If you are getting soaked underneath your ‘waterproof’ jacket, then the time has come to re-waterproof your shell. It’s easier than it sounds, we swear!

Like so many of the good things in life, the water repellency of your hardshell jacket does not last forever. Even a dirty jacket will stop repelling water, so you do have to give it a bit of TLC from time to time. The trick is to clean your jacket first as most of the time it’s dirt that is covering the water-repellent coating. But alas, sometimes the DWR (Durable Water Repellent) has worn out and it needs to be reproofed. Because there is nothing worse then when your favourite jacket starts wetting out (when the waterproof breathable membrane breaks down and you get soaked). Here’s how to do it.

How To: Wash Your Down Jacket

How to: Wash a Waterproof Jacket

When dirt builds up on the DWR finish, it allows water to soak into the outer shell while blocking the holes that allow evaporated sweat out. Therefore, the jacket loses both its wicking and water repellent properties. So first things first have a read of the directions on your waterproof jacket’s label for its exact care details. But for most garments you can follow these steps:

  • Wash it on its own or with one other piece of gear tops.
  • Wah on a gentle cycle in cold water (30 degrees) and use a rinse cycle.
  • Use a specific waterproof detergent like NixWax Tech Wash.
  • If this doesn’t do the trick then you’ll know the DWR finish has worn away and you’ll need to reapply it. See below.

Re-waterproof your jacket

How to: Rewaterproof a Jacket

Make sure to choose the proofing agent that is best for your garment. A spray-on treatment works well for insulated waterproof jackets because it won’t coat the inside. For hard shell jackets, wash-on waterproofing is better as it applies the waterproofing to the fabric inside and out. Most re-waterproofing agents are applied while the garments are still wet.

A Spray-on water repellent:

  • Use a spray on water repellant like Grangers Xtreme Repel, which is available in most outdoor stores.
  • Shake the bottle well and spray liberally.
  • Do not air dry but place in the dryer on medium heat for around 60 minutes.

A wash-in waterproofing:

  • Place the clean item in the washing machine.
  • Add Nikwax wash-in waterproofing into the machine soap dispenser.
  • Wash on a regular cycle.

How to: Dry a Rain Jacket

Use a clothes dryer instead of drip drying as the heat reactivates the DWR. Place on a low/medium heat.

Hope this helps!

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By Orla O'Muiri

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