The durable water repellent is a chemical coating which helps to repel water and retain a fabric’s breathability. It is usually applied to many rainwear and most times it can be applied to other outdoor gear as well. Durable water repellent working principle help to increase the surface tension of the fibers in your fabric as well as preventing water from getting soaked into your gear and wetting out.
A suitable, durable water repellent coating repels water from beading up and rolls off your fabric. In addition, good durable water coating includes protection against UV rays, which prevents harmful ultraviolet rays and helps to extend the effective life of your gear. In case if the durable water repellent coating gets damaged, you will notice wet spots in the surface areas where water has leaked through. These wet spots didn’t only let in the water where it is not required, but they also remove the breathability and durability of your fabric by filling it with moisture. This can lead to dreaded “wet out”.
Most times, durable water repellent coating applied newly before purchase will degrade by reducing your fabric’s ability to repel water. At first, you will notice that your waterproof jacket starts to lose quality in areas where there is regular movement or contact, such as writs cuffs and jacket’s shoulders. This occurs because durable water repellent is easily destroyed by abrasion and friction.
There are some factors responsible for the breakdown of the durable water repellent on your favourite pieces of waterproof gear, which include movement, dirt and washing machine.
Please note: There is no permanent, durable water repellent coating. The re-waterproofing is only necessary in order to prolong the life of your water-repellant gear except if you want to get soaked with water while wearing your jacket.
Some of the basic steps include:
- Ensure that you clean your gear and test it
- Treat the whole product and decide to spot treat
- Make use of waterproofing spray for all the necessary items
- You can also use wash-in waterproofing for selected items
- Wait until it gets completely dry.
Make sure that you follow the basic steps on the cleaning process as stated on the care labels for your tents, rain jackets, backpacks and any other things that you want to re-waterproof. Always remember to clean every item properly and keep it in a safe place.
Most times, your gear requires a good wash in other to repel water again. The process of removing unwanted dirt and evaporated body sweat is important to keep your gear in good shape, and it will keep you smelling nice as well. Also, you can improve your cleaning process by using detergents that are specifically formulated for waterproof gear. These products can help to increase the durability period before the next application of durable water repellent.
After washing, it is important to test your gear in a raining environment or wet weather (or using a hose) to check whether its water repellency has been enhanced before you continue the next step.
When it is clean, you can decide whether to apply a fresh coat of durable water repellent to the whole item or if you can easily spot treat the fabric. As discussed earlier, it is possible to notice only some areas of an item which has been degraded and requires a touch-up. If your tent seams and jacket shoulders are the only spots that required urgent attention? You can spray on the affected areas.
But if the whole item requires treatment, you need to set up a protected area big enough to spray the item completely. Another option is to use the wash-in waterproofing, which we are going to discuss after explaining the uses of waterproofing spray.
Waterproofing spray is good for garments with multiple layers where you want to only waterproof the outer layer. This applies to items such as rainwear, backpack cover, camping gear like tents and other items that consist of eVent or Gore-Tex. You can decide to use wash-in waterproofing for 2 or more layer rain gear garments, but it comes with some disadvantages. But in most cases, we provide a suitable waterproofing spray to get the job done.
Now that our gear looks clean, we can lay it out flat and apply durable water repellent spray such as Nanoflex Tex2. Direct spray on it. Regardless whether your garment is wet or dry when you apply the durable water repellent, both work fine. Make sure that you button or zip up your garment so that the spray will not touch the inside of your jacket or pocket. You can hold the spray bottle around six inches away from the fabric if you want to apply waterproof and coating. This will ensure that you get hold of all the fabric’s flaps and folds.
Allow the fabric to dry for some minutes, then remove any puddles or drips using a damp cloth.
Lastly, make sure that you have completely covered every area of your fabric in the new durable water repellent waterproofing spray after sometimes hang the gear up to dry. You can confirm if there is any excess product and wipe it away. Also, you can tumble dry the item using your dryer if the gear care label makes it possible.
Unlike the waterproofing spray, wash-in waterproofing products helps to coat the whole garment using the durable water repellent right from the washing machine.
I make use of wash-in waterproofing on my fleeces and moisture-wicking athletic shirts because I don’t want sweat or rain to cling to my fabrics. Also, I don’t want spilt coffee to get stained on my clothes.
Every wash-in waterproofing detergent has its criteria to follow. But you don’t have to worry because the process is not challenging compare to doing your normal laundry routine.
Most of the wash-in waterproofing treatments require low-dry cycle for the chemical to get “stick” to the fabric, while others such as Nanoflex Wash-On don’t. Regardless of the product you use, ensure that you follow the instructions so that you can get the best durable water repellent performance.
Making down is usually a convoluted subject focusing on “the best way to treat this” conversation, due to a down jacket or down sleeping bag that contain shell fabric similar to rain garment and the down itself which is close to the shell fabric.
The best way to re-waterproof down jacket’s shell fabric is by following the waterproofing spray steps I discussed above. This will allow the outer layer of your down gear waterproof once again.
At first, wash the down coat to make it clean, then make use of waterproof wash-in cleaner. The down cleaner is more warm and gentle compared to most of the available detergents. Oil and dirt affect the effectiveness of down insulation as much as it affects the protective layer of durable water repellent on the outer part of the gear.
An ideal down detergent will improve the fluffiness of down insulation as well as extending the water resistance of treated down. Don’t forget to check the care label instructions. You can also apply some lean tennis balls inside the dryer in other to wet clumps of down to the affected areas.
Is it possible to waterproof this as well? Absolutely yes. Most of the Gore-Tex waterproof shoes and boots make use of durable water repellent similar to clothes, and you can imagine how much excess sweat, dirt, and scuffing they get on your clothes.
A quick wash will not be enough for a well-travelled pair of boots. To properly wash and clean your footwear, you have to remove the laces and break out the scrubbing brush. Try to remove the dirt from all the leather and fabric surfaces, then wash those shoes clean again!
After cleaning, you can apply the breathable fabric of your shoes in a similar way that you will apply to your synthetic materials of a backpack or jacket with a waterproofing spray (as discussed earlier).
However, leather requires special treatment. If left untreated or unclean, the leather of your boots may crack and dry out, which may lead to a leaky condition. It is possible to use the Nanoflex L-Care to keep your boots smooth just like a baby cow’s bottom.
Do we follow this method? Only occasionally. If you want your costly boosts to last longer and maintain their functionality the whole way through, you have to take good care of them.