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How to Wash North Face Activewear

July 6, 2020

The North Face has been selling activewear and outdoor sports gear for over 50 years. Based in Alameda, California, the company started as a climbing equipment retail store in 1966. It wasn’t until later on that they began to expand their products. Nowadays, they sell various types of clothing including jackets, vests, shirts, tops, bottoms, rainwear, and more. On top of that, they also offer accessories such as babies, socks, and hats. 

About The North Face Company

The company was founded by Douglas Tompkins and Susie Tompkins Buell in 1968. At the time, however, it wasn’t known as “The North Face”. It wasn’t until two years later, after it was acquired by Kenneth Klopp, that it became what it’s known today. In 2000, the company was acquired by VF Corporation.

More About The North Face 

The brand offers a wide range of sportswear including parkas, vests, rain jackets, snow pants, and more. They also sell various equipment such as hiking packs, climbing packs, rain covers, and sleeping bags. On top of all that, they have a footwear line as well. For example, you can get snow boots, running shoes, hiking shoes, or rain boots.

  north face store

Given how well-known they are, it’s not surprising to know that their prices can be a little on the expensive side. Don’t let that discourage you, though. If anything, you get what you pay for—that is, the quality is there. To give you a better idea, one of their parkas can easily run you a couple of hundred dollars. Not everything is in that range, however. For example, some of their hoodies are under $50.

Taking Care of The North Face Activewear 

The North Face sells quality stuff but that doesn’t mean that they won’t get dirty—they will, especially if you wear them constantly. For example, your jacket might pick up dirt. Similarly, your leggings might get covered in mud. Assuming that you’re moving around (e.g. hiking, running), you’ll probably also work up a sweat. In other words, your clothes will get sweaty. That’s why it’s so important to clean your activewear regularly. You don’t want it to smell, do you?

Not only is it a hygienic issue, but it can affect their longevity as well. Why? Dirt and body oils can cause the fabric to break down prematurely. So if you want to get your money’s worth, wash your clothes!

North Face Fabrics & Materials

Does it surprise you that their activewear is made from various materials? Here are some of them:


Nylon, also known as polyamide, is a type of synthetic fabric that’s derived from plastic. Highly versatile, it can be used for jackets, base layers, bottoms, and more. One of the great things about it is that it’s super durable. In other words, it won’t be wearing down anytime soon! On top of that, it’s lightweight, flexible, and water-resistant.

The North Face uses nylon for their rain jackets, vests, shorts, snow pants, and more.


north face polyester

Polyester is similar to nylon in that it’s also synthetic. Made from a polymer material, it’s resistant to both stretching and shrinking. What’s more, is that it’s moisture-wicking—that is, it’ll prevent you from getting clammy. That’s one of the reasons why it’s often used for activewear. The material does have one drawback, though—it tends to carry a static charge.

The North Face uses polyester for their sports bras, leggings, shorts, tights, and more.


Elastane aka Spandex is noted for its spectacular elasticity. To give you a better idea, you can easily stretch it up to seven times its length! Given that, it’s not surprising to know that it’s often used for activewear. Put it simply, it offers a full range of motion. With that said, it’s rarely used by itself. More often than not, it’s blended with other fabrics such as cotton or polyester.

The North Face uses elastane for their tights, sports bras, base layers, and more.

Washing Instructions for The North Face Pants and Tights

Most of their tights and bottoms are close-fitting. In other words, they’ll likely get sweaty, especially if you’ve been moving around a lot. That’s why you want to wash them once you get home. Not sure how? Just follow the short guide below!

Are North Face Pants/Tights Machine Washable? 

washing north face tights

The great thing about their tights and pants is that they’re all machine washable. As always, the first step is to sort them based on color. Remember, you never want to mix darks with lights—that’ll ruin your items. Once you’ve got your loads, turn them inside out. This will expose the dirty stuff (e.g. sweat, dirt) to the outside so that the detergent will be able to wash it away. Not only that, but it’ll prevent the design/pattern from fading. As an extra precaution, place them in a laundry bag. That will minimize the chance of them being damaged in the wash. If you don’t have one, you can improvise with a clean pillowcase.

Put the tights and bottoms into the washer. The next step is to add the soap. Just water won’t do you any good, after all! Measure out one scoop of ACTIVE detergent and place it directly into the drum (drawer if you’re using a front loader). With that done, set the wash settings. As a general rule, gentle/delicate is the way to go. Avoid using any other setting as they can damage your clothes. Another tip—always use cold water. Hot water can warp and deform the materials.

Note: Do not use fabric softener. They will damage the items’ moisture-wicking finish. If necessary, use white vinegar instead.

Press start and wait for the washer to do its thing. Remove the laundry bags from the machine once it’s done and take out the bottoms. Leave them inside out and hang them up to dry. A drying rack works well as well. It’s important that you do not dry them in the dryer. Even on the lowest heat setting, it can damage the synthetic fabrics.

Washing North Face Pants/Tights By Hand

It’s fine to wash their tights and bottoms by hand if you don’t want to use the washer. If anything, it’ll ensure that they’ll last longer (the machine isn’t exactly the gentlest). Start by filling a basin, sink or container with water. Make sure that it isn’t too full or else the water might spill out later.

Measure one scoop of ACTIVE detergent and add it to the water. Swirl it with your hand to mix; you want it to be fully dissolved before adding your clothes. Place your items in once you see soap suds. Ensure that they’re fully submerged and wait for 20-30 minutes (the longer the better).

Gently rub each pair with your hands to clean the fabric, paying extra attention to the groin area. Afterwards, rinse off the detergent. You can either place them under the faucet or refill the sink/container with clean water. Either way, the goal is to remove all of the soap. You don’t want there to be any residue as it’ll irritate the skin. Not to mention that it can damage the fabric.

Place the clean leggings on a clean surface such as a table. Pat it down with a clean towel to get rid of the excess water. Another way to do this is to roll it up. Once it’s no longer dripping, hang it on a clothesline. Let it air dry. Remember, you should never put them in the dryer.

Note: You can wash their shorts and tops in the same way

How to Wash North Face Sports Bras

The North Face offers a variety of sports bras for women. Similar to their tights, the chances of them coming into contact with your sweat is high. For this reason, you want to be diligent about washing them.

Putting North Face Sports Bras in the Washing Machine

how to wash north face sports bras

North Face sports bras are all machine washable. There are just a few things that you want to do to prevent them from getting worn. First things first, you should always place them in a laundry bag. Without it, your sports bra would be thrown around, which can damage the fabric and elastic. You can put more than one bra in one bag but it’s best to place them in their own bag.

Note: You can wash your sports bras with other garments. However, it’s probably best to put them together with other delicate items such as underwear. Never wash them with denim or other coarse material.

Load the laundry bag into the washer. Select the proper setting—as a general rule, you always want to go for a “delicate” or “gentle” cycle. Do not use a normal cycle as there will be too much agitation. Once you’ve set it all up, add the soap. Measure one scoop of ACTIVE detergent from the package and add it to the drawer/drum (depending on what kind of washer you have). Avoid the urge to use fabric softener as it’ll cause your bras to lose their moisture-wicking finish.

sports bra laundry bag

Take out the laundry bags and remove your sports bra when the cycle is done. Hang them up and allow them to air dry. Do not tumble dry; the elastic can easily be ruined by the heat.

Washing North Face Sports Bras By Hand

Their sports bras can be washed by hand, just like their bottoms. As always, you want to begin by adding water to the sink/basin. Avoid using hot water as it can warp the elastic and fabric. Once you’ve got your water, add in the ACTIVE detergent—one scoop’s worth (or less depending on the number of items you’re washing). Gently push down on the bras so that they’re fully in the solution. Wait for 20 minutes.

Clean your bra by massaging the fabric with your hand. When you’re finished, rinse off the soap suds with water. Make sure they all of it is gone. Transfer it onto a clean towel afterward—you can use it to blot the extra moisture. Under no circumstances should you ever wring your sports bra like a rag. That will stretch out and damage the elastic fibers.

Drape it on a rack or put it up on a clothesline and let it air dry. Tumble dry is a no-no.

Best Detergent For North Face Active Wear

When it comes to activewear, you want to use a laundry detergent that’s specifically made for activewear. Traditional soaps won’t cut it—they won’t be able to dissolve the dirt and grime that’s embedded deep within the fibers.

That’s why ACTIVE detergent is so great. It’s fully capable of doing that—thanks to a few plant-based enzymes that are in the formula. In other words, your garments will be free of sweat, body oils, and dirt once they’re out of the washer. As if that wasn’t great enough, the product does not contain any harsh chemicals. So it’s better for your skin and the environment!

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Picture of Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant brings her extensive knowledge of laundry and clothing care to the masses with her intensive cleaning guides. Her thorough understanding of fabrics, detergents, and washing techniques helps readers master the art of maintaining their wardrobe. Sophia's advice ensures that anyone can achieve professional-level results at home, keeping their garments looking pristine and lasting longer.

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