Cold weather is here, and that means families everywhere are getting their winter sports clothing and other gear out of storage and ready for the season. From winter coats to snowboards, your cold-weather gear requires special care to keep it in top shape. Follow these tips for maintaining winter gear, and it will last for years to come.
How to Clean Winter Boots
Boots are susceptible to snow, ice, and road salt or sand, leaving dirt and water stains. To help them last longer than just one season, it's essential to learn how to clean snow boots, especially if this is your first time weathering snow and ice.
First, do your best to prevent damage. At the beginning of the winter season, spray your boots with a waterproofing substance that also protects against stains and salt. Be sure to look for a coating that won't ruin leather or suede, and reapply at least once later in the winter.
Even if you plan on waterproofing your snow gear, you'll still want to learn how to get rid of salt and dirt. While you can purchase products designed to desalt and clean your footwear, you can just as easily mix up your own solution at home. Good Housekeeping recommends cleaning winter boots with a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. Dab the solution on the affected areas, rinse your boots off with a wet cloth, wipe them dry, and allow them to air-dry completely.
Keep in mind that you can't use wet cleaning methods on suede boots. Try lightly brushing stained areas or using a soft towel to rework the nap. Then apply a water-repellant solution to keep water away throughout the rest of the winter.
How to Wash Snow Clothes
If you or your kids spend time sledding, snowboarding, or skiing during the winter, your winter coats and snow pants undoubtedly get frequent use. While you don't need to launder them every day, cleaning winter gear is necessary a few times per season.
First, check the labels for cleaning instructions. Winter outwear is often made with special fabrics and waterproof materials, so you'll want to know how to wash them without causing damage. Luckily, the majority of snow and ski clothes are machine washable. The best detergent for ski clothes is very mild, like Woolite, or specially formulated for waterproof gear. Wash winter coats on the gentle cycle, and make sure you don't overload the washing machine. That way you'll clean the coat thoroughly without damaging the waterproof technology.
No matter what you do, never tumble dry winter coats or snow pants, especially if they're designed to be waterproof. Hang them up away from the direct sun and allow them to dry completely.
How to Maintain Snowboards and Skis
Just as important as ski wear cleaning is keeping your board or skis in top shape. After use, you'll want to take a few minutes for waxing and cleaning skis and snowboards, as this will keep your gear from drying out. Apply a high-temperature wax and scrape it off to remove old dirt and grime. Add a new coat of wax, allow to dry, and store your skis or snowboard safely until the slopes call again.
Ski and Snowboard Boot Storage
To clean snowboard boots or ski boots, remove the liners and allow them to dry. Use a gentle detergent to clean the inside and outside of each boot, dry with a towel, and allow the boots to dry overnight. Place them in a clean, dry bag for storage.
How to Clean Ice Skates
Whether you skate a few times each winter or you're out on the ice every day, it's important to clean your ice skates properly. Rust and general use can damage the blades, while water can harm the boots. To help the boots last as long as possible, apply a waterproofing solution regularly or polish them frequently. After each skating session, take a moment to dry off the underside of the boots to prevent water damage.
Don't forget to dry off the blades with a soft cloth and slip guards over the blades before you walk on any hard surfaces. Don't leave them in place for an extended period of time, though, because they'll be prone to rust. When you're ready to store your skates overnight or for a few weeks, place them on an absorbent surface that will continue to draw ice and moisture away.
If you plan to use storage for winter clothes and sports gear at the end of the season, it's even more important to ensure they're in great condition. From ski and snowboard storage tips to properly storing winter clothes, we've got more great tips right here on our blog.