Can You Wash Soft Shell Jackets In Washer Machine?



Can You Wash Soft Shell Jackets In Washer Machine

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Yes, soft shell jackets can be washed in a washing machine.

Soft shell jackets are versatile, comfortable, and perfect for various outdoor activities. However, they are not immune to dirt, stains, and odors. The question that often arises is whether you can toss your beloved soft shell jacket into the washing machine without harming it.

In this guide, we’ll provide you with a straightforward answer and essential tips for washing your soft shell jacket in a washing machine, ensuring it stays clean, functional, and ready for your next adventure.

Dos and Don’ts of Wash Soiled Clothes In Washing Machine


  • Read the Care Label: Always start by reading the care label inside your soft shell jacket. It will provide specific instructions on how to clean and care for your garment.
  • Close All Zippers and Fasteners: Before washing, make sure all zippers, Velcro closures, and fasteners are securely closed. This helps protect them from damage during the wash.
  • Use a Mild Detergent: Choose a gentle, non-detergent soap or a specialized technical fabric detergent designed for outdoor gear.
  • Choose the Right Cycle: Select a gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine with cold water. High heat can damage the jacket’s materials and coatings.
  • Air Dry or Tumble Dry Low: After washing, opt for air drying or use a low-heat setting in the dryer to avoid excessive heat exposure.


  • Use Harsh Detergents: Avoid using regular detergents with additives like bleach or fabric softeners. These can damage the jacket’s water-repellent finish and breathability.
  • Overload the Machine: Washing too many items together can cause friction and damage the jacket’s fabric or zippers.
  • Use Hot Water: High temperatures can harm the jacket’s materials and affect its performance, so always use cold water.
  • Iron or Dry Clean: Soft shell jackets should not be ironed or dry cleaned, as this can damage the fabrics and coatings.
  • Skip the Rinse Cycle: Always ensure your jacket goes through the rinse cycle to remove any detergent residues.

Steps To Wash Soft Shell Jackets In The Washing Machine:

Step 1

Preparation: Check the care label inside your soft shell jacket for specific washing instructions.

Step 2

Close All Fasteners: Zip up all zippers and fasten any Velcro closures to prevent damage during washing.

Step 3

Machine Selection: Set your washing machine to a gentle or delicate cycle with cold water. Avoid using hot water.

Step 4

Use the Right Detergent: Use a mild detergent specifically designed for technical fabrics or outdoor gear. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct amount.

Step 5

Loading the Machine: Place your soft shell jacket in the machine, along with a few similar lightweight items like other jackets or clothing to balance the load.

Step 6

Wash: Start the machine and allow it to complete the cycle. Ensure a thorough rinse to remove all detergent residues.

Step 7


  • Air drying is the best option. Hang your jacket on a hanger or lay it flat on a clean surface in a well-ventilated area.
  • If you choose to tumble dry, use a low-heat setting and check the jacket frequently to prevent overheating.

Step 8


  • Air drying is the best option. Hang your jacket on a hanger or lay it flat on a clean surface in a well-ventilated area.
  • If you choose to tumble dry, use a low-heat setting and check the jacket frequently to prevent overheating.

Step 9

Inspect and Reapply DWR (Durable Water Repellent) Finish:

  • After washing, inspect your jacket for any signs of damage or wear.
  • If needed, reapply a DWR treatment to restore its water-repellent capabilities, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Alternative Washing Methods For Soft Shell Jackets:

If you prefer not to use a washing machine or if your jacket’s care label advises against it, consider these alternative cleaning methods:

  1. Hand Washing:
    • Fill a basin with cold water and add a small amount of mild detergent.
    • Gently agitate the water and immerse the jacket, carefully scrubbing any soiled areas.
    • Rinse thoroughly and air dry.
  2. Spot Cleaning:
    • For small stains or localized dirt, use a soft cloth or sponge dampened with cold water and mild detergent. Gently blot or rub the stained area.
  3. Spray-On Cleaners:
    • Some outdoor gear brands offer spray-on cleaners specifically designed for soft shell jackets. Follow the product instructions for spot cleaning and stain removal.
  4. Professional Cleaning:
    • If you’re uncertain about cleaning your soft shell jacket, or it has complex stains, consider professional cleaning by a service specializing in technical outdoor gear.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):

Can I wash my soft shell jacket with other clothing items?

Answer: Yes, you can wash it with other lightweight clothing items, but avoid overloading the machine to prevent friction and damage.

How often should I wash my soft shell jacket?

Answer: Washing frequency depends on usage and dirt accumulation. In general, washing it once every few months or as needed is sufficient.

Can I use a regular laundry detergent?

Answer: It’s best to use a mild detergent designed for technical fabrics or outdoor gear to protect the jacket’s performance.

Is it safe to use a fabric softener or bleach when washing a soft shell jacket?

Answer: No, fabric softeners and bleach can harm the jacket’s water-repellent finish and breathability.

Can I speed up the drying process by using a higher dryer heat setting?

Answer: It’s advisable to use a low-heat setting or air drying to prevent damage to the jacket’s materials.

Final Words:

Cleaning your soft shell jacket is a straightforward process when you follow the manufacturer’s care label instructions and use the right detergent and washing method. Regular maintenance ensures your jacket remains durable, comfortable, and ready to perform in various outdoor conditions. With the proper care, your soft shell jacket can continue to be your reliable companion for many adventures to come.

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