The first use of the jacket kept my completely dry in the rain. The water would bead and could be shaken off very easily. This walk lasted 4hrs and it rained for about 3hrs. At the end I took off my waterproof shell and was completely dry.

I was very muddy at the end of this walk so I washed all my waterproof/resistant gear shell, trousers, socks and gloves. I used my washing machine with standard detergent that I regularly use. I air dried the clothing.

The next walk I went on I noticed that the water was not beading on the surface and after 20 minutes I felt damp. By the end of the 4hr walk I was really wet underneath my shell.

I looked online and it seems that there are products that apply water resistant chemicals through wash cycles or spray. Is it advisable to use these? Was it a mistake to use standard detergent? Any other recommendations?

If it supports discussion/feedback I can list the products and provide URLs. The jacket was expensive and I would not expect low performance like this.

  • 4
    The jacket has not demonstrated low performance. You stripped it of its waterproofing by putting it in your washing machine with standard detergent. You should always read the instructions on new clothing, especially waterproof or other specialist clothing.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Dec 11, 2021 at 16:51
  • Do you have a recommendation like reproofing? Commented Dec 11, 2021 at 16:53
  • 2
    Standard detergents don't play well with DWR or waterproof membranes. I would give it a few rinses to get rid of as much detergent residue as possible, then try re-proofing with whatever product Rab recommends, or something like Nikwax TX-direct.
    – aucuparia
    Commented Dec 12, 2021 at 11:05
  • 1
    And my general experience with goretex and similar is that they perform great when brand new but they deteriorate depressingly quickly (even if you care for them properly). My Paramo kit on the other hand keeps on keeping me warm and dry after years - and it was second hand when I bought it.
    – aucuparia
    Commented Dec 12, 2021 at 11:07

1 Answer 1


From Rab's website (https://support-uk.rab.equipment/hc/en-us/articles/360013402518-How-to-wash-a-waterproof-jacket-):

Washing waterproofs tips

Rinse your washing machine out before use. This clears any leftover detergent and softeners that might damage the fabrics and coatings. Clean the detergent drawer and then run one or two rinse cycles. Make sure the pockets are empty. Close all zips, pockets, and Velcro fastenings. Use a non-biological liquid detergent, liquid pure soap, or a specifically formulated technical cleaner such as Rab Shell wash or NikWax Tech Wash. Place the wash solution in the detergent drawer and if you are reproofing at the same time (recommended) then add Rab Eco Proofer or NikWax TX Direct Wash-In in the conditioner compartment. Machine Wash on a gentle, cool setting. Check the white care label, but 30ºC or 40ºC is usually ideal both for your jacket and the environment. After spinning at a low speed (400) hang the garment on a line to dry naturally. If the care label allows, tumble dry your garment for 20-30 minutes on a low heat setting which will activate the reproofing agent. If a tumble dryer is not available, iron on a medium heat ensuring you use a clean cloth as a barrier between the iron and garment. If you are in the field, you can also hand wash your jacket if you don't have access to a washing machine. Keep the water cool, detergent as gentle as possible, rinse it well, and give it plenty of time to dry, out of strong direct sunlight.

  • 2
    We do like it when you copy the essentials of a site here, along with a link. But this is copying much more than I think is essential and might be incroching on copyrights. Better edit so only the essential information remains, the rest can be found in the link if someone wants it.
    – Willeke
    Commented Dec 12, 2021 at 17:50
  • It's worth noting that when using the waterproofer (ex. NikWax TX Direct) they often recommend a separate 2nd wash rather than the combo wash Rab mentions. I've always done separate washes (clean + proof) with success.
    – noah
    Commented Dec 13, 2021 at 8:23
  • 1
    I rinsed my kit 2 times sequentially. I then washed the kit with NikWax Tech Wash once. I dried the kit. I then applied NikWax TX.Direct as per instructions. The kit seems to perform similar as when it was new. Appreciate the answer. Commented Dec 17, 2021 at 15:57

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