Feel on the inside of the fabric behind the dark spots. Do you feel wet? If that’s the case (and you’re sure it’s not just sweat), water may have gotten through and your jacket or pants will need a fresh application of DWR.
A note about wetting after a heavy rain: Even new hard-shell jackets can get wet after a prolonged heavy rain. So if you see dark, wet spots after a long time in a storm, don’t happen necessarily It means you need new DWR paint. Do some detective work to make sure. Once you take the clothes home and have a chance to dry, spray them with a spray bottle filled with water to see if the moisture granules build up. If it gets wet again, it’s time for more DWR.
Clean clothes first
Wash your clothes before you re-waterproof them to remove old body oils and dirt. The new DWR coating will help it adhere better to the fabric. Purchase a cleaning product designed specifically for outdoor technical clothing, such as Nichox Tech LotionAlternatively, you can use a small amount of regular laundry detergent.
You’ll want to wash it separately from your regular outerwear. Then, you will be ready to apply the DWR treatment. You have two options here: spray or wash.
How to apply Spray-On DWR
Whichever you choose, take it outside to apply – it’s not a good idea to inhale this stuff. Just hang your clothes on an outer hanger, zip up the front and close the pockets, and spray the outside of your jacket or pants.
One spray bottle is enough to return one waterproof garment – i.e. jacket and pants. In my experience, there’s barely enough, so don’t waste that spraying any particular stain on your clothes for too long. If you have anything left after you’re done, apply it to the areas with a lot of wear, such as the shoulders, armpits, and the crotch/upper groin area.
How to Apply Wash-In DWR
Typically, you’ll want to use the DWR wash treatment in either a top-loading or front-loading washer set on a gentle, warm cycle, but consult the bottle of the product you’re using. Your best options are Gear Aid ReviveX Washing MachineAnd Grangers Repels Washing, And Direct wash from Nikoax TX.
If you don’t have a washing machine on hand, you can apply the product by hand using a sink or bucket of warm water and some gloves. Some DWR treatments instruct you to follow up by tossing the clothes in a dryer set on a low heat cycle to seal the paint. Just check the instructions on the bottle of things to use first.
How long will it last
DWR reuses do not last as long as the treatment applied at the factory. There’s no way around it: you just have to get in the habit of checking your rain gear before flights and reapplying DWR as needed. High-impact areas, such as the shoulders and armpits, experience more wear, and these areas tend to lose their waterproof coating sooner than others.
DWR treatments have, for a long time, used long-chain saturated carbon compounds (PFCs) that created toxic by-products during manufacturing and spread into the environment as the product eroded. The DWR treatments we recommend — ReviveX, Grangers, and Nikwax — use fluorocarbon-free formulas. Although you may dismiss the idea of introducing more synthetic chemicals into your equipment, these treatments increase the life of your clothing many times over, resulting in less waste over time.
The more clothing you use, the faster the DWR coating wears off. But there is no limit to the number of times you can reapply DWR. As long as the clothing is in good condition, you can continue to re-waterproof it over and over for years to come and save yourself from having to replace your several hundred dollar rainwear.
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