How to increase the longevity of clothing and textiles

Two hikers walk through the mountains

The textile industry is responsible for a significant proportion of CO2 emissions worldwide, so it is all the more important that clothing and other textile products are used for as long as possible. In this article, you can learn how to keep your favorite items like new for as long as possible by taking good care of them.

Why is durability of textiles so important?

When it comes to the production of textiles, it's not up to you how sustainable the manufacturers are. Although there are more and more manufacturers who use recycled materials and CO2-saving processes, there is always a certain amount of emissions. But when it comes to the use of textiles, the situation is completely different. Here you are challenged and can actively do something for the environment:

  • The longer you use an article of clothing, the better its carbon footprint!
  • Long use saves resources and money
  • Good care significantly extends the life of clothing
Two hikers in the Alps

How does a DWR impregnation provide more durability?

Whether it's your ski pants or your waterproof hardshell jacket, good care of your clothing is the be-all and end-all when it comes to durability . More and more textiles in the outdoor and ski clothing sector have a PFC-free DWR impregnation. DWR stands for "durable water repellent".

The DWR impregnation is not only water repellent, but also acts like a protective layer for your clothing. A good impregnation thus ensures an increased service life and should therefore always be well maintained!

Ski pants, hiking pants and outdoor jackets are often provided with this type of impregnation. They are then (unlike classic hardshell jackets) not permanently waterproof, but only water-repellent and do not withstand long exposure to moisture as a rule. Waterproofness is mainly controlled by the membrane, not by the impregnation. The membrane of a jacket therefore makes it waterproof.

Logo DWR impregnation

However, the DWR impregnation, which is also used in waterproof hardshell clothing, manages to keep water from penetrating the outer textile layer: Thus, the rain simply rolls off and creates a pleasant wearing sensation.

  • Interaction of membrane and impregnation ensures waterproof performance
  • Impregnation alone creates water-repellent textiles
  • These are significantly more breathable than, for example, classic rain jackets with a membrane
  • DWR impregnation also serves as a protective layer for the material against dust and dirt
  • Impregnation thus ensures a longer service life for textiles

Check and renew DWR impregnation

Checking the impregnation of your clothing and renewing it if necessary is child's play, we explain how to do it:

  • Spray or drip a little water on the surface of the garment.
  • Does the water bead up? → Perfect, the impregnation is in order.
  • Does the water soak into the fabric after a short time or directly? → You should renew the impregnation
  • You can renew the impregnation by spraying or washing it in.
  • Sport Bittl recommends sprayingwith an Impregnation sprayso you can work very precisely and selectively.
  • Impregnations for washing in, impregnate jackets and other textiles automatically also from the inside: This is not a desired or pleasant effect
Water drops bead up on an impregnated surface

Washing, but properly!

When it comes to durable outdoor and sports clothing, there are a few things to keep in mind when washing. To ensure that your clothing lasts as long as possible, you should always follow the manufacturer's recommendations for washing. This will ensure that your clothes are washed at the right temperature and do not run out or lose color. Especially high-performance textiles like hardshell jackets are sensitive and should be cleaned exactly according to the care instructions. If you do not do this, the impregnation or membrane of the jacket can be damaged, which destroys its waterproofness.

Washing machine in bathroom

In addition, you should always ask yourself the question first: Is a wash cycle necessary at all?

For Hardshell jackets for example, it's worth considering carefully whether you really need to start the washing machine. With their waterproof performance, they are part of the equipment of all outdoor enthusiasts, whether hikers, bikers or ski tourers. The jackets are made of synthetic fabrics such as polyester or polyamide and have a relatively smooth surface that is usually very easy to clean.

A little cold water and soap are usually enough to remove superficial dirt. Machine washing should therefore only be carried out in the case of heavier soiling.

The situation is different, of course, for clothing such as underwear, socks or midlayers that are sweaty and dirty after a tour. Here you can usually choose a 30 degree wash cycle for sportswear, which was designed by the manufacturers of washing machines specifically for this type of clothing. In order not to waste water and energy, it is recommended to fill the machine to the maximum level. With detergents, it is important to pay close attention to the dosages and not to use too much of it.


Your favorite jacket has a small hole? Your favorite midlayer for hiking has open seams at the hem? The zipper of your pants is broken? So it's time for the garbage can? No way! So what can you do?

  • Smaller damages can usually be repaired in a tailor's shop without any problems.
  • Many manufacturers offer a warranty on certain functions of their clothing, some even a lifetime warranty
  • More and more manufacturers have their own repair service, which repairs their textiles for free or relatively cheap: Especially with expensive clothing, this is not only sustainable, but also cheaper than buying a new part
Woman sewing on a sewing machine


There are many ways to ensure that you can use your ski and outdoor clothing for as long as possible. With the right care, you not only ensure the best possible performance of your clothing, but also do something for the environment. Careful handling not only ensures more sustainability, but you can also save money.

You also want to protect your mountain boots as long as possible and are looking for tricks to ensure their longevity? Then take a look at our blog post on the subject:

Proper care for mountain boots