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:

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

 

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

60 thoughts on “How to Clean and Re-Waterproof your Rain Jacket”

  1. 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?

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. Hey Neil!

      Great question! For softshell jackets, we make a specialized product called “Softshell Proof,” found in two forms…
      Wash-In: http://www.nikwax.com/en-us/products/productdetail.php?productid=251&itemid=-1&fabricid=-1
      Spray-On: http://www.nikwax.com/en-us/products/productdetail.php?productid=569&itemid=-1&fabricid=-1

      You would still want to clean the jacket with Tech Wash first, and then use the Softshell Proof. As always, follow the care instructions on the garment label and then follow the instructions on the Nikwax bottle.

      Hope that helps!

      – Brennon

  2. 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.)

    1. 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

    1. 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

  3. Do you just add the tech wax to the wash at the beginning of a wash cycle? It will get rinsed off won’t it in the rinse cycle?

    1. Hey Donna! Tech Wash is used instead of standard laundry detergent, for washing your synthetic, technical apparel. You pour the appropriate amount (instructions on bottle) of Tech Wash into the detergent drawer, and run a laundry load with 3-4 technical garments, according to the care labels on those specific garments. All Nikwax products are water-based and adhere to the fabric fibers, rather than coat the garments, so it doesn’t wash off…it actually washes IN. Hope that helps! – Brennon

  4. Hello Nixwax team

    A query please in regard to the ‘Techwash’ and ‘TX Direct’

    After washing a textile outdoor jacket with the ‘Techwash’ : at the end of the washing machine cycle, and with the jacket still in the machine: Do i then add the ‘Tech wash’ and simply run the cycle again?, then remove and hang out to dry?
    Sincere thanks
    Christopher

    1. Hey Chris!

      Step 1: Run cycle of Tech Wash, washing according to the garment care label instructions.
      Step 2: The cycle ends, and with damp jacket still sitting in machine, add TX.Direct into the detergent drawer, just as you did with the Tech Wash, and run a 2nd cycle.
      Step 3: When TX.Direct cycle ends, dry according to the garment care label instructions.

      Hope that clarifies it! – Brennon

  5. I’ve got some grey greasy-looking areas on my turquoise blue Paramo jacket. Should I rub in some Tech Wash to these areas before putting the jacket into the machine, or should these patches of grey come out in the ordinary wash cycle?

    1. Hey Penny!

      You can certainly spot-clean those trouble areas, using a toothbrush or similar tool, and Tech Wash, slightly diluted with water. Probably only need just a tad bit of Tech Wash, to start. After spot-cleaning, a regular wash should clean it up! – Brennon

  6. After using the Tech Wash and the TX Direct in a wash cycle, should the garments be sent through a rinse cycle or just allowed to spin and then dry? If the Nikwax products are water-based, one would think that Nikwax would recommend not sending the garments through a rinse cycle (as the rinse cycle is would just dissolve the waterproofing – this is a basic principle of chemistry – “like dissolves like”) however this is not published on the product labels nor on the Nikwax website. Please advise.

    1. Hey Gregory!

      We always encourage people to follow the garment care label instructions FIRST. If the care label/tag says “Wash cold” then wash cold. If it says “Run rinse cycle” then do that, too! Inherently,there is no need to run a second rinse cycle after washing, though.
      STEP 1: Wash with Nikwax Tech Wash (after rinsing out any remnant regular detergent residue from the detergent drawer) according to the care label instructions.
      STEP 2: Wash immediately after with Nikwax TX Direct according to the care label instructions; no need to dry in between cycles. Wash back to back.
      STEP 3: Dry according to the care label.

      Hope that helps, Gregory!

  7. Some interesting questions on here. Hopefully this is too. Would there be any benefit to be gained by leaving a jacket to soak in a tub of waterproofed for a longer time than it would be in a machine? In a similar vein, if a jacket is soaked in a bucket and then allowed to drip dry, would that result in a better coverage of waterproofer. Thanks in advance

    1. Hey Andrew! Our waterproofing can be thought of as a liquid DWR (Durable Water Repellent), so there’s only so much of it that can be absorbed and applied to any given garment. Once the fabric is treated, it is treated. Washing according to the care label and following the on-bottle instructions closely will get you the best performance. Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks, that makes sense. It also settles a long term “discussion”. Unfortunately I’m on the losing side of this one – lol.
        Thanks again for taking the time

  8. Hi, I’ve washed and re-proofed my Rapha Hooded Rain jacket, using NikWax Tech Wash and Tx. Direct Wash-in, unfortunately the water isn’t beading and running off (like it used to) and then soaks through. Have I done something wrong? Do you have any advice?

    I purchased the jacket last winter, so it’s not that old, and didn’t wear it all summer. I noticed that it wasn’t repelling water as it had when new, so I washed and re-proofed as described above, but there hasn’t been much (if any) improvement.

    Best, Iain

  9. Hi, I’ve read through these answers and about TX.Direct Wash-in and want to clarify about washing instructions because they do not seem consistent.

    The bottle itself says to wash in 30 degree celsius water on the “synthetic” setting, which my washer doesn’t have, nor does it allow you to specify a specific temperature. One of the answers on this page states to wash on the warm/heavy cycle, which my washer does have. However, another answer here says to follow the instructions on my garment FIRST, which say machine wash cold.

    So do I do machine wash cold? Why doesn’t the bottle simply say to follow the garment label instructions? If I had not come to this website how would I have known that?

    Thanks,
    Nate

    1. Hey Nate! I have a really long explanation for this, but I will keep it simple: Follow the garment care label first and foremost, and then simply substitute Nikwax in for standard detergent, after cleaning out any detergent residue from the detergent drawer. You can usually pull it all the way out and go rinse it out in a sink. The bottles are all manufactured in the UK, which is why they often use Celsius, and they are also dual-language (French), because we distribute in Canada. As the North American affiliate, we don’t have a lot of say on what goes on the bottles, unfortunately. In general, the bottle instructions are there to compliment the garment care label instructions, and help with amounts, directions, etc.

      Hope that helps! – Brennon and the Nikwax Team

  10. Hi, can you advise when cleaning and re proofing using Nikwax Tech wash (50ml) per garment and TX.Direct wash in (100ml) per garment for Adult items, can i use less product for children and baby items as they are smaller in size?.
    Please advise.

    1. Hey Julie! Yes, you can technically use less for those small garments. For best recommendations, please give our Customer Service team a call! They have experience with these ideas: 206-633-0063. Thank you!

  11. I have the original orange Paramo, and still in active use, which has regularly been cleaned in Tech Wash over the last 20 years or so. However, it is now heavily stained and TechWash won’t remove these stains, it is looking grubby. I noticed that it can be washed in normal detergent, then washed in Tech Wash and then Direct. Is this correct, will it harm the garment?
    Also I noticed you offer a cleaning/reproofing service? Is there a link to this. Thank you.
    Eric Whitehead.

    1. Hey Eric! Looks like you’re in the UK. Our UK Customer Service team is stellar and this a perfect question for them! Give them a quick call: +44 (0)1892 786 400 between the hours of 8.30 am to 5.30 pm Monday to Friday (UK time). They can have some good recommendations for you. Thanks!

  12. Hi, I’ve accidently used de Nikwax TX before using the Tech wash on my ski jacket. Is it a good idea to still use the tech wash? The jacket was/is quite clean. Or should I do that after my next skiing trip?

    Thanks,
    Allard

    1. Hey there! You’re fine. Tech Wash is the cleaner, so it will be able to work before or after TX Direct has been applied. In fact, Tech Wash is best used in-between waterproofings to maintain the cleanliness of the jacket, which in turn maintains the water-repelling functionality. We always recommend using Tech Wash first before an initial waterproofing, but it’s not the end of the world if you skipped it the first time. Hope that helps!

  13. Hi there,
    Quick question! I am looking at getting Nikwax for a Gore-Tex windstopper cycling jacket. It is a fleece lined jacket but the DWR has worn off a bit at this point. Is it OK to use the Nikwax tech wash or other Nikwax wash ins with a fleece lined jacket?

    Thanks!

    -Matt

    1. Hey Matt! Tech Wash is designed to be a gentle cleaner and functions great with fleece. It’s our recommended cleaner for both GORE TEX and fleece. Full immersion is great! 🙂 When it comes time to waterproof, you will want to opt for a Spray-On Nikwax waterproofer, rather than Wash-in, due to the difference in fabrics. If the shell is a softshell fabric, use Softshell Proof Spray On. If the shell is hardshell, TX Direct Spray On is your choice. Because TXD or PP are not designed for fleece, full immersion isn’t ideal. Polar Proof is actually the waterproofer for fleece, but again, PP is not designed for Windstopper outer shells. Hope that helps!

    1. Hey John! Nope! Rinses do not “wash out” Nikwax treatment. Nikwax is based on a polymer that actually follows water into the areas of the fabric fibers that need fresh DWR applied, so clean-water rinses actually help the treatment apply even further. Hope that helps!

  14. With a straight choice between a spray-on reporoofing after a wash with Tech Wash, or a wash with TX-Direct, which would you recommend? Are there any benefits of one over another?

    1. Hey Peter! Wash-In TX Direct waterproofing is ideal for rain jackets, ski shells, or other hardshell outerwear without those particular liners. Spray On TX Direct is ideal for any hardshell jackets that have liners of varying fabrics that TX Direct is not designed for: fleece, wool, leather, etc. Spray On allows you to control the treatment to the outside of the jacket. Our wonderful Customer Service team is knowledgeable on this and would be happy to help! Give them a quick call for any advice/tips: 206-633-0063. Hope that helps!

    1. Hi Jerry,
      Please do NOT use Tech Wash and TX.Direct in the same wash cycle. Wash with Tech wash first and then use TX.Direct in a second load. Think of it like car wax. You clean your car first, then you wax it. If you try to speed things up by mixing the car wax with the soap things will not work out the way you want.
      Happy Proofing!

  15. Do you use TX Direct wash-in immediately after Tech Wash, or should you let the garments dry first after the Tech wash application?

    Does the water-resistance accumulate with more applications?

    1. Hi Rajeeb!

      No need to let the jacket dry in between cleaning and waterproofing. Our products are waterbased, so the water carries the waterproofing agents to where they are needed. This means it won’t take multiple “coats” to reach maximum saturation. However, do be sure to clean and rewaterproof at least a few times per year for best results!

  16. HI, I was wondering where you put the “Tech Wash”, do you put it in the machine with the garments in one of they ball thinges? or in the drawer where the softener goes? Do I still put washing powder in as well as the “Tech Wash”?

    1. Hi Neil,

      Put the Tech Wash where you would put in your regular detergent. Do NOT use any other detergents or washing powders with Tech Wash. If you have a drawer for your detergent, be sure to wash/wipe it out thoroughly before using Tech Wash, as normal detergent residue can harm water-repellent finishes.

  17. How do I know or measure 3.4 oz or 100 ml of tech wash? i think i might have spelled a few oz already when trying to open the bottle I thought the product was come sealed but apparently it is not? And the bottle I brought its 10 fl oz so mostly can be use 3 times before bottle is all gone???

  18. I need to know what other cycle I can use for the tech wash? Instructions on the can mention to set the cycle to synthetic and warm which my machine don’t have. I have only the following options on my machine. They are Perm Press, Bulky Large, Tub Clean, Cotton/Normal, Delicates, Hand Wash/Wool, and Speed Wash. So I am thinking of use Delicate, or Speed Wash cycle. Do you agree? and each cycle that I choose on my machine has a set time of how long the cycle will last…do you recommend a certain time to set it to or just leave it the way it is for the cycle my machine has?? Will that have any effects on the clothing restoration…Delicate cycle will take 41 mins to finish, and Speed Wash will take 15 mins to finish and I can set each one to longer if I want to??

    1. Hi Lee,
      The most important thing is to follow the care labels on the items you are washing. Nikwax products work well at any temperature. If you’re unsure, I’d lean toward a delicate cycle. Happy washing!

  19. Hi, I was given a bottle of softshell proof wash-in and a spray bottle of softshell proof.
    My question is, can I use this instead of tx on my Paramo waterproof jacket?

    1. Hi Sarah- Since I don’t know what type of Paramo jacket you own, I cannot say for sure. What I can say, is that if it is a rain shell, you CAN use Softhsell Proof, but the results will not as good as if you were to use TX.Direct. We develop our products to offer premium performance on the fabrics they are intended for. Hope that helps!

  20. I just re-waterproofed my Endura cycling jacket using tech wash and TX direct. My question is this: when I wear this jacket even in the rain, it tends to get sweaty underneath. So I wash it regularly. Will I undo all the waterproofing I just did the first time I wash it again? Do I have to wash it every time in tech wash? How long can I reasonably expected to stay waterproof if I don’t wash it and how long can I expected to stay waterproof if I wash it once a month or so?

    1. Hi Jay- Good news! You can wash your jacket as much as you like. As long as you use Tech Wash it will not harm the water-repellency. In fact, washing with Tech Wash should revitalize the water-repellency. If you wash it in Tech Wash every month, you should be a happy cyclist. Eventually you will need to use TX.Direct again, as the DWR (durable water repellency) will wear off through abrasion, like when you stuff your jacket into backpacks etc. But if kept clean you will likely only need to re-waterproof once a season or less.

Leave a Reply to Rajeeb Rashid Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: