How to Wash Ski Pants

Cori Gramms
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Initial Considerations

Although ski pants look like regular pants, they are still a bit different. They are made from different materials, covered in a different kind of fabric, and treated with a few different types of dirt repelling sprays. And they are also exposed to different kinds of weather conditions, so you need to take care of them in a different way. Also, there are many types of Ski Pants, and not all of them are all treated equally.

Each type of ski pants requires a slightly different care process. As a general rule, though, you’ll want to wash them in a commercial or residential sanitizer. And you’ll want to wash them by hand, not machine.

How to Wash Ski Pants

We all can understand the need to clean and maintain our ski boots. However, most ski bums might not understand the need to wash their ski pants. But this is a very important activity for maintaining ski pants in good condition.

Fortunately, the process is quite simple but can take up to 24 hours to do all the wash and dry cycles.

Note …the kinds or materials of pants you have will determine the process of caring for them. If you’re just regular ski pants, keeping the inside and outside clean is the best that you’re going to get. If you have waterproof or heatproof pants, you should follow the instructions from the manufacturer for washing.

After a day or night of skiing, your ski pants are going to be extremely filthy. You need to get this nasty grime off of your pants so it doesn’t get into the pores of the ski pants.

Before you wash your ski pants, you’ll need to remove all of the excess dirt. Shake the pants out and remove all of the snow. Cover up the zippers and button areas with masking tape so they don’t accidentally get into the washing machine.

Create a detergent mixture following the instructions on the packaging for the kind of materials your ski pants are made of.

Step 1: Read the Tag

While sweaters and T-shirts can be tossed into the washing machine, there are a few basic details you need to know to ensure that your ski pants are cleaned the right way:

Pants: With jackets, follow these two steps to avoid ruining your ski pants: (1) Read the initial instructions on the pants tag and (2) read the washing instruction for the jacket (if you purchased it separately). For example, some pants are dry-clean only, while some are machine washable. Some jackets can be machine washed, but the pants need to be hand washed.

Footwear Attachment: Before you toss your ski pants into the washing machine, let’s be safe. Remove the toe and heel attachments to prevent damage to rubber or the main fabric. These parts are easy to detach. If you're not sure which part to remove, a quick online search should confirm this.

Step 2: Prep Your Pants

Take a look at the manufacturer’s instructions. They will give you the best information on how to go about cleaning your specific snow pants.

But generally, you remove the pants and turn them inside out.

You should also give the pants a good shake and then hang them up to air dry so that no water will damage the fabric.

Now the pants are ready to get washed.

Step 3: Put the Pants in the Wash

If you’ve got a high-quality ski suit, you’d be crazy not to clean it in a washer. You can skip this step and opt for a hand wash instead, but this is brushing off an opportunity to wash your suit with some of your favorite liquid detergent.

As with any wash, use cold water and always turn the suit inside out. Most ski pants have a waterproof outer shell with a water- or stain-repellant coating or treatment, but virtually all of these have a water-resistant lining that helps keep your skin cozy and warm. Laundry detergent tends to strip coatings, so stick to the cold-water setting.

Step 4: Air Dry

This is an important final step, because it can ensure that you don’t ruin your pants. A traditional dryer can shrink a ski pant, or even worse, melt the Gore-Tex lining. Also, there’s no reason to dry it, especially if your suit doesn’t have a DWR treatment. Either hang it up outside:

Step 4: Double Wash with a Waterproofing Solution

After washing with the soap solution, your ski pants will probably look clean, even though they're somewhat wash-damaged. The next step is to put the pants back into the washing machine, this time adding a waterproofing product, like Nikwax Waterproofing Spray for Fabric, into the detergent. ”Like most water-repellents, this is best used after the garment has been slightly wetted,” indicates the Nikwax website.

”Using a circular motion, apply to all the waterproof membranes on the outer face of the garment. The membrane is usually on the inside face of the garment. For garments with a Gore-Tex membrane on the outside face, spray onto both faces.”

From here, dry your ski pants following the instructions above. This time, you should see that they are completely dry, and have successfully been waterproofed.

Step 5: Dry Your Pants

If you dry your pants in the sunlight, it can cause fading, so you should use the sun for extra drying only if you’re in a rush to get the pants ready for the next day.

Washing ski pants with the washing bag can potentially harm the water repellent finish of the pants, so you should dry the ski pants completely on your own.

When drying the pants, you should never dry them in direct sunlight.

Finally, you need to wash ski pants in cold water to preserve the water repellent finish on the pants.

Final Thoughts

Ahh the joy of wearing ski pants; warm, comfortable, stylish, and even flattering! But as one size fits all, it’s not always fun to put on a pair over sweaty clothes in the cold.

No matter the reason, you’ll find yourself having to wash your ski pants sooner or later. The good news is that washing them with a few simple steps is easy and makes your pants look like new again!

The two main reasons why you should wash your pants: 1- You’re having trouble getting the smell and the stains out; and 2- your pants got very dirty during a ride.

Now, the biggest mistake you can make is washing them in a machine. Machine may ruin the shell material, because of the beating it takes during washing, spinning and drying.

If you’re washing them in cold water, you can use the machine. If the stains are really bad, scrub them with a toothbrush. Then throw them in the washing machine with some detergent (make sure they are not soapy) and machine wash or hand wash them. Tumble dry or hang to dry.