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There are both spray-on and wash-in products available for treating my DWR, gore-tex, eVent and other garments using products such as nikwax wash-in or nikwax tx-direct. What types of garments is it more appropriate to use spray-on versus wash-in on and vice versa?

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I'm not sure there is much of a difference, they should both reapply the DWR. I suppose the wash on ones are more likely to get every part of the garment? In my experience neither are ever as good as the factory added DWR. –  Liam Mar 20 at 16:32
    
That said, I'd imagine getting the DWR on the inside of the jacket would actually work counter to the processes that Gore tex relies on to work. In short I don't know.... :D –  Liam Mar 20 at 16:36

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

After considering the existing answers and doing some additional research, here's my take:

Spray-on waterproofing Spray on waterproofing should be used on Multi layer garments. You only want to treat the outer layer which reduces the chance that it will be 'wetting out' quickly, which allows the inner membrane to maintain it's porous properties. I've found many references for gore-tex which state "We do not recommend wash-in treatments, as they can hinder your garment’s breathability."

Wash-In waterproofing Ideal for Single Layer waterproof or water resistant DWR fabrics. Probably great for your tent's rainfly, cheap rain shell pants, or your single layer packable windbreaker. Not so good for your multi-layer gore-tex jacket. Though, you could probably use the spray-on coating for these type of materials as well with little difference in final result. So, if in doubt, I'd use the spray-on.

Either way, you should keep your garments clean to ensure that body oils and sweat deposits don't clog the pores in the breathable membranes. Most breathable garments recommend using a detergent free tech wash that won't wash away the DWR treatment.

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Good answer!!!! –  Liam Mar 24 at 17:43

From the Nikwax website:

Wash-In "For the convenience of a wash-in product try:

TX.Direct® Wash-In"

Spray-On "For non-machine washable items or those with wicking linings use:

TX.Direct® Spray-On"

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To emphasize what Liam and Paul hinted at, in all likelihood, too much nikwax wash-in and the like could potentially act against gore-tex by blocking the pores and preventing the fabric from breathing ( thus soaking in your own sweat ).

What gore-text primarily recommends on their site and what I've had more success with is simply tumble drying the garment for 20 minutes to reactivate the DWR every once in a while. Every so often, I also coat the seams in otter wax to really seal the deal.

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I have garments, such as pertex, with a pile (Buffalo Mountain Shirt) or microfleece lining (Rab Vapour Rise Jacket). It's useful to have a DWR treatment on the Pertex to help with water resistance where the lining still needs to cope with excess moisture.

In these sorts of garments you definitely want a spray-on treatment otherwise the action of the lining allowing it to move excess moisture away from skin or base clothing will be compromised if they also become hydrophobic due to the DWR.

For clothing with no such lining where you ant all the garment to be water resistant (or waterproof), then the wash-in sort of DWR, is more convenient and probably does the job better, too.

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