Currently, there are significant changes happening in the outdoor industry regarding waterproofing, specifically the shift towards fluorocarbon-free DWR in waterproof clothing.
This article explores the importance of maintaining your waterproof gear if it has been treated with DWR, as well as how this maintenance will change with the transition to fluorocarbon-free DWR.
The term DWR means durable water repellent finish.
This process involves using chemicals to impart water repellency to the fabric's outer layer. It's important to note that not all chemicals are harmful, as water is a chemical and our bodies are composed of chemicals as well.
However the type of chemical that has been used for water repellency in the outdoor industry for years is so repellent and so durable that it doesn't break down when it gets into the environment.
These along with other so-called forever chemicals just persist in nature.
The entire characteristic that enables them to be used in water repellent applications is their ultimate environmental downfall. They're just too good at the job and will never go away. As more of it enters our environment, we start to see bioaccumulation in wildlife and in people.
We already know it has some pretty bad side effects and we don't have the full picture yet on how bad those side effects could be.
What are we doing about it?
That's why companies like Rab are moving away from these types of longer chain chemicals and looking for other ways of maintaining water repellency, breathability, and durability from smaller chain chemicals that are less harmful to the environment.
We want to make sure that the garments we create have as little lasting impact on our planet as possible.
Removing forever chemical treatments from the outdoor industry is just one way we can do that. Another is to make sure they stay useful for as long as possible. So caring for your clothing is essential to make sure we aren't making more of an impact than we need to.
As we move away from the more harmful chemicals to our newer less harmful alternatives, the way we care for our gear is going to change.
We need to make that extra effort to keep them in proper working order:
- We need to wash our gear more frequently and use a detergent that is designed for waterproof fabrics.
- We need to avoid using fabric softeners, as these can coat the fabric and make it less water-repellent.
- We need to more regularly reproof the DWR on our garments as part of the general maintenance/wash cycle with either a wash in, or spray on proofer.
By following these simple tips, we can help to ensure that our waterproof gear stays in good condition and that we are doing our part to protect the environment.
For more information about how to wash and proof your waterproof gear checkout the article HERE