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How to Clean and Re-Waterproof your Rain Jacket



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:


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:


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!


  1. Do you have to clean the machine after the nikwax cleaner or wash in waterproofing?

  2. Can Nikwax TX Direct Spray-On be applied to clean, dry garments, or does the Gore-Tex fabric have to be wet for proper application?

    • Hi Michael! You must apply TX.Direct spray-on to a wet garment. Our products are water-based, so the waterproofing goes where the water goes. Simply clean first with Tech Wash, then apply the spray-on while the jacket is still wet.

  3. using it on hunting rainwear what is the expectancy before next proofing

    • Hi Alan! If you notice your jacket starting to soak up water again, then it’s time to clean again with Tech Wash. Usually you can clean with Tech Wash 3-5 times before needing to re-apply TX.Direct waterproofing.

  4. Should I use this method and these products for my Marmot Softshell? Thanks!

  5. So my ski jacket is clean…but how much (hard/fast) can I spin it it? May I spin it at all? Can I dry this in the dryer? How hot? How long? What about all those fabric softener sheets that have been rolling around in there the last few years–surely coating the inside of the dryer drum? Does that fabric softener chemical interfere with water repellency? Feel as though I’ve been left hanging here. (Like the jacket in the basement, but not dripping as much.)

    • Hey George! For ski jackets, always follow the garment’s care instruction label, from the manufacturer. They are usually found on the lower inside portion of the jacket, in tag form. Avoid using fabric softeners for technical outerwear, as they attract water and will counteract your waterproofing efforts. You should be alright using a dryer that has had sheets used in it in the past, as long as you avoid putting any sheets directly in with your ski garments. The sheets typically leave residue only on the fabrics tey interact with, not on the steel dryer drum. I’ve referred your inquiry to our customer service team, and so you may receive a response from them as well.

      Happy to help! – Brennon

  6. Would like to waterproof my EDC bag.
    It’s made of thick cotton canvas – but not waxed canvas.

    • Hey Mike! Yes, we make a product called Cotton Proof that should work perfectly for any think cotton canvas bags. Click HERE to follow a link to learn more about Cotton Proof.

      Like other Nikwax products, just follow the directions on the bottle, after cleaning your bag well, and you’ll be good to go. Happy to help! – Brennon

  7. Hi,

    Which wash should I use to clean and re waterproof my down jacket. What about my ski jacket

  8. Pingback: Nikwax Testimonials: “An Ounce of Prevention…” |

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