Guide to Washing and Treating Waterproofs


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Our waterproof jackets and pants are made from the best fabric giving you peace of mind; however, you do need to look after your waterproofs to ensure their quality and longevity. Here are some tips to help you get the most from your purchase:

  • Store your waterproofs in a dry, well ventilated room, away from direct sunlight.
  • Always follow the washing instructions on the garment and never use fabric softer. We recommend using Nikwax’s waterproof cleaning aids.
  • Check the zippers regularly and keep well lubricated by rubbing with candle or bee’s wax.

  • Even with the best care in the world it’s important to note that no DWR (Durable Water Repellence) finish is permanent. This water repellent coat on your garment needs to be maintained to optimise performance, firstly by cleaning regularly with a tech, and occasionally reproofing. The brand we recommend is Nikwax.


    The easy test for water repellence is when water beads on the outside of your garment rather than soaking in.

    53 Degrees North - Waterproofing

    When the outer surface of your waterproof gear starts to absorb water instead of repelling it your first step is to clean it with a tech wash. If it is fairly new, or has been recently re-waterproofed, the DWR (Durable Water Repellence) coat will be revitalised just from cleaning. Once the item has been thoroughly used, you will need to reproof it by adding DWR, using a suitable waterproofer after cleaning.


    Nikwax Tech Wash

    Your gear could be soaking up water just because it is dirty. Your first step to renewing the DWR is to wash using a suitable Tech Wash. We recommend Nikwax Tech Wash and as an added bonus, unlike some brands, it doesn’t require additional heat to renew the DWR.

    NOTE: Always read and follow the care instructions sewn into any garment or included in the packaging before you wash it. The below are guidelines for most waterproofs but these do not necessarily apply to all garments.

    • 1. Treat stains before washing by applying undiluted wash directly to them with a sponge or soft brush.
    • 2. Remove all non-washable parts.
    • 3. Shake well before use.
    • 4. Follow care label instructions.
    • 5. Do not use any detergent - Remove all detergent from detergent dispenser.
    • 6. Place maximum of 2 garments in washing machine.
    • 7. Add 100ml of Tech Wash®. Add an additional 50ml for hard water* areas.
    • 8. Set cycle to Synthetics and Warm (30oC).
    • 9. If the item doesn’t require re-waterproofing, air dry or tumble dry on a low setting if care label allows.
    • 10. If you intend to re-waterproof the washed item there is no need to dry it first.

    * If you have calcium and mineral deposits in your washing machine you have hard water.


    While it is good to regularly treat your gear with a tech wash, occasionally you will need to replenish the DWR using a suitable water proofer such as Nikwax T.X. Direct. These are available as wash in or spay on and you can read about the benefits of both below.


    Many Nikwax Cleaners can be applied in the washing machine. If your item is machine washable this is an exceptionally easy way to ensure that it has been thoroughly cleaned.
    All you need to do is place your item into the washing machine and then run a normal cycle using the appropriate Cleaner. The washing machine application ensures that the treatment goes right through the garment, treating seams, tapes and cords, as well as the fabric without the need for tumble drying or additional heat.


    Spray-on and sponge-on Nikwax Cleaners are ideal for items such as boots, rucksacks and clothing which are not machine washable.

    • 1. Protect working surface and lay clean garment flat and zip up all zippers.
    • 2. Hold bottle 15 cm/6 inches away from garment.
    • 3. Apply evenly to outside of fabric.
    • 4. Wait for 2 minutes. Remove any surplus product with a damp cloth.
    • 5. Check carefully to ensure no areas have been missed.
    • 6. After several minutes check for and remove any surplus product with a damp cloth.


    Watch the videos below for more advice on waterproofing your garments

    How to clean and waterproof your jacket in the washing machine with Nikwax


    How to clean and waterproof your boots with Nikwax


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