We are asked many questions on the care of Ventile® and Cotton Analogy® garments.We've jotted down our thoughts below based on our experience.
Taking care of Ventile® and Cotton Analogy® is in many ways similar to other technical fabrics. Keeping the garment clean will maintain performance and prolong the lifetime.
We have many customers with Hilltrek Ventile® garments which are over 30 years old and still going strong. We also see customers' garments that look older than they should and it's sadly due to poor garment care.
Dirt will impact the performance of Ventile® and Cotton Analogy® garments in terms of both water repellency and breathability. Abrasive materials such as sand and grit will damage the cotton fibres as well as soiling by chemicals such as oils, acids, bleaches and detergents.
Removing sand and grit
Prior to more intensive cleaning we recommend gently washing off abrasive materials such as sand and grit - especially on gaiters or trouser legs. Simply use cold water, taking care not to brush the sand into the fibres.
After the garment has dried gently brush off any remaining sand or grit.
Removing chemical stains
Ventile® fibres will also get damaged due to chemicals such as oils, acids, bleaches and detergents.
Our recommendation is to initially wash in cold water. If the chemical is persistent you may have to find a solvent or a commercial stain remover which removes the chemical however this may discolour the fabric. It is best to test the solvent on a concealed part of the garment such as the inside of a pocket or we can send you a swatch of fabric to test the action of the chemical.
Cleaning your garment
Eventually you will require to clean the garment more intensively which raises the question:
- What should I use to clean?
- Should I dry clean?
- Should I hand wash or machine wash?
- How often should I clean?
Ventile® Fabric manufacturers recommend dry cleaning however, although effective, many Hilltrek Ventile® wearers may not want to expose their garment to the chemicals used in dry cleaning. The most common dry cleaning chemical perchloroethylene is classified a toxic chemical in U.S. state of California and its use will become illegal in that state in 2023. Alternative dry cleaning chemicals are not as effective and many are not environmentally sustainable.
In our experience, gentle machine washing in a Nikwax® Tech Wash or similar is the best solution. Use a delicate or hand wash setting which have low wash and spin speeds.
We recommend that you wash your garment separately and ensure that zips and fasteners are closed otherwise this may damage the fabric.
Always ensure that the machine has no detergent deposits in it, especially in the dispenser. Conventional detergents destroy the water-repellent finish on all waterproof garments.
Once washed reshape the garment on a hanger and allow to dry naturally avoiding direct sunlight.
If you wash by hand ensure all residue soap is removed from the garment and re-rinse if necessary.
Reproofing your garment
In time your Hilltrek® Ventile® garment may eventually require to be reproofed.
Our recommendation is to use Nikwax® TX Direct - and not Cotton Proof as is suggested by Ventile.
Wash in Nikwax® TX Direct using the same settings and precautions for the initial wash. Always undertake a cleaning wash in Nikwax Tech Wash prior to washing in the proofer.
There is a careful balance between keeping your Ventile® garment clean and over washing. Washing a Ventile® garment often will result in the garment discolouring faster and the water repellency will have to be restored.
If you are a professional user you may have to wash on a more frequent basis in which case you may have to reproof more often than a normal user.
Note with all Ventile® garments the colour will eventually fade - but that is the beauty of the fabric.
The care for Cotton Analogy® is exactly the same as Ventile®.