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The best way to care for modern marine technical clothing

by Mark Jardine on 11 Oct 2016
Henri Lloyd's Craig Prest Henri Lloyd
Marine technical clothing has come a long way in the last few years and with it, the way to care for it has evolved. We talked to Craig Prest, Creative Director at Henri Lloyd, about the best way to care for your kit.

Mark: There seems to be a number of misconceptions about what to do if your kit seems to be worn, not waterproof any more. How should you actually care for modern off-shore racing gear?

Craig: Yes, there are a lot of misconceptions, and I think it's quite simple. After wearing it racing, the best thing to do is just to spray it down with cold water. Absolutely don't use any washing detergents or solutions because they will just break down the coatings. So just a simple rinse of water will generally improve the coating life span as well.

One of the things that absolutely improves and maintains the quality of the durable water-repellent coatings, as we call them DWRs, is by simply tumble-drying it. The heat reinvigorates the coating, and that will improve that durable coating no end. People don't really know about it, it's not something we talk about a lot, but after a couple of times washing, put it in a tumble dryer for 20 minutes at a low setting, say 40 degrees, and you will help rebuild that coating and it will last much longer. Just check your care label first to see if it allows for the garment to be tumble dried.

Mark: A few years ago, if someone suggested to me to put my offshore gear in a tumble dryer, I'd look at them like they were mad. Now you're saying this can actually reinvigorate the coating and help restore its waterproof qualities and can look after it?

Craig: Absolutely, and I know I'm going to sound like an old washer woman here, but one of the best things you can do is put your washing machine through a service cycle. I know it sounds crazy, but if you look in the manual of your washing machine, there is an area on a service, and what that does is put a 90 degrees water heat through your machine. It takes all the washing powder, and all the solutions that have been built up, out of the rims of the doors and pipes and not only will it improve the longevity of your washing machine, but in terms of washing your clothes and especially with regards to looking after your sailing kit, it will definitely improve.

Mark: So if you were going to go through the steps, every time you sail, wash it off with fresh water, no detergent.

Craig: Correct.

Mark: And every few times, give it a tumble dry. Forty degrees for around twenty minutes is enough?

Craig: Yes.

Mark: What other things can you do? Such as re-proofing. How do you go about doing that?

Craig: That's really simple, you can buy re-proofing solutions from Henri Lloyd. These are chemical solutions that have been passed to be environmentally-friendly as well, and basically you just add these into a simple fresh water cycle and what they'll do is replenish and give you a second life of coating to your product. And again, if you then tumble dry that, it will last even longer.

Mark: I feel like I've learnt a lot just now, and unlearnt what I used to know!

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