How to

Cleaning Winter Gear

Winter is coming!

If you didn’t clean all your winter gear in early spring before packing it away, now is the time to pull out the winter jackets, coats, scarves, hats, boots and gloves.  While you’re at it, check your sports equipment like skates, snowboards, and skis for any needed repairs and cleaning so you’re ready to get outside and enjoy the snow and ice. Where to start? 



Check gear over for stains and rips, read care labels, and sort into groups of: repairs needed, washable, dry-clean only or do not fit - donate. Children grow quickly and may need new garments and sports equipment.  



Following the care label instructions is very important for maintaining the life and look of the garment or winter accessory.  

  • Maintaining fabric finishes requires proper water temperature, correct type of cleaning products and procedure for drying - whether flat dry, drip dry or machine dry.  
  • Weather resistant garments will usually have a label indicating if they require a special soap or product for laundering and any other requirement such as air drying and application of a water proofing spray after cleaning. These products can be picked up at sporting goods stores.  
  • When washing jackets, empty pockets, zip all zippers and attach all Velcro to prevent damage. Pretreat stains before washing and turn inside out to prevent wear and tear on the outside fabric. 
  • Hats and scarves may require hand washing in lukewarm water, blotting and flat drying to maintain their shape. If machine washing, put into lingerie bags to keep pairs together and prevent matting outside surfaces. 
  • Wipe and polish boots or, if boots are washable, wash and completely dry before wearing. Sports enzyme sprays and cleaners are available at sporting goods stores for boots that cannot be machine washed.  



Research proper care procedure before buying replacement winter jackets and coats, they are an investment and may have further costs if they need professional drycleaning.   



The end of every season is a great time to go over outerwear, hats, boots and seasonal gear.  Repair, clean or discard so they are ready when needed. A cool, dry, dark location is best for storage. Under bed bins, high shelves in closets, hanging garment bags, extra closets or large bins are also great for storing winter gear. However, do not over-pack items into containers and be sure everything is fully dried before storing. 

It is also nice to pull out your boots and find them clean and polished. 


Winter Sports Gear 

Most sports gear is a large investment and, as such, you should ensure proper maintenance and storage of these items to get the longest lifespan possible.  

  • Wipe or wash, thoroughly dry, condition and repair your equipment before and after each use.  
  • Place items away from direct sunlight and heat to prevent deterioration.  
  • Store skis in a dry area to prevent rust from developing on metal edges.  
  • Avoid storing wet gear in bags, even for a short time, that can trap moisture inside.  
  • Snow boards, skis, and ski boots should not be stored in vacuum sealed bags as they need air to prevent mold.  
  • Snowshoes and skates should be hung up.  
  • Skis can be stored under a bed or in overhead rafters of your garage to keep them out of the way. 


Many manufacturer’s websites have care instructions and how they can be reached for more information. 


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