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May 17, 2017
by nikwax

How to Clean your Waterproof Cycling Jacket

wash your dirty bike jacket
Waterproof cycling jackets see some serious dirt. Unless your fenders cover your entire body like a cocoon, road and trail crud has a way of finding itself onto your cycling outerwear. Luckily, it’s easy to clean your bike jacket.

Get technical.

Waterproof cycling jackets are technical pieces of clothing. Many use a waterproof membrane, like GORE-TEX or eVent, and all have a water-repellent coating (called a DWR in some circles). To maintain the water-repellency of your jacket, it’s important to clean your jacket with a performance cleaner, like Nikwax Tech Wash. Household detergents leave behind residue that attracts water to the surface of your jacket, compromising the water-resistant finish.

So, how do I know when to clean?

1. Captain Obvious says: “If it’s dirty.” Also, as a good rule of thumb, one leading cycling gear maker recommends that daily riders wash their jackets about once a month.
2. If it’s wetting out. (Wetting Out: fabric becomes saturated with water. ) If your jacket wets out, it means that the water-repellent coating has been compromised. It also means that your jacket cannot breathe,as waster vapor (sweat) cannot pass through a liquid barrier. A good cleaning—and possibly reproofing (see below)—can make things right.

How to clean and re-waterproof your cycling jacket:

1. Wash: To start, clean any residual detergent crud from your washing machine soap dispenser. Read garment care label for approved cycle and temperature and the Nikwax Tech Wash label for dosage. Close zippers and Velcro tabs. Wash and rinse thoroughly.
2. Waterproof: If after a good cleaning your jacket is still wetting out, you may need to re-waterproof. To do this, start a new washing machine cycle with Nikwax TX.Direct Wash-In. Read the Nikwax label for dosage. Rinse thoroughly.
3. Dry: Look at that care label again to see if using a dryer is approved. Nikwax does not need heat to activate, so using a dryer is optional.

Like lubing your chain or maintaining tire pressure, a little attention to your cycling outerwear can contribute to greater happiness in the saddle. Now get on your bikes and ride!

April 18, 2017
by nikwax
1 Comment

How to Clean & Waterproof Shoes and Boots

IMG_4375Dirty, soggy shoes? Over time, shoes and boots get dirty and lose their original waterproofing. Even if your shoes have a waterproof membrane, like GORE-TEX, BDry, or eVent, the outer material will eventually soak up water. If your shoes are wet on the outside, that means water vapor (foot sweat) can’t escape, and soon, pruney swamp feet will follow. Luckily, it’s easy to clean and re-waterproof your shoes and boots to keep your feet dry and happy.

Here’s how:

Clean first. 

Clean your shoes? Yes please. If you want to re-apply waterproofing, you need to do it on a clean surface. Brush off clumps of dirt and mud, and then scrub your shoes with Footwear Cleaning Gel. It is designed to remove embedded dirt particles, and prepare shoes for waterproofing.

Then Waterproof.

Once your shoes are sparkly clean, apply the appropriate waterproofing product for your type of footwear.

Apply the waterproofing while your shoes are still wet. Let sit for a few minutes, then remove excess with a damp cloth. If you’re using Waterproofing Wax for Leather, buff out all excess by rubbing it into the leather much like lotion.

Let your shoes dry naturally.

Do not place next to direct heat, as it can cause soles to de-bond and leather to dry and crack. If you want to speed things up a bit, put newspaper or paper/cloth towels in your shoes to soak up excess moisture.


March 13, 2017
by nikwax

How to Clean a Sleeping Bag

wash sleeping bagAh the sleeping bag. Your bed-away-from-home. Your cozy refuge in the wild. Adventures will inevitably get it a bit dirty, but don’t fear, it’s easy to wash your sleeping bag.

There are two main types of sleeping bags, down-filled and synthetic-filled. Here are some tips and tricks to keeping them both clean and fluffy.

how much Nikwax cleaner do you need for your sleeping bag?

A handy Nikwax cleaner volume guide for your sleeping bag

Down-Filled Sleeping Bags:

Cleaning down bags can seem intimidating. But with proper know-how, it’s easy. The first thing to note: use a big, front-loading washing machine, generally found at a laundromat. Home washers are too small, and don’t allow proper circulation of water through the bag, making for ineffective cleaning. Always use a front-loading washer, as top loaders have an agitator that can tear up down baffles. Gentle is best!

1. Put bag in washing machine.

2. Add proper cleaner. Nikwax Down Wash Direct is formulated for both normal, and water-repellent down. It cleans crud away while maintaining loft and revitalizing water-repellency. (Volume Guide: for a 1-2.5lb bag, add 100ml, for a 2.5-4.5lb bag, add 150ml, for a bag 4.5lbs or heavier, use 200ml)

3. Wash. Throw in an extra spin cycle or two to get excess water out of the bag.

4. Dry! This is key for down bags. Your bag will emerge from the washer looking like a drowned rat. Run multiple dry cycles on low heat with clean tennis balls, or dryer balls, to fluff the bag back up.

Synthetic-Filled Sleeping Bags:

Synthetic-filled bags are a tad less fussy than down bags to clean. You still need a big washer though, so pack up and head to the laundromat.

1. Put bag in washing machine.

2. Add proper cleaner. Nikwax Tech Wash is great for synthetic-filled bags. It cleans crud away while revitalizing water-repellency. (Volume Guide: for a 1-2.5lb bag, add 100ml, for a 2.5-4.5lb bag, add 150ml, for a bag 4.5lbs or heavier, use 200ml)

3. Wash. Throw in an extra spin cycle or two to get excess water out of the bag.

4. Dry. You can use a dryer on low heat to speed up the process, or hang to dry if you have the space.

There you have it! If you want to go longer in between washes, use a sleeping bag liner. It will help keep body oils (and odors) off your bag, and can be washed at home.

Stay Toasty and Dry!


February 22, 2017
by nikwax

How to Re-waterproof your Ski Jacket

a clean and waterproof ski jacket is a happy ski jacket

Before and After Cleaning & Waterproofing

Over time, ski jackets can lose their water-repellency. Waterproofing doesn’t last forever. Whether from rubbing against a dirty car while straining to reach the ski rack, or spilled apres-drinks, a dirty jacket will stop repelling water. Luckily, it’s easy to clean and re-waterproof your ski jacket so you can get back to schralping pow.

The trick is to clean your jacket first. Most times, it’s dirt and crud that are covering the water-repellent coating, making your jacket soak up water.

Here’s how to clean.

  1. Place jacket(s) in washing machine. If you only have one jacket, maybe ask a friend if they want a clean jacket too. They can owe you.
  2. Add Nikwax Tech Wash. In a top-loading machine, add three full caps (150ml) for 1-3 garments or five full caps (250ml) for 4-6 garments. In a front loader, it’s best to add no more than two garments with two capfuls (100ml) of Tech Wash. Special note: If you live in an area with hard water, toss in an extra capful of Tech Wash. If you have an HE machine, use about half the recommended amount so you don’t suds up the place.
  3. Sit back with a good book and a glass of wine/beer/hot cocoa as the machine runs its course.
  4. More often than not, this single cycle will be enough to have revitalized your jacket.

But my ski jacket still isn’t waterproof!

That’s ok. Don’t panic. Over time the water-repellent finish can wear off. When that happens, it’s time to add more waterproofing.

Here’s how to waterproof.

  1. Clean first. Always clean first. Use Tech Wash like before. Then…
  2. If you have a top-loading machine, let the machine fill, then add a maximum of 3 garments and 300ml of TX.Direct Wash-In. Run a heavy/warm cycle.
  3. If you have a front-loading machine, add a maximum of 2 garments and 200ml of TX.Direct.
  4. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions as to whether your garment should be line or tumble dried. Nikwax does not require heat for activation, so you’re good to go either way.
  5. Put your jacket on and admire your waterproofed duds in the mirror.

There you have it! Now you’re ready to hit the slopes again and laugh at the soggy fools clustered around the fire pit. Or, maybe you can tell them about taking care of their ski jackets and spread the dryness.

October 26, 2015
by nikwax
1 Comment

Five Steps to Keeping Your Kids Dry and Happy on Halloween

For those of us who didn’t grow up on Maui, we’re sadly familiar with the weather crushing our Halloween dreams. Nothing ruins the perfect pink princess dress quicker than a down parka. Don’t even get us started on the wrecked silhouette of a superhero unitard when the rain starts falling. Superheroes don’t wear raincoats!

Alas, mere mortals do need protection from the elements. With Nikwax, parents the world over can protect children from crushed Halloween dreams.

Step One: Check the weather

– For most of us, Halloween falls during a notoriously cool and wet time of year. If your region’s forecast is aiming blissfully to the high end of the thermometer, follow steps two to five as a contingency plan. If you’re with the rest of us, consider these steps hard and fast rules.

Step Two: Assess the weatherproofing of your child’s chosen costume

– If s/he is going as…say…the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, you’re golden. Toss the costume in the wash with some Down Proof and the kid is good to go. Virtually ignore steps three and four.

– If s/he is has selected a costume less conducive to gale force winds, precipitation – and Ghostbusting proton packs, for that matter – continue on to step three.

Step Three: Run a dress rehearsal

– Determine if waterproof and insulating layers can fit beneath the costume or must be worn as outerwear.

– For cold weather gear that fits below the costume, take a moment to revel in your awesome parenting and the fact that you’ve avoided a probable sugar-induced meltdown initiated by an argument over a costume. Then, move to step four for waterproofing.

– If the battle to wear warm clothes with the costume turns more frightening than a zombie apocalypse, move to step four anyway. As the parent-of-the-year that you surely are, you’ll just need to carry a big bag full of warm, waterproofed clothes for when your trick-or-treater gets chilly in between houses.

Step Four: Prep the gear

– If you’re like us, chances are you’ve been out savoring the last vestiges of summer rather than prepping for inclement weather. Halloween is the ideal time to bust out all your cold weather gear and give it a refresh for winter.

– Waterproof/breathable fabrics are most effective when they are clean. Nikwax Tech Wash is a gentle, high performance cleaner that is specially formulated for these technical materials. In the world’s easiest two-step process, toss the garment(s) in the wash using Tech Wash in place of detergent. After a full cycle, leave your gear in the washing machine and run a second cycle with Nikwax TX.Direct® Wash-In. TX.Direct revives the durable water repellency of outerwear.

– Bonus: If your mini-goblin has designed a cardboard or paper-based costume, TX.Direct does double duty in providing water-repellency to paper. Brush on the TX.Direct and allow it to dry completely, or save time for this particular application with TX.Direct Spray-On.

– Eco-Bonus: Halloween is full of sugar, preservatives, late nights and other scares over which you have little control. With Nikwax, you can prevent your child from being exposed to at least one nasty scare: PFCs. PFCs are dangerous chemicals that are often found in waterproofing compounds. Nikwax has long been a vocal opponent of PFC usage in aftercare and our products are 100-percent PFC-free.

Step Five: Enjoy the evening!

– You’ve accomplished your mission and your lovable little ghoul (or cowboy or alien) will be dry and comfortable in the foulest of weather. Nothing says, “I love you” like encouraging their creativity in costuming. And don’t be shy to remind them that nothing says, “I love you, too” like a small share of the candy.

Happy Halloween!



October 9, 2015
by nikwax

How to wash your GORE-TEX rain jacket

Caring for your GORE-TEX jacket is as easy as giving it a wash from time to time. Cleaning keeps your jacket performing its best. Washing a GORE-TEX, eVent, or any waterproof breathable rain jacket is remarkably simple. Follow these three steps to a clean rain jacket:

  1. Read the care label in your jacket prior to cleaning.
  2. Wash in your washing machine with a technical cleaner like Nikwax Tech Wash.
  3. If the care label allows, you can tumble dry low, or simply hang dry.

There! That’s it! You now know how to clean your GORE-TEX rain jacket. Now, some of you might be asking “How does cleaning help waterproof performance?”

It all comes down to DWR (Durable water repellency):

All waterproof breathable rain jackets come with a factory-applied coating that repels water. This is called DWR. DWR causes water to bead up and roll off the surface of the jacket.

water repellency


In the instance of single layer rain jackets, DWR is all that is keeping the rain out!

Waterproof jacket single layer

A single-layer waterproof rain jacket

GORE-TEX jackets, however, use a laminate technology that allows water vapor (sweat) to escape, but prevents water from entering.

gore-tex jacket technology diagram

GORE-TEX working properly

While this makes GORE-TEX jackets more dependably waterproof, the laminate needs the DWR coating on the outside of the jacket in order to work properly. If the outside fabric starts absorbing water, then water vapor can no longer escape, and you feel cold, wet, and clammy.

gore-tex waterproof fail

DWR failing on a GORE-TEX jacket

Over time, many things can cause this coating to no longer function properly. Dirt, oils, sweat, and campfire smoke will all mask the DWR and cause water to be absorbed into the fabric.

jacket wetting out

Fabric wetting out

By washing your jacket with a technical cleaner, you remove the crud, allowing the DWR to once again function as intended.

*It is important to use a technical cleaner like Nikwax Tech Wash, as detergents leave behind residues that attract water. Also, many household detergents are overly harsh and can contain perfumes and bleach.

camping with baby

June 3, 2015
by nikwax

Outdoor Adventures with Baby

I cannot pretend to be an expert in getting babies outdoors. I have only one offspring thus far, and what works for one family may very well be hell for another. Every baby is different and develops at different speeds. I am lucky(?) to have a very active, outgoing kiddo who likes going outside. He will actually get fussy if we stay indoors too long. No joke.

Below are a few tips and gear recommendations that have helped my family immensely on our outdoor adventures with baby.

Very early on we would strap him into a baby carrier (like this) and go for long walks. Now, at nine months old, we take him on bigger adventures and even overnight camping trips. Longer hikes are a snap when we use a kid carrier like the Deuter Kid Comfort 3. When hiking with a squirmy baby, I advocate passionately for using trekking poles. They will help your balance and endurance, especially when you find yourself “exploring” a bit more than you planned.

hiking with baby

Faster Mom!

When adventuring outdoors with babies, versatile baby clothes are needed. It’s important to manage their body temperature, as temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day. Plus, it can get hot in their little packs when you’re hiking uphill, but then cool down on the downhill. Performance baby merino wool and synthetic base layers are key to comfort. I really like the merino wool layers from Wee Woolies. Wool is warm when wet and my guy is a drooler extraordinaire! Along these lines, I also invested in a few pairs of little Smartwool Socks. I recommend the toddler size, as they are more of a crew height. I have noticed infant socks will be kicked off in no time at all.

For cool summer nights and weather, polar fleece items are an excellent investment. Fleece is soft and low maintenance, thus pairs well with babies. My little outdoor dude has fleece buntings, jackets, pants, hats, and blankets. To best protect him, I add water-repellency to all his polar fleece items with Nikwax Polar Proof. It helps keep him dry in a surprise rain shower (although it’s not a substitute for rainwear in longer squalls) and prevents drool and spit up from absorbing into the fabric – keeping things cleaner for longer. Bonus!

camping with baby

The drool machine at basecamp.

We also splurged and bought the baby a Patagonia down jacket. It is just the cutest thing ever (see picture below). However, down does not perform well when wet and, as I mentioned above, babies are drool machines. We clean it frequently with Nikwax Down Wash and add water-repellency as needed with Down Proof. These two steps help down perform at its best and keep the little guy warm and toasty.

baby jacket for outside adventure

All Nikwaxed and raring to go!

One more item that makes our outdoor adventures more comfortable (in the absence of a crash pad) is a big waterproof blanket, like the Meadow Mat by Alite Designs. They make a great outdoor play area for the wee one, and a nice picnic blanket to boot.

getting outside with baby rock climbing

Babies love crashpads!

The most important thing to remember when getting outdoors with a baby is to go at your own pace. Some babies are born wanting to explore the great outdoors, and others may take a little while to warm up to the experience. Now go have fun outside with your little ones!

in the mountains with baby

Babies love views!

By Heidi Allen

Heidi is the Marketing Director for Nikwax North America. You can find her and her family exploring the Pacific Northwest’s mountains and rivers with baby, pup, and craft beers in tow.


Tips for bike commuting

May 13, 2015
by nikwax

5 Tips For Beginner Bike Commuters

Happy Bike Month!

No matter your bicycling experience, Bike Month is a great time to try bike commuting. The high point of Bike Month is Bike To Work Day, May 15th in the USA. So jump on your bike, commute, and celebrate!

Bike commuting is not only fun, it is good for you and the environment. If clean air and improved mental and physical health don’t sway you, what about the bottom line? In 2009, the average annual operating cost of a bicycle is $308, less than 4% that of an average car ($8,220).

As a first time bike commuter, it can seem intimidating. What about the cars? The weather? How to bike commute AND not smell bad at work? Here are five tips to ease your worries.

Tips for bike commuting

5 Tips For Beginner Bike Commuters

  1. Be Traffic Savvy

Yes it is a jungle out there, but you can bike safely through it all.

- Wear a helmet.

- Always assume that drivers can’t see you. When riding, consistently scan for drivers and be prepared for unpredictable moves: car doors opening, sudden stops, surprise turns.

- Be predictable (that’s a good thing). Riding with traffic, stopping at stop signs and lights, signaling your turns and staying in control are key to being a predictable and safe rider.

  1. Wear Visible Clothing

How’s your day glowing? Neon visible outerwear, bright helmet covers, and reflective ankle bands heighten your safety. Plan your cycle wardrobe to be colorful at every layer, so when you layer up or down you can always be seen.

  1. Daily bike check

Check yourself, before you wreck yourself. Every morning give your bike a maintenance check: Brakes? Tire pressure? Cables? Chain?

  1. Clean Yourself

Stock your panniers with baby wipes, a travel towel, and deodorant to freshen up upon your arrival. Your co-workers will love you for it!

  1. Clean Your Gear

Frequently cleaning your cycling outerwear and layers is a must to keep them breathable and waterproof. For daily bike commuters, you should wash your gear every month. Use the specialized cleaner Tech Wash to remove dirt, grime, and sweat from your synthetic outerwear and gear. When the items need a waterproofing boost, use TX.Direct Wash-In after cleaning to restore water repellency. By removing the dirt and revitalizing the breathability and water repellency, your gear with keep you comfortable and last much longer.

Take these five tips and give bike commuting a try. Good luck, be safe, ride fast!

An End of Ski Season Checklist – How to Store Ski Gear Properly

April 16, 2015 by nikwax | 0 comments

It’s the time of year when, unless you like ski mountaineering, snow is out of the picture. Before you enter summer mode completely, take a moment to clean and store your ski and snowboard gear. Many people don’t know how to store their ski gear properly. This end of ski season checklist can help avoid delaminating jackets, funky smells, rusty edges, and warped gear. Follow these 6 tips to make sure your planks and outwear stay in great condition and are ready to go when the lifts start to spin again.

How to Store Ski Gear Properly

Spring riding and closing day fun. Photo by Christopher Powell Photography

End of ski season checklist:

1. Wash your outerwear
It is ok to wash waterproof jackets and pants. It really is! Your ski jacket and pants get dirty throughout the season: sweat from going big, grease from a nooner fry binge, rouge ketchup, and spilled Après beverages are all contributors. If left unwashed the sweat, dirt, bacteria, and beer stains fester and degrade the waterproofing and fabric of your outerwear.

  • For hardshells or synthetic insulated outwear, first clean with Tech Wash and then re-waterproof with TX.Direct.
  • For down-filled puffy items, Down Wash Direct will remove grime while protecting delicate feathers. Down Proof adds water-repellency. Place items in the dryer and tumble on air dry. Add two tennis balls (pre-Fido) to help fluff the items back up.

2. Love your gloves
Gloves and mittens take a beating on the hill, from abrasive snow to runny noses. These inhibit the water repellency and shorten the mitts’ lifespan.

3. Clean your base layers (And face masks too!)
Why store stinky things? Wash and deodorize your dirty layers and buffs before putting them away.

  • Use BaseWash to clean and deodorize your synthetic layers and face masks. Wool Wash will take care of your wool layers, ensuring they are ready to perform at their max come Opening Day.
  • TIP: If you use your base layers year round for running, hiking, and camping trips, use BaseWash with every load of synthetics to keep them performing and in great condition.

4. Wax your planks for storage
Applying storage wax is an often-overlooked step at the end of the ski season. Properly storing your skis and snowboards over the summer will increase their lifespan and then require minimal tuning when the snow starts to fall again.

  • Our buds over at break down how to wax your skis for storage. 
  • TIP: Be sure to store your toys outside of a ski or board bag. Trapped moisture and extreme temperatures are not good for your equipment.

5. Care for your Skins
Uphill ski traffic has exploded in popularity! To get the maximum life from your skins be sure to dry them and fold them correctly after each tour.

6. Store boots buckled or laced. Important!

  • Store your boots in a dry, cool place with the buckles buckled and straps strapped to help the plastic shell or leather outer retain its shape. If stored unbuckled boots can warp and become (even more) uncomfortable.

Goodbye sweet ski season. Miss you already. But Hello Summer!


To purchase products in USA.

To purchase products in Canada.

How To Wash Smelly Athletic Clothes

March 18, 2015 by nikwax | 0 comments

Removing odors from stinky gym clothes can seem an impossible task. No matter how often you wash them, the minute you hit the gym the knockout odors come back. Smelly athletic clothes are embarrassing, feel gross, and do not perform at their best, thus neither do you. Luckily, Nikwax has a solution to your smelly active apparel.

Nikwax BaseWash is a high-performance, biodegradable detergent for synthetic clothing. It is excellent at removing odors and preventing future odor build up in fitness apparel that is worn next to skin. BaseWash also improves the fabric’s wicking power, accelerates its drying time, and increases the breathability. No matter what your sport is, BaseWash is the best way to care for and wash athletic clothes. Plus, it’s safe for your household and environment!

How to wash smelly athletic clothes and remove odors.

Smelly athletic clothes are gross. Learn how to remove odors with Nikwax BaseWash.

Why do synthetic clothes smell in the first place?
Lightweight, wicking, and breathable fabrics have redefined and enhanced athletic activities and sports. From hot yoga to hockey to cycling to skiing, performance athletic apparel makes sports much more comfortable. Unfortunately, these wondrous athletic clothes easily become really smelly.

Stubborn bacteria and microbes are the cause of the musty, sour, and ammonia-like rotting odors in gym clothes. These stinky buggers think synthetic fabrics are perfect place to hang out, and, like an unwelcome houseguest, they are difficult to evict.

How can I remove odors from gym clothes and get rid of the bacteria?
There are many suggestions on how to deodorize and wash smelly active clothes: put the gross clothes in the freezer, boil them, soak them in vinegar, or watch the wash cycle like a hawk to add baking soda at the exact, correct minute. These attempts to remove gym odors are intensive, inconvenient, and never 100% successful. Plus, who wants to smell like pickles at the gym?

Nikwax BaseWash, the odor-eliminating super cleaner, is easy to use. To wash smelly athletic clothes follow these 4 simple steps.
1. Start a load in your washing machine with cold water
2. Use BaseWash in substitution for regular laundry detergent
3. Once the cycle is done, air-dry the clothes
4. Use BaseWash frequently to keep odors from coming back and increase performance.

Washing smelly active clothing with Nikwax BaseWash removes stubborn odors, and enhances the benefits of technical apparel, keeping you comfortable during your workout.

Try it for yourself! And next time you roll out your mat or lace up, you’ll feel ready to train and perform at your best!

Where to buy BaseWash:

In The USA

In Canada


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