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  #1  
Old 15 May 2008
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Nikwax Waterproof Wash

A little while ago we met a very nice chap called Michael Field at the Daily Telegraph Adventure Travel Show - we had a good talk to him and he told us the best way to keep ourselves dry on the road.




After we got back Michael dropped us a line and very kindly offered to send us some bits and pieces to help us get our kit ready. I must be honest I’ve never really believed in after-market waterproofing - we’ve all been there and bought the sprays and the liquids and everything in-between from the camping shop - so when I put the jacket in the wash this weekend I wasn’t holding out much hope.

My jacket is three years old, it’s never been washed and to be totally frank it was not really very waterproof around the tummy area. I’ve always put that down to the way my tummy pushes against the front and desperately tries to escape


So into the washing machine the jacket went, following the instructions on the tech wash bottle - 30 degree hand wash cycle - out it came dripping wet and not very much cleaner than before - but Michael had warned me - use the tech wash first otherwise the waterproof wont work.


Given the beautiful weather this weekend it was dry in a couple of hours, so went back in on a 40 degree wash, gentle cycle, slow spin with the waterproof liquid. To cut a long story short, it took six hours in total to wash the jacket, dry it, wash it again and leave it dry once more. It’s not a task I’d do in anything but the best of weather.


Allowing for British weather I didn’t have to wait long to test the application. This morning it was throwing it down, a perfect opportunity to see in action the wonder proofing that Michael had promised. I rode for an hour in the rain, constant but not heavy, fully expecting to have to change my top when I got into work.


Arriving in west London I noticed something very odd, the water, as it was hitting my jacket was beading, gathering in little balls before running off all together. It’s not 100% efficient but most of the water simply wasn’t staying on the fabric. Getting into the office I pulled the jacket off to discover no wet spot - nothing at all - bone dry underneath.


These two products form the basis of the Nikwax range, and frankly if everything else they produce works as well as these two, then it’s a name I’ll trust in the future.
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Old 15 May 2008
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Nice write up there. Ive used the spray on waterproofer for a while for most of my bike clothing and find it not too bad, ive tried the wash through stuff once but with no results really (maybe i didnt wash it first). Not too sure.
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Old 16 May 2008
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Yeah Michael was really specific about the washing it with tech wash first - he said that the tech wash is designed to get all the gunk / chemicals that are already in your material out first - otherwise you're just waterproofing gunk and chemicals rather than the material - it makes a certain amount of sense I guess.

I don't actually know what's in the tech wash, but apparently it's specific enough to go for the chemicals but not destroy the fabric - normal detergent isn't strong enough.

He also sent me some glove proofer, which I'm going to try on a old pair of textile jobbies that have been consigned to the back of the cupboard for letting in the water.
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Old 16 May 2008
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Matt, just to be absolutely certain, this is your bike jacket we're talking about, not something you use for gardening or your work suit! Any idea how long the stuff will last?
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Old 16 May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
Matt, just to be absolutely certain, this is your bike jacket we're talking about, not something you use for gardening or your work suit! Any idea how long the stuff will last?
Lol! Yes it is in fact my bike jacket

No idea how long it will last - I'd be happy with six months or so - but I guess it'll easily last me the summer, and may need doing again before the winter. Given I've never washed my kit before, I have no real drive to do so, except to keep it waterproof.

m
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Old 16 May 2008
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I've used Nikwax for years and would swear by it, but you do need to do the proper wash first. Mind you you don't have to do it all on the same day you know Matt, I found the best was to do it on two overnight cycles, so wash in the evening, dry out overnight, repeat.

It's also great for tents (swags maybe?) and I even tried a pair of jeans with it and they came out if not wterproof then showerproofed and looking just the same. Only thing it didn't work on was socks, but the weave is too open I guess.
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Old 16 May 2008
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It's good stuff,

I use it on my road bike, enduro and shooting gear.

It's also pretty good at making a standard fleece shower-proof.

I'm not sure you have to dry the garment between the wash and the proof. I never have.
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Old 17 May 2008
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ahh I didn't realise that.. that would certainly make the whole thing a bit easier.

I'm going to put my winter gloves through this weekend and see what the result is - it's normally at this point I'd replace them - but if the Nikwax can give them another season that would be great.

I've just put the boot waterproofer onto my poor old dainese - which are definitely letting in the water - I've reverted to bags on my feet! I'll let you know how that goes.

Alex - Michael did send me some canvas waterproof stuff - but it's wash in again - and I'm not sure my machine is big enough! I'll have to do it down the laundry... I'm going to put the swag up this weekend and stay in it whilst my wife uses the hose.... should be interesting
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Old 17 May 2008
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ahh I didn't realise that.. that would certainly make the whole thing a bit easier.
Matt,

Check the distructions first, don't take my word for it !!
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Old 4 Jun 2008
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Swag-proofing

I'm guessing you got sent the Cotton Proof stuff


in which case, lookie HERE and you'll see instructions for tents (swags) where you don't have to try and stuff it in your machine.
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Old 6 Jun 2008
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oh yeah.... just paint it on with a brush and soak it...

At the moment the swag is waterproof - so I'm not going to mess with it - but we're going to test the cotton wash on Staces Draggin Jeans.

m
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Old 6 Jun 2008
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Oh it works great on jeans, I did my 501s once and they were as waterproof as anything.
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Old 6 Jun 2008
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Breathable waterproofing

'My jacket is three years old, it’s never been washed and '

Hello Matt (or perhaps we could call you 'Which' magazine),

Now, I don't know what make you jacket is, but to keep breathable waterproof (ie goretex) items in such condition, washing them is 100% NECESSARY and part of the care process.

You may well have found that just washing your jacket would have made it waterproof ........

I believe it's because the pores get blocked and then wick the water through the material. This would explain why this is happening in the tummy area, where the wicking can continue through to your other clothing.

If your jacket is not such a waterproof, then it sounds like the snake oil is worth buying.
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Old 6 Jun 2008
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Originally Posted by CornishDeity View Post

If your jacket is not such a waterproof, then it sounds like the snake oil is worth buying.
My jacket isn't breathable - it's not a cheap job - but it's not breathable - well it is if I take some panels off let the air through... or undo the zip a little....
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Old 6 Jun 2008
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ha

.........or undo the zip a little...............

Now that is fully breathable!
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