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No one likes laundry days, Amirite? However, when it comes to your ski pants, you need to get busy, as they can only last so much without a good wash.

In fact, that’s the case with all ski clothes. Frequent use tends to tear down and eradicate the waterproof coating they are manufactured with to protect skiers against winter dampness.

Nonetheless, this begs the question! How exactly do you wash ski wear that is meant to be well…waterproof.

Today’s article is all about how to wash ski pants properly, reinforce their waterproof coating, and ensure yourself a healthy, clean ski routine.

First of all, let’s have a look at why it is important to wash ski pants regularly.

Overview of Ski Clothes

special detergent

Skiing is a demanding sport! That means a lot of sweating, huffing, and puffing is happening underneath all those ski-wear layers in the snow. Naturally, your snow pants are bound to get dirty and clogged with sweat.

With your ski gear in dire need of a good scrub-a-dub-dub, the moisture and grime accumulated on the fabric tend to clog its pores, encouraging breathability. Moreover, the waterproofing system of most ski pants will most likely stop functioning when they get super dirty.

It’s actually pretty simple! When dirt collects in the pores of the clothing, then water vapors can’t escape. Resultantly, the quality of your ski pants drops as well as your ski performance.

And who wants to deal with a case of water vapor on sweaty, clammy legs while on the slopes? Couldn’t be me!

How to Wash Ski Pants in the Washing Machine

Follow these easy steps to get squeaky-clean ski pants:

Check the Pockets

A common mistake we are all guilty of! There’s always that one stray tissue paper, ink pen, or lip balm that ends up ruining our clean laundry load. You want to make sure no mishap of this sort ends up destroying your snow pants.

Moreover, all stick-on passes and tickets that are glued onto your pants should be removed. They just get shredded in the washing machine and stick all over the fabric.

Prep the Garment

Open pockets with button or zip closures should be fastened, as well as all Velcro straps. You don’t want anything to snag or rip at your snow pants while they are spinning in the washtub.

Next, turn your pants inside out. This helps protect any embroidery and decorative embellishments on the surface of your trousers and ensures the inner lining (which is in direct contact with your skin) of the snow pants gets the most cleaning.

Pre-Treat Stains

It happens to the best of us! Ketchup, greasy food, or a little tumble in the mud. We all can get visible stains in the weirdest places. However, when washing snow pants, you need to treat those before putting these suckers in the machine.

skiing clothes

Stain remover and liquid dish soap are the two best options for removing all food stains, be it chocolate, grease, or coffee. Use a toothbrush or a soft laundry brush and go to work on the stain.

Don’t hesitate to scrub till the stain clears out because ski pants are a tough breed. They can handle some little scrubbing, tugging, and rubbing. You’ll need to leave the stain remover to work its charm for almost 15 minutes before beginning to brush at it.

Add to the Washing Machine

water-repellent coating

Most ski pants are machine washable, but it is better you check the tag before popping them in the machine to avoid the risk of ruining your favorite pair.

The keyword over here is “cold water”! Take it as a rule of thumb that ski pants should always be washed in cold water. Snow pants are manufactured with high resistance to heat; therefore, if you must wash with hot water, warm water is the only acceptable temperature.

Next, avoid high speeds and set the wash cycle to a gentle or delicate cycle, and if you want other clothes in the same load, then similar fabrics are only allowed. Lastly, and most importantly, use a mild laundry detergent (check the label of your ski clothes for directions).

Fabric softeners and fabric softener sheets are the biggest enemies of your ski pants, as they can negatively impact the waterproof clothing capability of your snow pants. After the cycle is finished, if your trousers still feel soapy, go ahead and put them through a second rinse cycle.

However, remember to set a timer for when you wash ski pants, as accidentally leaving them in the machine for too long could reduce their lifespan and cause wrinkles to the fabric.

Use Waterproofing Solution 

After every wash, your snow pants need a good pampering session. A waterproofing solution is your best friend in times like these, as it not only increases the lifetime of the pants but also promises you a flawless skiing experience.

Make sure to find a waterproofing solution that is designed for clothes and not tents or sleeping bags, as the wrong waterproofing solution could do more harm than good. Run your ski gear through another cycle with the waterproofing cleaner, and remember to use cold water.

Air-Dry Your Ski Pants, if Possible

You must have heard about this before. But if you haven’t, here it goes… dry cleaning your clothes in the dryer reduces their lifetime by half. This is especially endangering where ski pants are involved, as the spinning and rough tumble drying in the machine can decrease their quality.

On a similar note, do not dry your ski pants in direct sunlight or on a radiator, as such high heat sources can lead to color fading and shrinking. Leave them to air-dry in a place where there is a healthy circulation of air and no nearby obstructions/other clothing.

How to Wash Ski Pants by Hand

Our ancestors did it at some point, so why not! Sometimes, machine washing isn’t exactly a viable option, so we have to resort to our bare basic amenities.

Check & Secure Pockets

The procedure is fairly similar as you need to make sure nothing could potentially destroy your ski pants pockets or inner linings. Secure all the zippers, open clasps, and Velcro straps.

Use a Stain Remover

how to wash ski pants

Using stain remover on any existing stains is all the more essential when you aren’t using a washing machine. To remove stains on the trousers, simply apply stain remover or liquid dish soap and leave it on for 15 minutes before scrubbing with a brush (any toothbrush works great).

You can also opt for pre-treating your ski pants with laundry sprays before getting down to washing them by hand. If you are opting for a pre-treatment solution, then you will need to pay close attention to your ski pants’ material and go for a solution that is befitting that.

Fill a Bucket With Water and Detergent

The next step is to fetch a bucket big enough to accommodate your ski pants. Fill it with cold water and add the appropriate amount of laundry detergent. Make sure you are using gentle detergent suitable for your ski pants (read the label on your pants for instructions).

Mix the water till the soap is well incorporated, then soak your trousers in to begin the washing process.

how to wash snow gear

Wash and Rinse

Soak your ski pants in the soapy water until they are fully immersed, and you can tell the liquid detergent has gotten into every nook and cranny. Gently wash ski pants by immersing them to and fro in the water and squeezing (not ringing) them to absorb and expel the water.

After you’re satisfied with your ski pants cleaning, squeeze all excess water out (do not ring the fabric between your hands). Rinse the pants under clear running water till all the detergent is removed and the surface of the material doesn’t feel soapy anymore.

Next, hang them to air dry in a well-ventilated area away from any direct sunlight or heat source on a strong hangar (not hook).


How Often Should You Wash Your Ski Pants and Snow Gear?

If you are an occasional skier, then twice a season is enough to both maintain your trouser’s material quality and keep you feeling clean and waterproof. However, contrary to popular belief, you do not need to wash your ski pants after every wear.

The base layers that you utilize underneath are the ones you should be washing after every wear as they are in direct contact with your skin.

Nevertheless, if you are a very frequent skier, then you should use your own sense of hygiene and cleanliness to determine how frequently to rinse them.

How Do You Waterproof Ski Pants?

Ski pants are generally regarded as waterproof clothing; however, after every wash, you should run them in a gentle cycle with waterproofing solutions to refine and improve the quality. Waterproofing can also be done with spray-on water repellent.

It is entirely a question of personal preference as some skiers state that wash-in waterproofing isn’t suitable for their trousers as it softens the fabric. But that also depends on the fabric type of your pants.

What Detergent Do You Use on Ski Pants and Snow Gear?

It is recommended to use powder detergent instead of liquid detergent as liquid detergent draws water right through to the fabric hence reducing fabric surface tension.

If you can get your hands on waterproofing detergents, then you are in the best of luck, as they do the whole job with just one product. However, avoid using a fabric softener or a harsh detergent.


Washing snow pants is a fairly easy but time-consuming activity that needs direct focus and attention. It is of key importance to not wash ski pants too frequently as that can reduce fabric and product quality.

Make sure you follow the right steps to wash your ski pants down to the last full stop to avoid any sort of inconvenience and mishaps. The littlest of mistakes can lead to blunders that could wreak havoc on your pricey ski wear.

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