker out is not recommended. However, it is essential to remove excess water to avoid trapping moisture inside the fabric.

Wringing your windbreaker out is not recommended

You can do this effectively and gently by patting the excess water out of the jacket while placing it between two towels. 

Can I handwash my windbreaker?

Sure! If you’d like to avoid putting your windbreaker through the washing machine, you can opt for the gentle handwashing method.

First, be sure to select the proper detergent before adding your windbreaker to a sink full of warm—but not hot—water.

Next, massage the garment until suds form, then soak it for about five minutes.

Finally, rinse and dry!


Sam Harning joined Better Home + Living team as a reviewer and writer in 2018. She has many hobbies and passions. Her favorite thing is trying new products, learning new things, and writing about her experience. She loves sharing with her readers and helping them make better decisions for their homes and family. Sam also loves playing golf, mountain biking, and walking during sunset or sunrise.

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