How To Waterproof a Jacket

There’s nothing worse than going for a stroll or hike and realizing your soaking wet! One of the most important things we can do, as runners, hikers or walkers is ensuring that we are warm and dry. If you start to notice that your jacket is absorbing water rather than repelling water it might be time to re-reproof your Jacket!

How To Waterproof a Jacket?

You should always wash your jacket first before proofing a waterproof jacket should never be washed with regular detergent or fabric softener, instead you should use a cleaner that’s been designed specifically for the jacket material.

What you will need?

  • Nikwax Tech Wash (Washing Detergent)
  • Nikwax Tech Waterproofing Spray
  • Washing Machine or Sink/Bucket
  • Tumble Dryer or Washing Line
  1. Before putting your jacket into the machine make sure to brush off any loose mud or dirt to ensure it enters the washing machine as clean as possible and make sure the zips on your jacket pockets are zipped up . It’s a good idea not to wash more than two waterproof garments at the same time.
  2. Make sure the detergent compartment is clean of any old detergent before inserting your new cleaner. Once you’ve inserted your cleaner it’s time to place the jacket in the washer and switch the washer on. For maximum effect waterproofing when your jacket we recommend the Nikwax Tech Wash detergent. This will be two caps full for one jacket and three caps full for two.
  3. Allow the washing machine to run through the complete wash at 30 degrees and rinse cycle and follow your jacket’s garment care instructions as a guide on how long of a cycle to use. You can find these instructions normally on the tag on the inside of your jacket.
  4. After washing your jacket it’s time to dry the jacket. You can leave it out to dry or place it on the washing line. You can tumble dry your jacket (low/medium heat) but make sure to check the instructions on the tag first!
  5. Once your jacket is washed and dry it’s time to add a waterproof spray. Make sure you’re using a waterproof spray that is designed for your jacket material. We recommend Nikwax tech wash spray for most jackets. When spraying make sure to give yourself around 15-30cm of gap between yourself and the bottle to get an even coating. Finally, leave the jacket to dry!

Estimated Time: Wash: 30 minutes | Machine Dry: 30-60 minutes

You should retreat your waterproof garments every 4-6 months, depending on usage. Washing and applying heat (either via a tumble dryer or iron) revitalizes the water repellency of the treatment. If you’re currently in the market for a new jacket then you can view our write-up on the best waterproof running jackets.

What’s the difference between a waterproof and water-resistant Jacket?

The main difference between a waterproof and water-resistant jacket is the fabric, put simply Aawaterproof jacket offers maximum protection from wet and rain whilst a water-resistant jacket offers some form of limited protection.

The material of water-resistant material is very tightly woven which makes it difficult for water to pass through to the skin, however, a water-resistant jacket will only absorb so much water or rain before you will start to get wet. However, a waterproof jacket will give you complete protection from the rain. However, the main thing to consider is not the waterproofness but how comfortable the waterproof material will be. Plastic is waterproof but we dont want to be walking about in plastic bags!

If you’re wanting to stay completely dry from the rain then its always best to opt for a waterproof jacket over a water-resistant one. However, if you’re playing sports and require movement and more breathability in the fabric then water-resistant is probably your best bet.

Can you waterproof a water-resistant jacket?

To some extent, you can actually make a water-resistant jacket waterproof. You would do this by replicating the guide above and applying a waterproof spray such as Nikwax.

How to re-waterproof a jacket?

Yes, you can re-waterproof a jacket. You do this by first washing the jacket with a waterproofing detergent, letting the jacket dry, and then spraying on a waterproof spray.

  1. Wash Jacket (with special waterproofing detergent)
  2. Leave to dry (tumble dry low heat
  3. Spray on a waterproof spray on the outside of the jacket, such as Nikwax tech.
  4. Leave to dry

What Can I Wash a Waterproof Jacket With?

You should always follow the instructions on your tag when washing your waterproof jacket as each jacket is unique. We recommend only washing your jacket with 1 other garment and only using a waterproof detergent such as peak performance proofer or nikwax tech wash.

Can You Waterproof a Non-Waterproof Jacket?

It depends on the material, you can certainly help a water-resistant jacket become close to waterproof using a water-resistant spray. But you will struggle to turn a cotton jacket waterproof because the material will simply absorb too much water.

Can You Put a Waterproof Jacket In The Washing Machine?

Yes, you can actually wash a waterproof jacket in the washing machine. You must not use regular washing detergent as this will damage the waterproof membrane that exists on the jacket. Make sure to follow the recommended guidelines on the tag, so you know which temperature to wash the jacket at. However, it’s advised when using a machine general its best to place the wash on low heat.

Can I Wash a Gortex Jacket In The Washing Machine?

Yes, you can wash a gortex jacket in the washing machine. Using these steps

  1. Read the care label in your jacket prior to cleaning.
  2. Wash in your washing machine with a technical cleaner like Nikwax Tech Wash.
  3. If the care label allows, you can tumble dry low, or simply hang dry.

What Does 3000mm Waterproof Jacket Mean?

a 3000mm waterproof jacket is a reference to how much water the jacket can withstand or how rainproof the jacket is before the water will absorb through to the skin. The higher the mm rating the more waterproof your jacket is.

When deciding on which value to choose it’s a good idea to consider what you will be doing in the jacket. You do not need an 8000mm waterproof jacket for touring around a city as you will struggle with breathability and may become hot. FOr light activities like city touring or walking in gentle weather we would recommend a jacket on the lower end such as 3000mm.

0-1500mmWater resistant and snowproofVery light rain
1,500mm-5,000mmWaterproofLight to medium rain
5,000mmVery waterproofModerate to heavy rain
10,000mmHighly waterproofHeavy rain
Table 1: Showing the mm waterproof ratings and the resistance levels.