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    May 2020

    How to Wash Base Layers: 4 Easy Steps

    A LITTLE CARE GOES A LONG WAY IN MAINTAINING THE PERFORMANCE LEVEL AND EXTENDING THE LIFE OF YOUR BASE LAYERS.

     

    QUICK INTRODUCTION

    One of the most important pieces of apparel is the base layer.

    Some people prefer synthetic base layers made of polyester, nylon, or similar fibers. Others prefer fabrics like merino wool.

    In this guide, we provide instructions for washing all base layer types (synthetic, wool, mixed fabric).

     

    DEFINITION: A base layer is any layer of clothing or any garment that is worn directly against the skin and hair. Base layers are typically designed to have a form of sweat-transfer functionality, breathability, stretch/flexibility, and promote body temperature regulation.” 

     

    Base layers absorb sweat and body oils when we are skiing, hiking, sailing, exercising, or recreating, and therefore, they regularly retain odor. You may even own a base layer that you have stopped wearing because it stinks so bad.

    Let us help you!

     

    IMPORTANT: To wash base layers, do NOT use regular household laundry detergent. Technical fabrics should be washed with technical cleaners. Regular detergent merely masks odors, rather than removing them. Over time, use of regular detergent on performance fabrics significantly shortens the useful life a garment and can cause other malfunctions or fabric issues. Plus, standard laundry detergent leaves behind a film that tends to attract odor-causing bacteria, which leads to a steady increase of undesirable smell, over time. 

     

    Technical base layers, designed as performance apparel, require intentional (but simple) care, in order to keep performing at their best.

    Simply put, your gear will last longer, feel fresher, and perform at its best if you wash it correctly.

     

     

    WE LOVE BASE LAYERS

    Here at Helly Hansen, we are known for our LIFA Technology, which we used to create the first ever technical synthetic base layer ever brought to the market, back in the 1970s. Since then, we have adapted it and expanded its use, creating base layers for a multitude of purposes and for use in all 4 seasons.

    We have split our base layers into 3 main categories, each with their own unique properties, qualities, and uses.

     

    LIFA
    Our most popular base layer technology that provides industry-leading moisture management (sweat transfer), quick dry function, and insulation, due to its soft and lightweight fiber construction.

    LIFA Merino
    A warmer, more insulated variation of LIFA, these garments combine the superior warmth of merino wool with the superior breathability and moisture-management of LIFA, through a plated construction: LIFA on the inside, Merino wool on the outside.

    100% Merino Wool
    Wool has been a staple in the industry for many years, and for many reasons. Merino wool offers exceptional warmth and insulation, and is very soft and comfortable. We are very proud to ensure that all of our merino wool is responsibly and ethically sourced from New Zealand and Australia.

     

    VISIT MEN’S BASE LAYERS >
    VISIT WOMEN’S BASE LAYERS >

     

     

     

    WHAT IS “SOLEN”?
    One of our latest innovations is SOLEN, which is a collection of next-to-skin layers designed to be quick-dry, provide sun protection (UPF 50+) wet or dry, have odor-management properties, be exceptionally breathable, and act as the ideal choice for warmer-weather use, high alpine adventures, and high-exposure outings.

    SOLEN uniquely uses recycled coffee grounds, infused into the LIFA fabric fibers, at the granular level. Many of the positive properties inherently found within coffee grounds are present within the line’s functionality (UPF resistance, odor management, etc.), and the grounds will never wash out, creating a sustainable (and highly functional!) garment.

     

    VISIT MEN’S SOLEN COLLECTION >
    VISIT WOMEN’S SOLEN COLLECTION >

     

     

     

    HOW TO WASH SYNTHETIC BASE LAYERS

    INCLUDES: LIFA, LIFA Active, H1 Pro LIFA, LIFA Seamless

    1. PREP WASHING MACHINE. Wash your synthetic base layers together, in a separate load, and always remember to consult the care labels on your garments to ensure you use the correct temperature settings, etc. You should not combine synthetic base layers in with regular household laundry (cotton shirts, etc.).

    2. ADD TECHNICAL CLEANER. Do not use standard detergent. Use a technical cleaner designed for synthetic base layers, like a Nikwax BaseWash, or similar biodegradable product. This will substitute for regular laundry detergent. Do not combine with regular detergent. Follow any on-bottle instructions for amount designations, based on the size of your load.

    3. RUN CYCLE. Follow garment care label for water temperature instructions.

    4. DRY. When the wash cycle ends, you can either air-dry your garments or tumble dry low, if the care labels allow.

     

    HOW TO WASH MERINO WOOL BASE LAYERS

    Merino wool garments require a gentler cleaning agent than synthetics, in order to maintain performance and integrity. 

    INCLUDES: LIFA Merino, Merino Wool

    1. PREP WASHING MACHINE. Wash your wool base layers together, in a separate load, and always remember to consult the care labels on your garments to ensure you use the correct temperature settings, etc. You should not combine wool base layers in with regular household laundry (cotton shirts, etc.).

    2. ADD TECHNICAL CLEANER. Do not use standard detergent. Use a gentle technical cleaner designed for wool base layers, like a Nikwax WoolWash, or similar biodegradable wool-specific product. This will substitute for regular laundry detergent. Do not combine with regular detergent. Follow any on-bottle instructions for amount designations, based on the size of your load.

    3. RUN CYCLE. Follow garment care label for water temperature instructions.

    4. DRY. When the wash cycle ends, you can either air-dry your garments or tumble dry low, if the care labels allow.

     

     

    Images c/o Cam McLeod, Michael Overbeck, Kyle Mehr, and Madison Ostergren.

    FAQs

     

    Which type of base layer is best for which sports & activities?
    Our Base Layer Finder can help you determine which base layer is right for you!

     

    How do I wash LIFA Merino? It contains both synthetic fabric AND wool.
    As a general rule of thumb, you want to follow the instructions for the more sensitive fabric. In this case, wool is the more sensitive fabric, so you would wash your LIFA Merino garment like you would wash a 100% merino wool garment. Refer to the instructions provided above!

    VISIT MEN’S LIFA MERINO COLLECTION >
    VISIT WOMEN’S LIFA MERINO COLLECTION >

     

    How do I wash SOLEN base layers?
    Our SOLEN line is an application of our LIFA Active fabric, combined with recycled coffee ground technology from S’Cafe. Since it is composed of primarily synthetic fabric, you wash SOLEN like you wash your other synthetic fabric base layers. Refer to the instructions provided above!

     

    Can I resurrect base layers that are so stinky that I choose not to wear them anymore?
    Yes, you often can! Running back-to-back cycles with a technical cleaning and deodorizing product like Nikwax can eliminate odors that have been deeply embedded in your base layers, giving you the opportunity to start feeling comfortable wearing them again. Nobody wants to wear base layers that start stinking after 2 minutes of wearing them, but there is hope!

     

    What if I’ve been washing my base layers with all my other normal clothes, using standard detergent?
    No need to panic. A couple washes with a technical cleaner will remove all the residue left behind by your standard detergent, allowing your base layer to be refreshed in its breathability and fabric integrity.

     

    What about cotton clothing?
    Cotton does not have the same fabric properties and performance functionalities that synthetic or wool-based fabrics do, so they do not require any technical cleaners, and they can be washed using standard detergent. Nothing bad will happen if you use a technical cleaner on cotton garments, but nothing special will happen, either.

     

     

    VISIT MEN’S BASE LAYERS >

    VISIT WOMEN’S BASE LAYERS >

     

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    Looking for more gear care tips?

    Ski Jacket Care Guide

    Shell Jacket Care Guide

    Down Jacket Care Guide

     

    For any additional gear care questions, please contact our Customer Care team in your region.

    Tags: skiing, gear care, how to, clean, ski, hike, hiking, base layer, care, cleaning, wash, washing, solen, lifa, lifa active, lifa merino, merino, guide, sweat, laundry, base layers, outdoor

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