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Cleaning & Reproofing Waterproof Clothing

By Nikwax

Modern waterproof clothing is both waterproof and breathable. It will either have a membrane (like Gore-Tex) or a coating (e.g. PU) on the inside of the material.
On the outside of the material there is a durable water repellent finish ('DWR') to make rain drops run off and not soak in (often called 'beading'). By keeping the fabric dry, sweat can continue to breathe through the garment all day long.


If the garment gets dirty or the DWR fails, rain can soak in to the fabric (wetting out). It can.t penetrate through the waterproof material but it will prevent sweat from breathing out. The sweat collects on the inside in droplets making you feel clammy and is often mistaken for rain leaking through.

What Can You Do?

The best way to maintain that .as new. performance is to clean garments regularly to remove dirt (which can mask the DWR finish) and to re-proof when the original DWR has been worn off by abrasion like the rubbing of rucksack straps.

How Often?

Clean 2 . 4 times a year and proof once a year. These are guidelines which can be varied depending on garment use.


Cleaning & Reproofing Waterproof Clothing

Don.t use normal washing powder / liquids or fabric softeners . they contain aggressive detergents, perfumes & brighteners which can mask the DWR making it wet out.
The answer is to use a pure soap like Nikwax Tech Wash. Simply add 100ml (soft water) to 150ml (hard water) in the washing machine instead of your normal laundry powder or liquid. Modern waterproofs are machine washable.

Handy Hints

Cleaning & Reproofing Waterproof Clothing

  • Loosen all draw cords and close all zips and Velcro®.

  • Remove any build up of washing powder or fabric softener in the dispenser drawer with a paper towel.

  • If you have a grubby stain, rub some pure soap (like Tech Wash) neat into the stain before you put it into the machine washing.

  • Wash no more than 2 normal sized garments at a time.

  • Any garment accidentally washed in washing powder should be re-washed in something like Nikwax Tech Wash to remove detergent residues.


At least once a year, re-proof your jacket directly after cleaning.

Use a reprooer (like TX.Direct Wash) In for 3 layer membrane constructions and for windshirts made from lightweight fabrics like Pertex®.

Use something like Nikwax TX.Direct Spray On for:
Garments with a separate mesh liner (or any lining) that absorbs water when you drop it on.
Hydrophilic laminates or coatings e.g. Drilite.
Polyurethane (PU) coated garments.

Direct Washing

Cleaning & Reproofing Waterproof Clothing

With the wash in versions, add 100ml per garment into the wash ball or the middle slot of the dispenser drawer of the washing machine and run a normal, economy or quick wash cycle at 30oC.
Only re-proof 1 or 2 garments at a time.

Spray Ons

For spray on versions:

Take the garment from the washing machine and lay it flat on a plastic sheet or bin liner. Laid flat is easier than trying to spray a garment hanging up. Spray evenly over one side and rub in with a J-cloth.
Turn the garment over and repeat.
Spray and rub over the shoulders and hood.


Cleaning & Reproofing Waterproof Clothing

Tumble drying or ironing may be used to re-activate the factory applied DWR after washing if the garment is not too old but always check the garment care label first.

After re-proofing air drying is all you need. After using the Spray On reproofers, hang to air dry and rub in any dribbles as the garment dries. The only reason to tumble dry is if you want to dry the garment very quickly.

For more advice on cleaning & re-proofing visit www.nikwax.com
If you have any questions about cleaning, proofing or UV protection for tents contact info@nikwax.co.uk


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