How to Wash and Revitalize Your Waterproof Jacket

We've all had that one waterproof yet breathable jacket that we love to wear in the backcountry but overtime it slowly becomes less waterproof. You don't have to ditch your favorite jacket or rain pants and buy another. There are ways to reapply a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating on your jacket or rain pants to revive the water repellency. A good washing with Nikwax or similar waterproofing product will revive the water repellency and allow you to keep covering miles and miles of trail.

Most waterproof outerwear can be machine washed and dried. I recommend using a Nikwax Tech Wash or similar product to revive the DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating. Then a spin through a low to medium heat dryer will help activate the DWR treatment.

While you can't fix a waterproof membrane if your jacket starts to leak after several years you can reapply a durable water repellent (DWR) finish on all waterproof gear. Avoid using harsh detergents and fabric softeners in the care of garments with a DWR finish, because they can reduce its effectiveness. There are spray-on or wash-in products on the market that restore a DWR finish and will once again allow moisture to bead on a fabric's surface. This process can be repeated as often as needed.

Watch this video of STP's Gear Guide Ryan Pennock explaining how to wash and revitalize a waterproof garment.

For more information on caring for water proof garments check out our Waterproof Guide.
Andy Hawbaker
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Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
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