How to Care for a Plastic Raincoat

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    So you have a raincoat made of soft plastic film about the thickness of a sheet of paper. If you donít intend to walk any great distance or exercise too vigorously, it will keep you perfectly dry. Itís an ideal convenience for rainy days. All you need is to know how to take proper care of it.

    1. The standard plastic raincoat has snap fasteners on the placket to close it. To open the snaps pull them apart gently and firmly. Donít yank them, lest they tear the plastic.

    When raincoats made of plastic film were first invented, in the 1940's, buttons were the initial choice for closures. However, because the plastic film tears easily on a raw edge (such as the thread holes under the button), the buttons tore out easily. Snaps are not much better, though they are an improvement. The ideal fastener would be a soft plastic patch containing magnetized material and an opposing soft plastic patch containing iron filings. Such patches could be glued or welded to the plastic, thereby creating a closure that requires no holes poked into the plastic. The magnetic force between the patches would hold the coat closed.

    2. If you store your raincoat by hanging it, put it on a padded hanger or over a thick coat on a hanger. Bare-wire hangers will deform the plastic and eventually tear through it.

    3. If the raincoat gets soiled, clean it with soap and water and dry it with a towel. If the raincoat needs a more thorough cleaning, you can put it into a washer set on gentle cycle with a detergent that does not contain fabric softeners. Ideally the water should not exceed 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 Celcius).

    To dry the raincoat, shake it out, pull a towel through the sleeves and wipe out the pockets, then hang it up to finish drying (for example, there will be water trapped in the placket and that will take some time to air dry). IMPORTANT: do not put your raincoat into a clothes dryer. The plastic melts at about 300 degrees Fahrenheit and clothes dryers get hotter than that.

    4. With proper care your raincoat should last for years.

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