How To Clean A Raincoat

How to clean a raincoat
How to clean a raincoat

Table of Contents

Your raincoat can last longer than you think with the right cleaning and care. If you clean raincoats using excessive agitation (in a washing machine) and hot water then you are ruining its finish.

Raincoats can only withstand water exposure, they can’t withstand reckless washing. So, in this article, we will share how to clean raincoats properly so that they can last longer and stay in good condition.

Here’s what you need to know about how to clean raincoat:

When you should clean a raincoat

You don’t have to clean a raincoat after every wear. They need proper washing generally once a month or when they are worn 10-15 times. Minor stains can be removed using a damp cloth and soapy water.

Click here to know more about raincoats.

Pro – tip

Never use bleach, fabric softener, detergents that contain bleach or other laundry additives to clean raincoats. They might damage or dissolve the waterproof elements of raincoat.

How To Remove Stains From A Raincoat Using Soapy Water

How to remove stains from a raincoat
How to remove stains from a raincoat

The most stains on raincoats are generally mud stains. Luckily, you can remove them without washing the entire raincoat. Here’s what you can do:

  • Just fill a large bowl with water.
  • Mix 1-2 drops of liquid detergent or liquid dish wash (Vim, Pril, etc.). Mix until the water gets sudsy.
  • Dip a sponge or microfiber towel in this water.
  • Wipe the mud stain with the damp sponge or towel until the stain is not visible.
  • Now, dampen another clean cloth or sponge in clean water.
  • Wipe the stained area with this clean damp cloth or sponge to remove soapy residue.
  • Hang the raincoat using a hanger in a clean, dust-free area and let it air-dry.

If there is a very tough stain that came from ink, oil, etc. then you might need to get help of a dry cleaner.

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Now, let’s move to the two ways to clean raincoats:

How To Clean Raincoat – Hand Wash & Machine Wash

  • Machine wash
  • Hand wash

Before choosing any of these methods, check the care label on raincoat.

Generally, you can hand wash or machine wash raincoats. However, some raincoats require special care. Thus, you should check the care label near the collar. Some manufacturers may suggest particular cleaners to clean raincoats. Some may recommend only hand wash or stain treatment only. If there are no specific wash care instructions, you can go ahead with the process explained below.

Apart from washing instructions, it also mentions the fabric type of raincoat and states whether it has a water-resistant finish that you need to reapply over time.


How To Clean Raincoats In The Washing Machine

How to clean raincoats in a machine
How to clean raincoats in a machine

Does your raincoat need a water-resistant finish? Get it done by experts.

How To Clean A Raincoat Without Using Washing Machine

  • Step 1: Put your raincoat in the washing machine

    Close all the zippers, loops and buttons on the placket and pockets of the raincoat. In case the raincoat has a removable belt and cap, remove them. Place such belts and caps separately in a mesh laundry bag and put them in the washer along with the raincoat.

  • Step 2: Add your regular laundry detergent

    These days there are some fancy specific cleaners found in the market which are formulated specially to clean raincoats. If you are using such cleaners in place of a regular laundry detergent, then you will need to clean raincoats separately from other dirty clothes.

    We would recommend you pick your regular laundry detergent for this purpose because raincoats generally don’t require a special cleaner.

    Caution: Avoid using soaps containing perfumes, enzymes, or surfactants.

    Here's a quick guide to choose right detergent.

  • Step 3: Run the machine on ideal settings

    Always set your washing machine on the gentle or lowest setting to clean raincoats. Because the finish of raincoats can get damaged with excessive agitation caused by high heat settings. Use cold water as well.

    Read more about washing machine settings.

  • Step 4: Unload and check for soapy residue

    Once the wash cycle ends, take out the raincoat and see if it needs a second rinse. Sometimes detergent leftover stays on the raincoat. If they are visible, then rinse the raincoat again.

  • Step 5: Dry your coat

    Hang the raincoat using a hanger in a clean, dust-free, ventilated area and let it air-dry. We never recommend you put a raincoat in the clothes dryer machine because excessive heat is not the best thing for them. However, if you still want to use a clothes dryer, here is what you need to do:

    • Close all the zippers, velcros, buttons, and loops
    • Run the dryer machine on low heat
    • Put 3-4 towels along with the raincoat in the drum (It will absorb excess moisture and prevent excessive contact of the dryer’s heat with the raincoat).


    Caution: Sometimes even the gentlest setting of a dryer machine can be too high for raincoats. As a result, raincoats can get cracks or flakiness.

How to clean raincoats without using machine
How to clean raincoats without using machine
  • Fill a bucket (preferably a 10-litre bucket) with a shallow layer (1/3rd of the bucket) of cold water.
  • Add a teaspoon of powdered detergent or 2-3 drops of liquid detergent to water.
  • Stir the water with your hands until it is sudsy.
  • Now, close all the zippers, velcros, and buttons. If there are any removable belts or caps, remove them as well.
  • Soak the raincoat, belts and caps (if any) in the water.
  • Leave it for 2-3 minutes.
  • Then, take it out and lay it on a clean and flat surface.
  • Scrub the outside area of the raincoat using a scrubbing brush in a to-and-fro motion gently.
  • Repeat the same process on the inside part to clean the raincoat.
  • Dip your sponge or brush back into the soapy water regularly to prevent it from drying out.
  • Once you clean raincoat completely, drain the soapy water in the bucket.
  • Refill the bucket with clean water and rinse the coat.
  • Rinse at least two times to ensure there is no detergent residue left in the clean raincoat.
  • Air-dry the raincoat. Hang it using a hanger in a clean, dust-free area.
Air drying is always better than drying clothes in machine. However, while cleaning a raincoat we strictly do not recommend using dryer machine as the heat and agitation can damage the raincoat severely.

Caution: Never iron your raincoat. It can get burnt instantly when contacted with a heavily heated baseplate of iron. 

Key Takeaway

If you will give slight attention to your raincoats, they will last longer. Hence, do follow the above mentioned steps to clean a raincoat. 

It is always better to clean them without using machines. However, if you are using a washing machine, make sure to use gentle cycle. 

In case your raincoat has any strong stains like ink stain or rust stain, you can get them removed from your nearest dry cleaner. As they may be tough to remove at home. 

For more such articles on cleaning and washing, keep visitng Tumbledry as we post a lot on these topics.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not necessarily purport to reflect the values or views of Tumbledry.

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