Over time, your waterproof jacket is likely to become less efficient at keeping the rain out and you dry. The fabric starts to look as though it is soaked, and some of that moisture will come through to you. For many people, the option of reproofing is one that they didn’t know about – even I had no idea until recently.
You don’t need to throw out your waterproof jacket and buy a new one; you can fix the problem in a few simple and easy steps. I put this guide together to show you just how amazing reproofing your waterproof jacket can be, and how for some it’s as simple as following the first step.
Types of Waterproof Jacket
The type of waterproof jacket that you own can be grouped into one of three categories, which are as follows.
Durable Water Repellency (DWR)
This is added to the fabric to form a protective wall. It is a chemical treatment that helps to keep the water out while also promoting better breathability. However, because it is applied to the outside of the material, it can be easily hindered by dirt and debris.
They claim to produce the most breathable and waterproof fabric available on the market – keeping you dry and sweating to a minimum.
All of the shell fabrics found on Gore-Tex clothing is treated with a thin layer of DWR, which is not permanent.
Coated and Breathable Membranes
These fabrics have a membrane construction with a PU coating. A thin layer of resin is poured onto the inside facing piece of fabric, also known as a hydrophilic coating. The seams are then sealed for further waterproofing.
Hydrophilic coatings rely on the behaviour of the water molecules, something which is known as moisture management. This is where the heat generated by the body inside the clothing drives body moisture to the external fabric face.
Why Do Waterproof Jackets Start Leaking?
They can start to leak for a number of reasons. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Dirt and stains clogging up fabric membranes
- Insect repellent clogging fabric membranes
- Exposure to detergents
- Wear and tear over time
How You Can Protect Your Jacket
Every jacket is going to end up letting water in at some point; it’s just the way things go. However, keeping your jacket clean and removing dirt as well as stains regularly can really help you keep on top of things. However, one of the best ways to keep things under control is to follow step one of the below guide regularly.
The Step by Step for Reproofing Your Waterproof Jacket
Step One: Wash Your Jacket
The first thing you should do is place your jacket in the washing machine at a low temperature with no detergent. The reason for this is that the detergent can result in the membranes being clogged.
You see, things like dirt and oil can also clog up the membranes, and so for some a simple cycle in the washing machine is all you need to have your jacket back and fully functional. However, make sure you read the washing instructions for your waterproof jacket as some have very specific washing requirements.
Step Two: Choosing Your Proofer
In this step, you need to choose between a spray on and wash in proofer. There isn’t much different between them; it’s all about what works best for you.
While most should not alter the look of the jacket, it is advised that you test your chosen proofer on an inconspicuous area of the jacket before you use it on the whole thing.
Step Three: Using the Spray
If you plan to reproof your jacket using a spray, then here is how to do it correctly. Hang the jacket on a washing line outside and spray the proofer from 15-20cm away. Make sure that you give both sides an even coating of the spray as well. Hanging the jacket will help to ensure this.
Next, check the jacket carefully to make sure that you have not missed any areas, and wipe off any excess with a damp cloth. Following this, you should allow the jacket to dry naturally. For areas such as the shoulders and elbows, it is recommended that you apply a second coat of proofer once the jacket has dried.
Step Four: Using the Wash in Proofer
If you have decided to use the wash in proofer, you should first pour the appropriate amount into the detergent compartment of your washing machine. The label will tell you how much is required.
The machine should then be allowed to run through a complete wash and rinse cycle at 30-degrees. Generally, heat helps to activate the produce so if the care label on the jacket allows; you can put it in the tumble dryer.
Hopefully, you have found this guide useful. It can be really frustrating when a jacket starts to let water in, but that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of it – which can be a real relief if you have spent a fair amount of money on it.
By following this guide, your waterproof jacket should be back to its old self in no time at all. In fact, you can even make non-waterproof jackets a little more resistant to light rain by following these steps.
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