How To Wash Ski Pants The Right Way?

How To Wash Ski Pants The Right Way?

You just got back from an epic day on the slopes, and your ski pants are caked in snow, dirt, and who knows what else. Don't just toss them in the wash and hope for the best – proper care is key to keeping your ski pants performing their best and lasting for many seasons to come.

Whether you're a seasoned shredder or just getting started, washing your ski pants properly is a must. Follow along, and you'll never have to worry about matted fabrics, faded colors, or dreaded stink again. Let's get those pants fresh for your next mountain adventure!


Method 1: Machine Washing


When machine washing your ski pants, you must use the right detergent. Regular powder detergents can leave residues that clog the fabric's pores and compromise its breathability. Instead, opt for a liquid detergent formulated for activewear or outdoor apparel. These milder detergents won't strip away the pants' durable water-repellent (DWR) coating.


Set the Washer to the Proper Cycle


Most ski pant care labels recommend using the "synthetic" or "delicate" cycle, with cool to warm water temperatures. A hot wash can cause shrinkage or deterioration of the waterproof membranes. For added protection, set the spin speed to low or medium, around 800 RPM maximum.

If you're washing insulated ski pants with down filling, adding a few clean tennis balls to the load can help re-loft the down clusters.


Rinse Thoroughly


After the wash cycle finishes, run an additional rinse cycle. This helps remove all traces of detergent residue that can impair the pants' breathability and waterproofing over time.


Drying Process


Whenever possible, air drying is the gentlest method for ski pants. Hang or lay them flat to dry, turning them inside out to prevent over-exposure of the outer fabric to light and heat which can degrade the DWR finish.

Once fully dry, you may want to revive the pants' water repellency. Do this by placing a dry towel over the surface and running a warm iron over it to reactivate the DWR coating.


Method 2: Hand Washing


Preparation Before Washing


  • For hand-washing ski pants, you'll need a basin or sink large enough to fully submerge the pants without excessive twisting or bunching. A bathtub or large utility sink works well.
  • Fill the basin with cold water and add a small amount of mild liquid detergent formulated for delicates or activewear. Avoid using regular detergents which can strip away the pants' durable water-repellent finish.
  • You can also use a specialized ski or sportswear wash for technical fabrics. Just take care not to use too much detergent, as residues can impair breathability.
  • Dip the pants into the soapy water, fully submerging them. Gently swish them around to evenly distribute the water and help release dirt and oils from the fabric. Let them soak for 5-10 minutes before rinsing.


Drying Process


After soaking, rinse the pants thoroughly under a faucet or showerhead using clean running water. Keep rinsing until all remaining soap suds have been removed, as residues can compromise the DWR coating.


Avoiding Twisting


When it's time to remove excess water, resist the urge to wring or twist the pants, as this can potentially damage the waterproof membranes or down insulation. Instead, gently press out extra moisture with your hands.


Method 3: Waterproofing


For Non-Gore-Tex Pants


If your ski pants aren't made with a built-in waterproof/breathable membrane like Gore-Tex, you may need to occasionally re-apply for a waterproofing treatment. Popular aftermarket products for this include Nikwax and Scotchguard.

These solutions use durable water-repellent (DWR) chemistry to revive the pants' ability to bead up and shed moisture. They can be applied by spraying directly onto the clean, dry garment and allowing it to fully cure.


Following Instructions


No matter which waterproofing product you choose, be sure to carefully follow the manufacturer's application instructions. Pay attention to factors like:

  • Recommended drying/curing times
  • Whether to apply to the inner or outer fabric
  • Any precautions about using too much product

Taking the time to waterproof properly helps ensure maximum breathability and water repellency.


Special Care Tips


Unlike cotton pants you might wear daily, technical ski pants don't need to be washed after every use. Overwashing can degrade the waterproof coatings faster.

As a general guideline, plan to wash insulated or waterproof pants every 5-6 wear days, or at minimum once per ski season. Washing less frequently helps preserve the performance of the specialized fabrics and membranes.


Storage and Maintenance


When it's time to put away your ski pants for the off-season, avoid compressing them into tight stuff sacks or spaces where insulation can get misshapen. Instead, hang them or store them loosely to prevent creasing or compression.

If they do pick up any odors in storage, try airing them outside before the next use.


Read Care Labels


Different ski pant models use a variety of technical fabrics and construction methods. To get the longest life out of yours, read through any care instructions provided by the manufacturer.

They may have specific recommendations on the frequency of washing, preferred detergents, waterproofing products to use, and storage tips based on the plant materials.




Proper cleaning and maintenance of your ski pants is essential to ensure they perform at their best and last for many seasons on the slopes. By following the right washing methods and care tips, you can keep your pants breathing well, shedding moisture effectively, and providing the warmth and protection you need for epic days skiing or riding in any conditions.

But with a little know-how, it's easy to keep your ski pants in top shape. Washing them properly every few wears, avoiding compression in storage, and refreshing the DWR coatings as needed ensures your investment in quality outerwear pays off year after year.


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