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, body oils, and even smoke that are covering the water-repellent coating, making your jacket soak up water. Nasty! However, cleaning with household detergents isn’t the answer. They too can leave behind residues that attract water. Not great for waterproof performance. That’s why it’s key to use a technical cleaner like Nikwax Tech Wash. Tech Wash cleans away the crud while maintaining the water-repellency and breathability of your jacket.

Let’s get into it!

a clean and waterproof ski jacket is a happy ski jacket

Here’s how to clean.

  1. Check the pockets. Washing a tube of lip balm into your jacket is cause for tears, trust us.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. Sit back with a good book and a glass of wine/beer/hot cocoa as the machine runs its course.
  5. 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.

A question we get a lot is “But how often should I be doing all this?!“. Easy. When you notice your jacket looks dirty (don’t be gross- keep it clean!) or when you notice it’s soaking up water.

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.

45 thoughts on “How to Clean & Re-waterproof your Ski Jacket”

  1. So cool, I received samples from your company at the end of drenching, soaking wet bike ride in the Seattle area, called Chilly Hilly. So appropriate! My ‘weatherproof’ jacket was put to the test, and failed miserably after 3 hours of constant rain. I am anxious to use your products, the Tech Wash and TX Direct, but there are no instructions! I wish your website had a link to all the instructions for each of your products. That would be very helpful. Meanwhile, could some one send me instructions? I’d love to put some new life back into my favorite ‘weatherproof’ cycling gear!

    Mary H.

    1. Hi Mary,

      It was great seeing all you hardy riders yesterday. It was Nikwax weather for sure! Happy to help with the instructions.
      The instructions are on those little bottles- but a bit hidden as the labels are peel and read. If you look on the back you should see a double thick part of the label. Peel that up! (It may require a fingernail.) The instructions are also on our product pages on the website. Look for the lines that reads: “Use Tech Wash (or TX.Direct) in a washing machine…” and click on them to get the instructions.

      Stay Dry and Ride On!

  2. Do I use any detergent at all? Or do I just use the Nik wax tech wash?

    Also what’s the difference between the nikwax texh wash and the TX direct wash in?

    1. Hi Tiffany! No detergent is needed. Detergents leave behind residue that attracts water to your jacket. Tech Wash is a safe and effective way to clean your ski jacket without leaving any residue. The difference between Tech Wash and TX.Direct is that Tech Wash is a cleaner, and TX.Direct is a waterproofer. If you look at our caps you’ll see Tech Wash is Green and TX.Direct is Purple. An easy way to determine our products use is “Green for Clean, Purple for Proof”!

  3. I have w cotton lining in my ski jacket. Will this affect the wash / will the cotton lining also get covered in the Nik Wax?

    1. Hey Ben!

      Good question. If you’re ever worried about the lining of a jacket, you typically have 3 options:
      1) You can remove the lining, if that’s possible (zip away, velcro, etc.) and use the wash-in products like usual, following the care instructions on your garment.
      2) If you can’t remove the lining, you can opt for hand washing the shell of the jacket (Tech Wash), being careful to avoid the lining.
      3) You can also opt for the spray-on versions of some of our products (TX. Direct), in order to have control over what areas of the fabric are covered and what areas should not be.

      Also, we do make Wax Cotton Proof, found here: http://www.nikwax.com/en-us/products/productdetail.php?productid=258&itemid=-1&fabricid=-1
      I assume “w cotton” means wax cotton, so that product would help you, in waterproofing your wax cotton lining.

      Happy to help!

      – Brennon

  4. Hello there,

    This sounds like a great product. I’d love to try it out but I’m a bit wary as my winter jacket has faux fur lining the hood – Do you think TX Direct would be safe to use on this particular type of jacket?


    1. Hey Kristina!

      Good question. If you’re ever worried about the lining of a jacket, you typically have 3 options:
      1) You can remove the lining or hood, if that’s possible (zip away, velcro, etc.) and use the wash-in products like usual, following the care instructions on your garment.
      2) If you can’t remove the lining or hood, you can opt for waterproofing the shell of the jacket by hand, being careful to avoid the lining. A sponge or hand towel work well for this.
      3) You can also opt for the spray-on versions of some of our products (TX. Direct), in order to have control over what areas of the fabric are covered and what areas should not be.

      Happy to help!

      – Brennon

    1. Hey Laurie!
      Our products do not leave a film on the washing machine. If the garment manufacturer’s care instructions are followed and the instructions on the Nikwax bottle are followed, no film should be left.

      Hope that helps!
      – Brennon

  5. Hi
    Do I put the liquid into the drum of the washing machine or in the draw where I put my normal washing powder?

    1. Hey Claire! For all Nikwax Wash-In products, you pour the product in the detergent drawer, but make sure you remove the drawer from the machine (should pop/slide right out) and rinse it off thoroughly under a faucet, to remove all the coagulated detergent that’s accrued over time or been left behind from previous washes. Since conventional detergent actually leaves behind a water-attracting film on most clothes, you want to make sure no conventional detergent finds its way into the washing cycle with Tech Wash.
      This video link will be helpful, also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLuUM4F77aE

      Happy to help! – Brennon

  6. Hello, I have a spyder Dare ski pants and is not water-proofed well as I baught it. I used Tech wash and Tech Spray last week followed your instruction. However my pants still have zero water repel. I wonder is your product desiged for Spyder jacket? Their website reccomended Nikeax, but they are not Gore-tex and seems doesn’t work at all?

    1. Hey Ryan!

      I just double-checked the Spyder website and it says that the Dare ski pants are indeed supposed to have a DWR coating from the factory. DWR stands for “Durable Water Repellent” and is a water-resistant layer that sits on top of nearly all ski and outdoor technical apparel. Typically a DWR will be rendered useless is the material is extremely dirty or extremely old. Your Spyder pants should have repellency built into them, or at least be repelling water after aNikwax treatment, so maybe it’s possible that your pants had some dirt and residue really embedded into the fabric and might require a bit more Tech Wash per wash than the standard garment. Also, have you ever washed the pants in standard detergent previously? That could be the reason. Or did you hang your pants up vertically when you sprayed them with TX Direct? That could be the reason. When using spray you want to lay your pants down on a table/horizontally and spray them. Sometimes, spraying on a vertically-hung garment allows for streaking, as the solution drips and runs down toward the ground, leaving behind thinly-applied areas or missed areas. Wash-In TX Direct is a more certain way of evenly covering an entire garment.

      Hope some of that is helpful! – Brennon

  7. Can I spray nikwax on washed jacket (with tech wash) that had dried as I didn’t have spray when it was wet? Thank you

    1. Hey Nataliya!

      You will receive the best results if you spray TX Direct on a wet or damp jacket. The most effective way is to wash with Tech Wash first, then immediately after the wash cycle ends, lay out your jacket on a table or on a level surface and spray it with TX Direct, evenly coating the whole surface. Be sure to flip over the jacket and ensure coverage of all of the surface area of the jacket’s fabric. Wipe off the excess after letting it sit for a few minutes. Then dry according to the care label on the garment. Happy to help! – Brennon

    1. Hey Sue! You’re in luck. Our products are safe to use on Schoeller pants! In fact, our SoftShell Proof would be a great choice, as it is designed to effectively waterproof the directional fabric of softshell pants and jackets. Most silicone-based waterproofers (like WD-40, Scotch-guard, etc.) are almost always an aerosol-based product and typically not great for the environment. All Nikwax products are designed to be safely used in the home, are biodegradable, non-persistent, non-flammable, and environmentally-friendly. Hope that helps! – Brennon

        1. Hey Andrew! All our products are silicone-free, PFC-free, biodegradable, non-persistent, non-flammable, aerosol-free, and safe for the home and the washing machine. Hope that helps!

  8. I have an Eider ski jacket that uses their defender fabric. Are both the Nikwax products suitable to use on this jacket? It took a lot of water over the last week of skiing no I’d rather not buy a new one.

    1. Hey Nicole! You can certainly use Tech Wash and TX. Direct on your Eider jacket! If you follow the directions in the blog post, you should end up with a much better performing jacket, when you’re done. Happy to help! – Brennon

  9. Hi,
    I have a cold weather Burton ski jacket with an insulated, non-removable liner. The jacket is older and has lost it’s waterproofing. Is it ok to use tx.direct wash-in, or will that negatively impact the wicking performance of the liner? I’m planning to use the tx wash-in and then apply the tx spray on for added protection. Will this work?

    Thanks, Greg

    1. Hey Greg!

      Here’s my recommendation: wash the jacket (according to the jacket’s garment care label) in your washer, using Tech Wash in place of detergent. It will maintain breathability, clean your jacket, and maintain any waterproofing functionality that is still on the jacket. When the wash cycle ends, and the jacket is sitting damp in the bottom of the washer drum, run another wash cycle (according to the jacket’s garment care label) but this 2nd time, use TX.Direct in the detergent tray.

      All Nikwax products are designed to maintain or increase breathability, so you won’t lose wicking functionality. Hope that helps! – Brennon

  10. Hi there,

    I have a Napapijri skidoo jacket which is primarily made of polyamide and polyester. I’m looking to improve the overall waterproofing of the jacket, will the tech wash/tx. direct process work for this particular jacket?

    many thanks,

    1. Hey Millie!

      Yes, Tech Wash is designed to clean nearly all synthetic fabrics, like the ones your jacket is made of. TX Direct is designed to add water repellency to synthetic hardshells. If the jacket is a synthetic softshell jacket, you want to opt for Softshell Proof. Hope that helps! – Brennon

  11. I appreciate your responses to these remarks. I have a similar question to one above that didn’t quite get answered. Are their benefits to multiple treatments (in a row without use) of the TX Direct wash in version? Or benefits to doubling up the use of the TX direct washin with a coat of spray on afterwards? Trying to save a toddler winter outfit for another season. Thanks!

    1. Hey Jessie!

      There are no benefits to multiple treatments of TX, in a row. There can be multiple treatments of Tech Wash though, if a garment is particularly dirty/grimy and needs another wash before waterproofing. Once all the wetting-out areas on the garment (that need DWR replacement) have been located and treated by the TX treatment, the fabric won’t absorb any additional TX treatment. Simply put, treating your garments repeatedly in TX will not multiply the level of effectiveness with each treatment cycle. Hope that helps! – Brennon

  12. Hello,

    Is it safe to use Nikwax TX.Direct Wash-In on a cold weather gore-tex ski jacket which has Thinsulate liner to restore jackets waterproofing?
    Some say that it’s not recommended and TX.Direct is safe to use only with wet weather clothing without wicking liners.

    Best Regards

    1. Hey Martin! Luckily, Nikwax makes Spray-On versions of TX Direct and SoftShell Proof, depending on your needs. This allows you to still prepare the garment like normal (washing in Tech Wash) and then have control over where the waterproofing is applied. For best practices and great tips on this, give our Customer Service team a quick call: 206-633-0063.


  13. This post was just amazing! Straight to the point and it is a time tested piece of information. It’s really helpful for newbies like me. Very appreciating man! keep sharing. Brilliant piece! keep sharing these kinda posts.

  14. Hi!
    I have a pair of Spyder Winner Athletic Fit Pants and have worn them everyday last season. I love them and dont want to get a new pair. Unfortunately I am new to gear care and did not wash over the season or reapply water repellent treatment. It has been through a lot including spilling a cup of coffee on it…
    Do you think this pant is salvageable? I read your reply to a post above about the spyder jacket. and its water repellent layer.
    How many washes of Tech wash do you recommend that I put it through before applying a Nikwax or a spray. I feel like this might not work at all … Perhaps I should be retiring the pant…

    1. Hi Fiona! Your pants should absolutely be salvageable. Clean them thoroughly with Tech Wash- one wash load should be sufficient. If you have stubborn stains, pour a small amount of Tech Wash right onto them, and scrub gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and let soak for a few minutes before putting your pants in the washer. After you run your wash cycle, run a second, independent cycle with TX.Direct wash-in to re-up the water-repellency.

  15. Hi Nikwax team,
    thanks for this helpful article!

    If by any chance someone still reads comments at the moment, I would like to know which product to use for proofing a light jacket that is made of a blend of Polyester (65%) and Cotton (35%)?
    Regarding the fabric’s colour (light olive), I’m basically looking for the safiest product to use,i.e. leaving no marks…

    1. Hi Omar! First thing would be to read the care label to be sure you can wash your jacket. If it’s fine to wash, you would then clean with Tech Wash to make sure you have a nice, clean material to work with. Then, use Cotton Proof to add water-repellency to all cotton or poly-cotton blends.

  16. I have a bit of a bizarre question- I have just bought a vintage ski suit which I intend to ski for a whole week in. Unfortunately the weather conditions are looking like it could be a bit wet. The shell is 100% Nylon but I don’t think it will have had a DWR on it- is it possible to add this treatment to repel some potential snow/rain!!!?

    1. Hi Elizabeth! To make that sweet vintage suit water-repellent, first wash with Tech Wash. If it’s very, very old we recommend hand washing to be more gentle on the item. Then, after cleaning, use either TX.Direct Wash-In (by hand) or TX.Direct Spray-On to add water-repellency!

  17. Hello,
    I have a 6 year old Spyder Leader insulated jacket with PrimaLoft Silver insulation.

    I washed it in Nikwax Techwash and then I washed it in TX. Direct to waterproof it. It looks and smells better than when it was new. However, when I told my friend what I had done, he said that I should have used the spray on Nikwax as the wash-in waterproof will reduce the insulation value of the PrimaLoft.

    Can you please advise if I have damaged the PrimaLoft insulation and which product is best for a PrimaLoft insulated jacket.

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Nigel! TX.Direct Wash-In is absolutely fine to use on insulated items, including Primaloft. It will not harm or reduce the insulation value, and may help it, as it has added some water-repllelncy to the insulation, preventing it from absorbing moisture and reducing loft. Happy Nikwaxing!

Leave a Reply

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