How To Wash Ski Pants? (Without Damage)

by Alaina Johnson | Updated: February 8th, 2023 |  Skiing Articles

While washing your ski gear may not sound like a particularly challenging task, it can be difficult if you don't know what material your pants are made of and how to ensure they are properly cleaned without affecting the durability of the trousers.

When washing your ski pants, you'll want to use a gentle detergent and skip the laundry additives — such as fabric softener or any scents. Once washed, you'll want to allow the pants to air dry to avoid any potential shrinkage. Protecting the waterproof layer is key during the washing process.

Blue Skier Pants

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What Material Are Your Ski Pants Made From?

Depending on your preferences, you may have ski pants made from a lightweight material such as nylon fabric. Manufacturers often treat ski pants with special polymers which causes them to become waterproof.

Waterproof outerwear is an integral component of any skier's clothing ensemble, as it allows them to stay dry and warm while they're spending the day playing in the snow. It's important that you keep this waterproof layer in mind when you're washing your pants, as if done incorrectly, can cause the pants to lose this important functionality.

Another common material that outerwear manufacturers use to create snow pants is polyester. Similar to nylon, it's a commonly available material that's also highly durable and water-resistant. Polyester dries quickly and is resistant to mildew, which makes it a great candidate for the snowy weather you'll find on a mountain.

Step-By-Step Instructions For Cleaning Your Ski Pants

woman skiing

In order to ensure your ski pants are cleaned and preserve their original functionality, you'll want to follow the below instructions. If it's your first time washing the pants since you purchased them, it may seem like a complicated process but in reality, it's quite straightforward.

1. Check All of Your Pockets

An important but often forgotten step is to ensure that you don't have any keys, change, or other personal items in the pockets of your trousers. You'll want to empty the pockets of anything before you proceed to wash the pants.

2. Close All Velcro and Zipper Components

In order to preserve the functionality of all the zippers and velcro, you'll want to affix them before washing. If left open, the velcro can actually damage the material by pulling and tearing at it during the course of the wash cycle.


3. Turn the Pants Inside Out

This step is only necessary if you have any decorative elements on the ski trousers. If not, you can feel free to leave them right side out.

4. Add Liquid Detergent (Not Powder!)

Once your ski pants are inside the washing machine, add the regular amount of detergent. You'll want to avoid any fabric softener as it can affect the waterproof nature of the garment.

5. Wash The Pants On a Medium Cycle

Due to ski pants often not having a high resistance to heat, you don't want to wash them in super hot water. Stick to a warm or cool cycle and keep the spin cycle to low or medium as well.

washing machine

6. Remove The Ski Pants Promptly

You don't want to accidentally forget your ski pants inside of the washing machine, so set a timer to remind you to remove them. Leaving them inside the washer can cause them to become wrinkly.


How Do You Dry Ski Pants?

yellow ski pants

Now that your pants are thoroughly cleaned, you need to fully dry them. Unlike other clothing, you don't want to put your ski apparel into the dryer as this can cause irreparable damage to the material and overall functionality.

Instead, you'll want to find a sturdy wooden hanger and allow the pants to air dry. Allow the pants plenty of room and don't hang them up in the closet near other clothes — as this will cause dampness.

Don't place the air-drying pants near sunlight or another heat source, as this can cause shrinkage and potential fading. The material used to make ski pants is often not resistant to high heat, as it's intended for snow and cold weather.

How Often Should You Wash Your Ski Pants?

using washing machine

The question of how often you should wash your ski pants is one posed by even the most veteran skiers. After all, it requires some elbow grease and a time commitment to ensure the job is properly done.

No need to worry, however. You don't need to wash your pants after every use and depending on how often you hit the slopes, you may not even need to wash them multiple times a season.

If you're skiing once or twice a year, you can definitely get away with washing your ski trousers once — usually at the beginning of the season so they're fresh and clean. After all, you're not putting much wear and tear on them and they shouldn't accumulate too much dirt and debris buildup.

If you live near a local ski hill and you ski most weekends, you'll want to increase the frequency with which you wash your clothing. You should avoid having your ski clothes dry cleaned, as the harsh chemicals can be detrimental to the waterproof coating on your pants and coat.

What Do You Do About Stains On Your Ski Pants?

Ski in Red Jacket

If you notice a few areas of staining on your pants, you'll want to treat them with a specific stain solution. Stains become especially noticeable if your ski pants are white or light-colored and you'll want to get rid of the marks before you hit the slopes again.

Depending on the fabric of your ski pants, you'll want a spot treatment that's directly intended for that type of material. It's likely that one of your regular stain removers will work for your ski pants — but read the instructions first. Apply the solution to the stain and rub it in. Allow it to soak in for 10-15 minutes before rinsing the area or throwing the pants into the washing machine for a more thorough cleaning.

Can You Hand-Wash Ski Pants?

If you don't have access to a washing machine, you can absolutely choose to hand wash your ski pants. To do so, you'll want a bucket of warm water and some gentle laundry detergent. Simply soak the pants inside of the bucket and agitate them every few minutes to ensure that the detergent gets everywhere. Avoid twisting or stretching the material, as it's unnecessary for proper cleaning.

Afterward, you'll want to rinse the jacket completely under running water. Make sure no detergent is left behind or it will leave a sudsy layer on your pants. To dry, simply air dry them as explained above and you'll have a fresh pair of ski pants ready to go!


Skiing and Snowboarding
Photo by Ritten_Renon licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

While washing your ski pants (or Trousers) may not be a task you look forward to, it's important to take care of your investment so that it will last you for multiple years. Washing all of your ski gear in one afternoon can get it out of the way for an entire season if you ski infrequently.

When washing your outerwear, you should never use harsh chemicals or laundry additives such as fabric softener, as this can cause the weatherproof or GoreTex layer to break down and be less effective. Allowing the clothes to air dry is the final step in the process and can ensure that you avoid any shrinkage.