How to Clean a Vinyl Rain Jacket

Give your muddy raincoat a wash to restore its original shine.
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If you've worn your vinyl raincoat through a rainy season, it may be time to give it a wash. You might also choose to wash it to remove the fumes before wearing it for the first time. Vinyl is a very durable plastic, which means it's hard to damage -- you can toss it into the washer for a spin without a care, as long as you use the right wash cycle.

Hang your raincoat on a hanger or clothesline outdoors and brush off any dried-on mud with a dry scrub brush. If you're an apartment dweller and don't have outside access, hang it on your shower-curtain rod and brush the dust into the bathtub.

Set the washing machine for a cold wash on the gentle cycle. Toss your raincoat in with a load of towels or jeans -- turn the jeans inside-out first to help prevent fading. Add gentle laundry detergent, but forgo the bleach and fabric softener.

Remove your raincoat from the washing machine after the cycle completes. Put it in the dryer on low heat for three to five minutes to help smooth out any wrinkles.

Hang your raincoat on a hanger to finish drying. Store it in the closet until you're ready to wear it again.

  • Check the label before washing your raincoat. If it contains any materials other than vinyl or other plastics, wipe it clean by hand to be on the safe side.
  • Mild detergents often say "delicates" on the bottle. If the detergent is formulated for washing lingerie or baby clothes, it's fine for washing your raincoat.

S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.