Global leader in safe, high performance waterproofing, cleaning and conditioning for outdoor gear

November 9, 2017
by nikwax
0 comments

How to Wash a Down Jacket

Purchasing a down jacket is rite of passage for us outdoor types. It’s the quintessential uniform for all mountain towns, a basecamp buddy, a belay bestie, and a go-to layer for all chilly situations.

Buying a down jacket represents achieving the “next stage” of outdoorsiness. Anyone who spends time sleeping, skiing, hiking, or otherwise adventuring outside understands that a down coat (or bag, or booties, or gloves, or, yes, even hats) can mean the difference between basic survival and enjoyment. Down offers an unbeatable warmth to weight ratio. It’s perhaps the best insulator out there. Did we mention it’s cozy?

It also requires care and attention to extend its lifespan.

Here’s the good news: Washing your down jacket is easy, affordable and guarantees a long lifespan for your gear.

What’s the best way to take care of your down gear?

Wash: Gear performs better when closest to its original, pristine state. Case in point: the birdbath. Birds know that their down will best protect them when it is clean. Down, specifically, requires a gentle, detergent-free cleaner. We recommend our very own, Nikwax Down Wash Direct, which is specially formulated to launder down feathers without weighing down the loft (also see Down Proof, below).

Rinse & Spin: So long as there isn’t a center-mount agitator, a special washing machine isn’t required for down gear. If the washer is large enough to handle the load, it’s good to go. The hard and fast rule is rinse, spin, then spin again. Get as much water out before drying as possible.

Dry: Relax to the rhythmic sound of a tennis ball tumbling through the dry cycle. The down will be clumpy from its time in the washer, and drying it completely is critical. Tossing a clean tennis ball (or two) in the dryer provides a gentle “smack” to break up the clumps. Fair warning: this is not a short process and you will likely have moments of clumpy terror when you check on the progress. Keep resetting the timer until your beloveds are lump-free and fully dry.

Results: When you pull your newly revived jacket out of the dryer, not only will it be gleaming with cleanliness, it will also be puffier then when you began the day. By gently cleansing the delicate feathers, Nikwax Down Wash Direct revives loft and reinvigorates the down’s ability to trap air once again. Voilà!

Store: Hang it all out there. Just say no to storing down gear in tight stuff sacks. Over time, perpetually “squished” down feathers will become more resistant to re-lofting to their original air-trapping excellence. Store down apparel and sleeping bags hanging freely with plenty of space or hanging in large, breathable bags.

Additional resources:

  • Always read and follow the label instructions for temperature and other considerations. Here’s handy guide to care labels:

  • Down is only effective when dry. Periodically apply Nikwax Down Proof, which both revives the outer fabric’s DWR, AND adds water repellency to the down itself, without adversely affecting the insulating properties.

September 29, 2017
by nikwax
0 comments

Nikwax the First Company in the World to become Carbon Balanced Since its Founding

carbon-balanced-transparent

In their 40th year Nikwax is proud to have balanced all their operational carbon emissions since their start. Maintaining their commitment to conserving and protecting the natural world.

As Nikwax celebrates its 40th year as a forward thinking, innovative company, we are also proud to be celebrating the fact that we are the first and only outdoor company to carbon balance its operations for our entire forty years.

As an environmentally focused company, Nikwax is fully aware that the natural habitats of the world are crucial for vital ecosystems, an enormous array of plant and animal life, and the general beauty that such habitats give us. It is imperative to us that we do what we can to ensure these areas are protected for future generations and for the health of our planet overall.

Hiking-44

“We recognize that climate change is going to be one of the greatest challenges for future generations,” said Nikwax founder, Nick Brown. “It is already destabilizing the outdoor industry, influencing snow and rainfall, and bringing extreme and unpredictable weather. 10 years ago, we decided to balance the carbon emissions coming from our manufacturing and operational processes by restoring forest cover in partnership with the World Land Trust. By restoring forests, the trees capture the CO2 we emit, while also providing protection for endangered species and promoting bio-diversity.”

Landscape-2-700x438

Working in partnership with the World Land Trust (WLT), here at Nikwax we have consistently tracked and calculated our CO2 emissions, which are then offset through donations to the WLT Carbon Balanced Programme.

A benefit from this carbon balancing is that here at Nikwax we can expand our operations while limiting our overall environmental impact. This ties in greatly with our overall focus on sustainability and environmental protection, where our range of innovative products are developed for high performance but with low environmental impact.

Our 10-year process of becoming carbon balanced was a 3-step approach:
1. Measure carbon emissions produced through operations. (Click here to learn more about how we measure this.)
2. Reduce emissions through reduction, energy efficiency updates, recycling, etc.
3. Offset remaining emissions through financial contributions to the World Land Trust.

The World Land Trust’s co-founder and CEO John Burton stated, “Nikwax and Paramo’s (Nikwax’s sister company) commitment to becoming Carbon Balanced since their origins, donations to projects around the world and even supporting WLT at events such as the British Birdwatching Fair, is truly above and beyond.”

“We would like to show other companies how easy it is to take this step. If all companies balanced their operational emissions, the world would be carbon neutral,” said Nick Brown.

For more information on the World Land Trust and our carbon balancing program, please visit
the World Land Trust’s site.

September 28, 2017
by nikwax
6 Comments

How to Clean and Re-Waterproof your Rain Jacket

IC_061016_Nikwax_Outdoor_0180-lr

Over time, rain jackets can lose their water-repellency. Waterproofing doesn’t last forever. Whether from rubbing against a dirty car while packing up groceries, or a muddy dog wanting snuggles, a dirty jacket will stop repelling water.

jacket wetting out

Wetting Out: When your jacket stops repelling water.

Luckily, it’s easy to clean and re-waterproof your rain jacket so you can stay dry. 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:

Nikwax TECH WASH

Green Cap = 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 jackets, or five full caps (250ml) for 4-6 jackets. In a front loader, it’s best to add no more than two jackets 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 rain 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:

251 TX DIRECT 300ML WASH-IN USA

Purple Cap = Proof

  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 jackets 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 jackets 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.

    water repellency

    Re-Waterproofed and ready for rain!

There you have it! Now you’re ready to step out into the rain without fear of getting wet. Congrats!

August 24, 2017
by nikwax
6 Comments

Cleaning, Waterproofing, and UV Protecting your Tent

tents need care and protection

Why should you care for your tent?

Cleaning and waterproofing your tent will ensure that it lasts longer and performs better in the elements.

Exposure to UV rays and the elements can be devastating to your tent. Simply two weeks of UV exposure may lead to a 50% reduction in the tear strength of your tent’s fabric!

Also, over time, dirt and dust build-up will attract water to the tent fabric, making it absorb water.

 

What should you do?

Before your camping trip, set up your tent to check its waterproof condition. This is also the perfect time to give your tent a little extra love by cleaning it with Nikwax Tent & Gear SolarWash. Tent & Gear SolarWash not only cleans, but adds UV protection to your tent, ensuring it holds up under the sun’s shining onslaught

If you notice your tent is no longer repelling water, treat it with Tent & Gear SolarProof. Tent & Gear SolarProof provides superior waterproofing and also doubles the useful life of fabrics by protecting against UV damage.

nikwax tent cleaning and waterproofing

 

How should you do it?

  • Tents are best cleaned, waterproofed and UV protected when pitched. Never machine wash or tumble dry them!
  • Place the tent in an area that will drain easily and is free of excessive dirt or dust.

…………………………………………..

Cleaning & UV Protection

  • Spray Nikwax Tent & Gear SolarWash evenly over the outside of the fabric.
  • Rub in well with a damp sponge or cloth, paying attention to excessively filthy areas.
  • Rinse with clean water.
  • Allow to dry naturally (if not applying SolarProof). Ensure it is completely dry before packing the tent away.
  • Don’t forget to sweep/ shake out the inside of the tent.spray on tent cleaningwipe your tent clean

…………………………………………..

Waterproofing and UV protection

  • Apply the Tent & Gear SolarProof to a wet, clean tent ensuring that you pay particular attention to any seams.
  • Wipe away any excess with a clean cloth.
  • Allow to dry naturally

………………………………………………………………………………..

 

waterproofed tent

May 17, 2017
by nikwax
0 comments

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
3 Comments

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.

nikwax_footwear-care-chart

March 13, 2017
by nikwax
8 Comments

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
5 Comments

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!

Love,

Nikwax

October 9, 2015
by nikwax
12 Comments

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

DWR!

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.

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