Drying your kayaking clothes

I read somewhere that if you put a dryer sheet in with your special fabric (non-cotton, of course!) kayaking clothes that they loose some sort of property, and I forgot what that property was - keeping you warm while wet, breathability, helping with your roll (I wish), etc.

Anyway, I dry my kayak clothes in the garage on a hanger, but then I keep getting zapped by static electricity. Is there any way besides using Static Guard, which makes my windpipe close up, to retain that special forgotten property of the clothes while going around zap-free?

What Fabrics?
Drysuit and dry jacket don’t go in the dryer. Everything else does… with a dryer sheet. I ain’t dead yet.

Apparantly the dryer sheets
interfere with the workings of a Gore Tex membrane.


Boy there is a lot of good info in that article.

I dont have GoreTex long underwear nor fleece so dryer sheet away.

I do have a GoreTex drysuit but the latex makes a big mess in the dryer.

I don’t think it’s the dryer sheets
that are the problem

it’s the dryer

I just found
some paddling clothes yesterday. was wondering where they were, haven’t seen in 4 months.

They were in my paddling box of all places, and still wet, quite stinky.

Not the good stuff

thats not what the article says
actually you should use the dryer to replenish the DWR.

Lets see if that link works if I type it again. It didnt all turn purple last time,


Not drysuits
sorry I wasn’t clear. Just pants, shirts, base layers, etc.

left some wool socks
in my mukluks for 6 months. Wow. Static was the least of my worries.


use powder detergent.

Liquid and fabric softeners clog the pours that allow gear to breath.

Dryer sheets and fleece
Somewhere I read a garment tag that said not to use dryer sheets with next-to-skin wicking fabrics. The chemicals in the sheets cause the wicking property to be negated. I would agree, having gone from no dryer sheets to using them and then back to no dryer sheets.

The static is bad either way around here. When I take the dryer load out, I shake/snap each garment once to get rid of the static before I fold/store them.

don’t put fleece in the dryer
all that stuff that ends up in the lint trap is the stuff that keeps you warm.

That’s what I was taught. It dries so fast anyway, why waste the energy?

could you reprint the “dryer” part?
I couldn’t find anything that suggested you needed to use a washer or dryer at all (as opposed to hand washing).

All I could find was this (from your REI web site):



Frequency of cleaning: Regularly.

Follow any specific laundering instructions provided on your garment. Otherwise, general guidelines for this category include:

Wash in cold or warm water (with like colors).

Base layers can be vulnerable to snagging. Either separate them from garments that include zippers, clasps or openings that use rip-and-stick closures, or place them inside a protective bag during laundering.

No fabric softener or dryer sheets. Oils and waxes in fabric softener can diminish wicking performance.

No bleach.

Do not iron.

Do not dry clean.

No dryer sheets AND no dryer
No dryer sheets AND no dryer for your fleecy bits. All wicking breathable garments are best just hung to dry and not put in the dryer. Also, don’t use fabric softener as it does inhibit the wicking and breathability of the fabric.

Best to separate those articles of clothing and wash those separate from the rest of your laundry. Here is some information from Polartec’s website:


They caution against using too much detergent and any fabric softener. they also mention a product called Polartec Power Care. I have not seen it on the shelves anywhere but I would give it a try if I found it.

Also remember reading at some point to avoid washing fleece with other fabrics as the fleece acts as a “sink” for the oils and dirt to accumulate on from the other fabrics. Couldn’t find anything on that today though.

So, if you are talking about other paddling clothes, better be specific and say what they are.

Wetsuits - rinse in cold water after each use. If stinky, rinse in white vinegar and rinse again.

Gore-Tex - w/o latex gaskets, wash in front loader washing machine w/ regular detergents and dry on warm in dryer.

Drysuits - Wash in front loader w/ mild soap or tech wash type cleaners and then run again inside out to rinse the garment clean (no soap). Hang dry.

Paddling shoes - rinse well each time. Wear wool socks to PREVENT the stink. If you skipped part 2, then wash well and rinse with white vinegar. Put in sun to dry. My favorite place is on the windshield of my car when I am parked in the sun. Might destroy some of the useful life of the shoe but they don’t stink!


Affects fire resistance for clothing…

– Last Updated: Jan-20-10 10:25 AM EST –

Regarding the use of fabric softener dryer sheets, according to Consumer Reports:

"Past tests have shown that even the best fabric softeners can build up over time, especially on fleece and flannel, which can reduce flame resistance. Most products warn against use on flame-resistant clothes or kids' sleepwear."

Here's the link to the full article:


Polartec - tumble dry low most

– Last Updated: Jan-20-10 11:33 PM EST –

I just read over the instructions on Polartec's site for care, at the above-mentioned link (http://www.polartec.com/#/care/general-care/)

We have been putting our normal polartec stuff in the dryer to tumble dry low (very low - the machine is on its way out) on the thought that we were following instructions. On vacation at the cabin in Maine we line dry, but if we get a few days of rain I'll motivate myself to use the communal dryer in the big house across the cove. So I thought I'd better check this out.

I can't highlight any of it to copy it, but the gist of it is -
Polartec has their own wash and treatment products if you want to use them. But it is not necessary.
They have some specific materials/clothing items that have to be handled differently, but wash then tumble dry low is recommended for most Polartec stuff. No indication that fancy additives or stuff like dryer sheets are needed though.
Turning inside out is good too.

I am not seeing the prohibition against tumble dry that seems to be indicated by some above.

We have a few items that can wash but no dryer - individual items from a variety of makers. But there is a plentiful supply of stuff that insulates and wicks well and can wash and tumble dry low if you'd rather not have to keep that straight.

Right you are…
Suz is exactly right on this.

As for drying polar fleece any thing: I line dry or rack dry all of ours, whether it’s for kayaking or for regular wear. The only exception is some really old jackets and vests that aren’t worn that much anymore.

In fact, some of the manufacturers – Patagonia and Arctyrex (which costs a small fortune, any way) – suggest that their polar fleece gear be line dried.

It also seems to last longer this way, too.


The shoes
All of my paddling shoes get the daily wash (soap and water followed by plain water rinses), then dried in the intense Colorado sunshine.

I am amazed that my Teva Protons lasted more than 5 yrs with this kind of treatment. Admittedly, I used these mesh shoes only from spring through fall each year, but that’s still a testament to their durability.

The replacement pair (not mesh) seems to be holding up well also. Really nice to not have stinky booties!

While machine-drying isn’t necessary for fleece, it makes it fluffier. I have not found Polartec fleece to leave much lint in the trap, but at least one garment from another brand of fleece continues to shed lots. Stick with Polartec or the Patagucci version of it for less shedding. And skip the dryer sheets.

Lots of good info
Thanks for jogging my memory about wickability being the property. As I said, I do usually line dry the clothes, but they get so staticky that they seem to crawl and cling on me and I can’t touch any metal without getting a substantial zap.

Definitely low heat tumble-dry setting
If you use higher heat, when the clothes stop moving any fleece that touches the dryer grid (the thing with the holes in it) can get the pattern partly melted into it. How do I know? I had this happen to a microfleece shirt years ago. But it hasn’t been a problem with lowest heat setting.

The thing to avoid is commercial dryers whose “low” setting is still too high. When I’m traveling I always check the heat level after 5 minutes by opening the dryer and sticking my hand inside. If that dryer runs too hot I pull the delicate items out immediately and put them in a no-heat dryer.

Good tips, Suz
I agree with you completely, though I have to admit that when it comes to fleece, I typically just machine wash and dry it. I’ve never had any problems and some of my fleece garments are 15 years old or more.

Polypro (polypropylene) garments are another matter. They’re not very common these days, largely because they have a nasty tendency to melt in dryers. Polyester (the material fleece is made from) can handle much higher temps without damage.

As for dryer sheets, they’re disgusting! I don’t know how anyone can stand the smell of them. I’d rather live with static, which is short-lived anyway.