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Nikwax TX.Direct Wash In

Blog Date - 07 March 2017

By Pocketpete

Following our trip to the extremely wet and muddy lake district the hobbit (aka my wife) decided both our waterproofs were dirty.

So in the wash they go......

Of course hobbits are totally unaware that a washing machine will completely ruin the waterproof properties of said Berghaus trousers and £250 Gore-Tex jackets.

After much telling off I pointed out that these items only need wiping with a damp cloth, perhaps with a light soapy sponge for stubborn mud.

So after much research I purchased a bottle of Nikwax. There is a Nikwax review and users forum, I think it must be a compulsory thing these days. Half the people say Nikwax works and half say it's rubbish.

Hmm..... I decided to go with the majority of reviews and followed the forum instructions rather than the bottles instructions.

A tin of the Nikwax on a table

Wash the items first with liquid detergent. Then wet with warm water. Add 2 caps of Nikwax. Then add 6 litres of warm water. Agitate it for 5 minutes. Leave for 15 minutes. Agitate again. Then rinse in cold water until the water is clear then hang up to dry.

When they are just slightly damp put them in the dryer on half heat until they are dry. This cures the product and makes the water run off. This stuff is Gore-Tex safe.

Once dry I ran water over the arm of the jacket it runs off pretty well. I ventured to work on my bike in medium rain and my Berghous trousers seemed fine, no leaks.

I will see how long this stuff lasts. First impressions are OK and reports online say it will refresh the items for about 6 months to a year.

The moral of the story is don't wash your waterproofs in the washing machine. 

What's the best way to keep dry? Got any recommendations or delightful tips? We're always looking for contributions from readers just like this one from Pocketpete. Short or long, funny or informative. Click Here.

Reader's Comments

Graham TK said :-
Hi. Can you tell me why putting waterproofs into the washing machine damages them? I've heard this several times before. Thank you.
16/3/2017 6:29:11 AM UTC
├ůsa said :-
I think I ruined my riding jacket by washing it with the wrong (just normal) washing liquid. Could that be so?
I've tried to revive it using the product above (and other products too) but it seems like a lost cause. But, I didn't put my jacket in the tumble dryer because the instructions in my jacket advise not to.
16/3/2017 10:40:48 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I've had a quick look on the internet about Gore-Tex and this is what I have learned.

Gore-Tex has lots and lots (billions) of teeny weeny tiny little holes. These holes are too small for water to pass through but not steam from your sweaty body. So the cold and liquid rain can't get through the Gore-Tex but the vapour from your sweat can escape.

Apparently the Gore-Tex ain't very strong so it's bonded to a stronger material such as the nylon or cordura of your jacket. Buuuuuut...if the nylon or cordura gets wet the rain doesn't get in but then the steam can't get out either. The steam is trapped by the rain on the outside and condenses into water and makes you wet. It's not the rain coming in so much as your sweat not getting out.

Soooooo...your jacket is treated with a water repellent. This causes the water to run off your jacket this allowing the steam to continue to escape. If you wash your jacket in the washing machine with regular detergents these wash off the repellent.

In my experience this repellent will in the fullness of regular use in cold wet British climates gets washed off anyhow. Thus turning your waterproof breathable jacket into a regular non-breathable waterproof jacket.

So either a) treat your jacket with water repellent like the Nikwax regularly or b) buy cheap lightweight waterproof overjackets that are loose enough to allow your body to breath anyhow.

With regards to motorcycle boots the idea is similar but I don't understand how it works with the leather.
17/3/2017 12:08:35 PM UTC

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