Most breathable garments have a membrane sandwiched between two layers of fabric that allows vapor to escape while keeping water out. Just as important is the invisible fluorocarbon polymer treatment on the outer surface. That’s what makes water run off your shoulders. Over time your jacket becomes permeated with dirt and pollutants, reducing the polymer treatment’s ability to shed water. The garment then starts to absorb moisture, which soaks the fabric and prevents it from breathing.
To restore the protection, wash your jacket thoroughly with Sport-Wash from Atsko (800-845-2728; www.atsko.com). Don’t use ordinary detergents, which leave significant amounts of residue that can affect the jacket’s ability to shed water. Once it’s clean, throw it in the dryer at the manufacturer’s recommended heat setting. You’ll be ready for the next monsoon. –PETER B. MATHIESEN