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How to wash a windbreaker in 4 steps

Windbreakers are the perfect lightweight layer for cooler days and breezy evenings. But, just like any clothing item, they need to be taken care of. If you want your windbreaker to last longer, it's important to keep it clean and make sure it is washed correctly.

Learn how to properly clean your family's favorite windbreakers to keep them looking and feeling great.

A gray washer and dryer set in a laundry room A gray washer and dryer set in a laundry room

Can you wash a windbreaker?

You can usually machine wash a windbreaker. Windbreakers are made of lightweight materials that can usually be machine washed. However, it’s important to read the care labels on windbreakers before you put them in the washing machine, as different windbreaker materials may require specific cleaning methods.

How to wash windbreaker jackets

Washing windbreaker jackets doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming. With the right knowledge and technique, you can make sure your windbreaker maintains its looks with minimal effort. To wash your family's windbreaker jackets, follow these simple steps.

  • Mild liquid laundry detergent

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Step 1: Prepare windbreaker for washing

Before washing, check all pockets for any items that may be left inside and remove them before cleaning the windbreaker. Check the garment's care tag for specific washing instructions.

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Step 2: Wash the windbreaker

After turning it inside-out, place the windbreaker in the washing machine by itself or with similar items. If washing only one or two items, consider adding a few towels to help balance out the load.


Add the manufacturer's recommended amount of detergent and set the washer to a bedding and sheets or bulky cycle with a slow/low spin speed. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommended water temperature, as well.


Avoid using fabric softener as it may impact the performance of the windbreaker.

If you choose, handwashing windbreakers is also an effective way to keep your family’s favorite windbreaker clean. To hand wash, follow these steps:


  • Fill a clean sink or tub with cold water and add a small amount of mild liquid detergent.

  • Dip the garment into the soapy water and slowly swirl the windbreaker with your hands.

  • Allow the windbreaker to soak for about 15 minutes.

  • Empty the sink or tub, then fill it again with cold, clean water.

  • Dip the windbreaker in the water several times until all soap is removed.

  • Repeat with clean water until all soap is removed.

  • Roll up the windbreaker in a towel after hand washing to help remove excess water.

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Step 3: Dry the windbreaker

Place windbreakers on a flat surface or hang them to dry. Depending on the material, you may be able to tumble dry your windbreaker on low heat. 


If hand washing, roll up the windbreaker in a towel after washing to help remove excess water before laying out to dry.

Clothes in a washing machine Clothes in a washing machine

How do you wash different windbreaker materials?

Windbreakers are typically made from durable materials like polyester, nylon or cotton blends. Fortunately, you should be able to wash most of these materials safely in the washing machine.

As always, make sure to read the garment's care label before adding it to a wash cycle. To be safe, it's usually best to consider handwashing.

A woman loading laundry A woman loading laundry

How do you dry windbreakers after washing?

To help protect the waterproof coating of the windbreaker, it's best to use low or no heat when drying. If the care label mentions machine-drying, you may be able to tumble dry the windbreaker on low heat.

Should I wring excess water out of my windbreaker after hand washing?

Wringing excess water out of a windbreaker after hand washing may help reduce drying time, but it’s important to be gentle. 

Remove excess water before hanging or laying flat to dry by rolling the item inside a towel, then gently squeezing the towel to remove water. Continue this process until the jacket no longer drips water.

Tips for removing stains from windbreakers

It’s always best to pre-treat windbreaker stains as soon as possible. To keep your windbreaker looking its best, be sure to treat the stain immediately before it settles into your clothing. Always consult your garment’s care label before using stain removers as they may damage the material of your windbreaker. A mixture of laundry detergent and warm water can work as an effective alternative for a wide range of stains.

A stacked laundry set A stacked laundry set

Explore Whirlpool® washers

Whirlpool® washers make windbreaker washing easy and convenient with a variety of cycles that can be perfect perfect for any fabric type. Keep your entire household's clothes clean and fresh by exploring helpful features like the Load & Go™ Bulk Detergent Dispenser and the 12-Hour FanFresh® Option for greater control over your family's laundry.

Get more washing tips with Whirlpool brand

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