A well constructed ski or rain jacket can last a remarkably long time, even decades with light use. However, the first thing you'll notice after consistent use is that eventually its waterproofing capabilities will no longer be as effective. You may notice that water no longer beads up and rolls off of the fabric, but rather soaks in leaving you wet and uncomfortable.
Rather than sending your jacket to the landfill or the donation bin, you can actually restore its water repellant properties with a few simple steps at home.
In many cases, especially for newer jackets, waterproofing is compromised simply because dirt and other residues are covering the water-repellant coating. Dirt may be the culprit, but even something as simple as detergent residue from washing your coat with a traditional detergent can cause problems.
Before taking more drastic measures, you may be able to restore your jacket's waterproofing capabilities simply by washing it with a technical cleaner designed specifically for water-repellant coatings.
We've found Nikwax Tech Wash to be particularly effective, and always recommend trying it before writing off your jacket as past its prime. Tech Wash can be used in place of regular detergent in your home washing machine. Before running your wash cycle, review the Tech Wash instructions to make sure you are adding an appropriate amount to your load, and using an appropriate wash temperature.
If your jacket still isn't performing after a proper wash, the water proof coating may have worn off. Luckily, this can be restored. For hard shell jackets, we recommend Nikwax TX.Direct Wash-in. TX.Direct is added to a wash cycle similar to Tech Wash. Unlike Tech Wash, which is designed to remove dirt and residues from a waterproof coating, TX.Direct actually penetrates fabrics with a fresh waterproofing layer, giving it the same performance as a new coat direct from the factory.
With proper waterproofing, you can breath new life into a coat you already have, or even take a bargain thrift jacket and upgrade it to peak performance.