DIY AND HOW TO'S

Gore-Tex Waterproofing Tips: Best Way to Retain Water Resistance

Henry Silva
Written by Henry Silva

Unlike the regular garments, Gore-Tex waterproof garments can be demanding to care for. If not properly taken care of, the jackets’ or pants’ outer layer of DWR (Durable Water Repellant) can wear off prematurely, and then probably prompt you to ditch the garment for a new one.

Fortunately, the waterproof qualities of the garments can be revived using a number of products such as the Gore Tex spray, among other products. Essentially, a proper implementation of Gore-Tex waterproofing tips is paramount to ensure that water resistance is retained.

We will explore these tips broadly in this article.

Close-up of Gore Tex label

To apply the waterproofing tips on Gore-Tex garments, we first have to understand how to care for the garments. How you care for the garments dictates how long the waterproof properties will last on the fabric. Some factors such as sweat, oils, dirt, washing detergents, conditioners, perfumes, and softeners may have negative impacts on your outdoor apparels. With this in mind, we have to know how to wash, care for the garment and retreat it to revive the water resistant qualities. In return we will be saving so much cost of returning to stores to purchase new garments, whereas the remedial measures are cost-effective.

How to wash Gore-Tex products?

Gore-Tex brand is renowned for its wide range of unisex waterproof products that are multi-functional in the outdoor setting. You may find pants, jackets, and footwear as Gore-Tex products, and each have to be washed properly and accordingly. For any product, it’s advisable to take note of the garment tags as they provide recommendations as to which cleaning techniques to be used.

For instance, the Gore-Tex garments that are made of silk and wool require only dry cleaning, and not hand wash. Some garments can be optionally dry cleaned, machine or hand-washed. But still, vigilance is required to ensure a proper care.

Gore-Tex washing products

To make washing a breeze, you need the following to wash your garments:

  • Washing machine
  • Laundry tub
  • Mild liquid detergents
  • Waterproof-specific washing solutions such as the NikWax Tech Wash/ ReviveX Synthetic Fabric Cleaner

After procuring these tools, you can now prepare your garment to wash in either the machine or the laundry tub. But, firstly, as elaborated above, make sure that you read carefully the garment tag as it may have recommendations regarding the methods to be used. There are some restrictions with regard to washing detergents and other chemicals when washing waterproof products because they may be prone to damage.

Man looing at his Gore-Tex jacket

These restrictions include washing with bleach, powdered detergents, conditioners and fabric softeners. Instead, you are advised to use mild liquid detergents or simply purchase the recommended solutions as aforementioned.

The washing procedure for Gore-Tex garments is demystified below:

  1. Prepare warm water in a tub or front load of the machine. With the machine, wash on a gentle cycle. The water should be moderately warm when washing Gore-Tex cloth that has Down as the insulator because it is vulnerable to hot water damage.
  2. Prepare your ordinary liquid detergent
  3. Separate your garments from the other clothes that are too-dirty. Preferably wash like colors to avoid color stains.
  4. After washing the garment, dry it on a washing line or let it tumble dry on a warm setting. Re-tumble dry it for an extra 20 minutes after it got dry to revive the waterproof coating.
  5. Alternative to the tumble dry, you can iron the garment on a warm setting too. Preferably put a towel between the iron and the garment to avoid overheating as it may be adverse to the cloth.

This washing procedure applies to many Gore-Tex garments except the footwear like the waders. Footwear needs to be hand-washed by also flipping it outside if possible. Well, it’s possible with the waders. But you can still use the liquid detergent. The other garments such as the gloves should not be ironed.

Additional guideline on the machines is that you should set it on a permanent press cycle with an approximate temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Then rinse the Gore-Tex twice to make sure that no residues of the liquid detergents have remained on the fabric. You should minimize spinning the garment to avoid creasing.

Close-up of Gore-Tex fabric

If the garments you bought are made of silk or wool, do not use the washing machine or hand-wash them. They require only dry cleaning. You may ascertain this by checking their tags. And when taking them to the dry cleaner, command the dry cleaners to use a clear, distilled hydrocarbon solvent rinse for perfect results. The spray repellent should also be used before drying the garment. More instructions can be found in the garment’s tag instructions.

Given this procedure, it should be quite easy to care for your waterproof garment now. The keynote is that you must avoid some washing solutions/methods that could jeopardize the quality of your garment. These include the following:

  • Do not use chlorine bleach
  • Do not use fabric conditioners and softeners
  • Do not dry-clean a garment that has the Down insulation
  • Do not use powdery detergents
  • Do not use a very hot iron on the garment
  • Do not use tumble dry on high heat for Gore-Tex + Down garments

Keep in mind that Gore-Tex garments are treated with Teflon to excel in water repellency. As thus, you need to be vigilant of the Teflon’s vulnerability to chemicals and heat. Using fabric softeners, conditioners, bleach and other washing chemicals can have a negative impact on the performance of the water repellent coating. The DWR coating penetrates the fabric’s fibers to coat the outer surface. Using these restricted solutions can remove the layer.

The Gore-Tex garment may start to underperform when faced with rain or other damp conditions if the waterproof coating has been damaged. The following may be noticed in the event that the water repellent coating has worn off:

  • A heavy garment that is water-logged. Water will no longer bead off, instead will be absorbed into the fabric’s fibers, although it may not reach your skin due to the underlying waterproof membrane beneath the outer surface. As a result of too much water being absorbed, the jacket or pant will feel heavy.
  • Appear to be wet. As more water is being absorbed, outer fabric will appear to be wet because the water no longer beads off but remains logged.

Many people often mistake the above as factory faults. They therefore decide to return the garments to the seller or consider ditching them for new ones. It is important to re-coat the water repellent fabric before blaming it on factory fault. But if your jacket is heavily leaking, there could be problems with its seam or it could have been torn off somewhere. Observe that and see if it can be fixed.

See our list on Gore-Tex ponchos and be amazed how useful the material is.

nikwax waterproofing and cleaning products

Otherwise purchase a new one because the waterproofing tips will not help in such cases of massive leaks. To solve the problem of a worn out water-repellent coating, we need to re-coat it before going back to the store. The products to accomplish that are readily available in local outdoor stores or even online.

Revive the waterproof coatings

Before you decide to ditch out your Gore-Tex garment, try to revive and restore the DWR coating. The spray designated for Gore-Tex fabrics can be helpful in this case. There are many specialized treatments found in retail stores worldwide. But, before resorting to specialized treatments, as highlighted before, you must consider reactivating the DWR treatment.

The DWR treatment on Gore-Tex can be reactivated by heat. This can be done after washing and drying your jacket. For instance, after doing the initial tumble dry immediately after washing the garment, re-do the tumble dry for 20 to 30 minutes on a warm cycle in order to reactivate the treatment. Just beware of the garments that are paired with the Down insulation. Alternatively, you can iron the garment on a warm setting as well.

Active Products with New Permanent Beading Surface

After this attempt to restore the DWR coating, try to test if the method has indeed worked. Perhaps if you can sprinkle water on the garment to simulate the rain or let someone do it while you’re wearing the jacket could help proof the results. If the garment still feels heavy and appears to be wet, you need to consider replacing the original DWR treatment now by applying a new water repellant.

There’s a plethora of water repellant treatments on the market. Just make sure that you choose the right one in line with your fabric. The manufacturer can also be consulted in this regard to ask for recommended products. But, popularly, the NikWax TX Direct wash-in and the NikWax TX Direct spray-on have performed well as such treatments. We’ll discuss how they work below:

NikWax TX Direct wash-in

This wash-in water repellant treatment helps restore the water-repellency of synthetic outerwear. It will revive the coating while at the same time maintaining the breathability of your Gore-Tex garment. Follow the instructions on this water-based water-repellent treatment.

Nikwax product near a goretex jacket and a washig machine

But you’re advised not to use it on a Down material. For Down + Gore-Tex fabrics you can preferably use the spray to spray on specific areas without affecting the inside layer of a Down insulator.

NikWax TX Direct spray-on

This spray formula is the best match for Gore-Tex garments to restore the waterproof coating on the outer fabric. Simple application by spraying on the entire jacket/pant on on specific areas. Oftentimes, the underarm area and the sleeves are vulnerable areas where the coating wears off quickly. You can simply spray the treatment in such areas. The other benefit is that the spray maintains the breathability of the garment.

Nikwax spray-on treatment

All these NikWax treatments are water-based and are biodegradable. They can also be used on other waterproof laminates such as the eVent, Ultrex and the Entrant. The other products include the Gear Aid ReviveX wash-in and the Gear Aid ReviveX down cleaner. We summarized their capabilities below:

ReviveX Wash-In waterproofing

You can apply this fluorine-free water repellant treatment to restore the waterproof qualities.

Man using Gear Aid ReviveX Wash-In Waterproofing

It helps repel, among others, oils, water and stains on your Gore-Tex garment. It can be applied a wide range of Gore-Tex products, and it is durable.

ReviveX Down Cleaner

For the Gore-Tex garment that includes the Down as the insulator, it is advisable to use a specific treatment for Down because it can be sensitive to other products. This treatment maintains the Down’s warmth and loft. It will not affect the quality of the insulation and can be used in a broad range of Gore-Tex products. A bottle can clean up to 24 garments.

We are aware of the face that there could be other products than these. However, we’ve selected these ones based on their excellence and also based on the excitement of other customers after having used the products in treating the waterproofness of their Gore-Tex garments. Just be advised not to purchase damaging treatments. The best advice is to confirm with the manufacturer to ask if the product is suitable for your garment.

Gear Aid ReviveX Down Cleaner

These products should be your last resort to restore the water repellent properties of your garments. After applying these products, you should wait for some time until the coating is perfectly restored, or you can apply tumble dry on a warm setting for faster results. If satisfied that it has settled, you can perform a test by wearing the garment and let someone sprinkle water on you. You cannot risk going to the wilderness with the water repellent coating you’re not sure of.

If the test fails, then it could be a sign that the water repellent coating is no longer renewable due to the fact that the garment has also worn out. There’s nothing such as a permanent water repellent finish. As time goes on, and as you wear the garment frequently, the finish will be depleted. Waterproofing tips may not be applicable any longer on such garments.

For more insight, why not read on the comparison between Hyvent and Gore-Tex to see which one is excellent for camping.

Additional Tips

In addition to knowing about the waterproofing tips, you have to acquaint yourself with guidelines on how to care for the garment to minimize the depletion of the DWR coating.

Man wearing GoreTex jacket

Below are some guidelines:

  • Do not wash the garment frequently – as you wash the Gore-Tex garment, you reduce the longevity of the DWR coating. The detergents used in washing contribute to that depletion. We reckon you wash once after every outdoor adventure.
  • Do not wear the garment frequently – wearing the garment frequently dictates the frequency of washing it of which it is not good. It also exposes it to stains and oils, which are a challenge to remove them. We recommend that you purchase a few of these garments to avoid wearing one more frequently.
  • Remove stains before washing – before washing the garment, make use of specialized toughest stain-removal products to remove stains. See our guide on how to remove sap stains from clothes the easy way.
  • Rinse the garment twice – leaving the detergent residues on the fabric’s surface can clog the pores and then compromise its breathability. More sweat may be accumulated inside.
  • If you’re going to do a construction job, we reckon that you use the Gore-Tex as the inner layer to avoid stains on it unless if it rains and your other garments are not water repellent.
  • Do not dry the garment in direct sunlight for a long time.
  • Before washing your garments, close the Velcro tabs and the zippers to avoid abrasion to it.

You can also watch this video about how to wash and treat waterproof outerwear. The video demonstrates the procedure while using the NikWax products as we’ve recommended above.

Watch the video and relate with our waterproofing tips for better results.

Wrapping Up!

The Gore-Tex water-repellent restoration tips we have provided will surely save you unnecessary costs of purchasing a new garment every time that you feel that water has leaked through. Do not run to the store when this happens. It might be a sign that the DWR coating needs to be restored. The best way, as substantiated, is to care for the garment, wash it and then apply the waterproof spray. Only when the condition seems to be deteriorating even more that you can consider purchasing a new garment. But please note that you have to take a good care of every waterproof garment. Otherwise, you will revisit the stores endlessly for every occasion.

We’ve also provided you the restrictions of the washing detergents to use when washing Gore-Tex waterproof garments. As it is treated with Teflon, it can be susceptible to the damage of chlorine bleach, fabric conditioners and fabric softeners. So you should not use any other detergent other than the liquid one.

Also important is the choice of washing the garments. Silk and wool fabrics should only be cleaned using the dry cleaner. You can apply the waterproof coatings after or the dry cleaner can do that on your behalf. The others can either be cleaned using the washing machine or hands. But those with embedded Down as the insulator should only be washed using the hands.

For more tips and information on what is Gore-Tex and its importance, click on the link.

Gore-Tex treatment on a jacket

Have you used any other solution in restoring the water repellent features for Gore-Tex garments? If yes, then please share with us below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Henry Silva
Henry Silva

Henry was hiking since he was 4. He was lucky enough to be born in Boulder, Colorado and enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park hikes growing up. His favourite is Longs Peak, which rises to 14,259 feet (4,346 m) above sea level. It is the highest point of the park. Henry likes to explore new hikes and spend his spare time in the wilderness.

  • Mike O’brian

    I have a down Gore-Tex raincoat that has served me well for over five years now. The secret to these Gore-Tex garments is proper maintenance. I for one never dry clean or tumble-dry my down Gore-Tex raincoat as the chemicals in the dry-cleaning solvents often jeopardize the down insulation. I always prefer to hand wash my raincoat and dry it under the sun but not for long.There was a time that the underarms of my raincoat were wearing out and I used Nik Wax TX DIRECT Spray On to restore the water proof abilities in these parts. These tips have helped me keep my down Gore-Tex raincoat in good shape.

    • Henry Silva

      Comfort is a question of the right clothing, and gore-tex delivers superior comfort, but you can maintain its high performance by taking good care of it.

  • Geoffrey Bertram

    There was a time I was going hiking up a mountain during winter. I got myself a Gore- Tex jacket and pair of pants. I have to say that the garments did not disappoint as they had a durable water repellent. I have used the pair of pants and jacket for a long while. After the hiking trip I got myself some more pairs of pants and jackets to make sure that I did not use only one for too long. I never use fabric conditioners or powdered detergents when cleaning as these weaken the down insulation of my garments. By following this measures I ensure that my Gore Tex garments give me long time service.

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