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How to reproof your waterproofs3 min read

You’re cycling in the rain. When you get home you notice that the sleeves of your sweater are a little moist, or wet even? You walk to the supermarket and your jacket soaks up every single drop of rain? I can hear you think: “time to get a new rain jacket…” Not really, though! Let me explain how you can reproof your waterproof jacket!

When you notice that your jacket gets heavy when it rains, or your skin gets a little clammy, chances are that the DWR-layer of your jacket has worn out. This doesn’t mean your jacket is no longer useful. It can be resolved with a dual treatment: washing and reproofing.


You’ve got two kinds of water resistant clothing: water repellent and waterproof clothing. Water repellent clothing will keep you dry in a light drizzle, but it won’t keep up in a shower. Waterproof clothing makes sure you’ll stay dry in any wet situation.

There are several components which make waterproof clothing actually waterproof. First there’s the membrane or the coating on the inside of the jacket. Secondly there’s the DWR-layer (Durable Water Repellent) which is applied to every single waterproof and water repellent item. The task of the DWR-layer is to let water pearl up and drip off the fabric.

Because of wear and tear the DWR-layer will loose it’s efficiency in time. When you notice your waterproofs take up more water than they drip off, it’s time to wash your items and reproof them. This will up the game of your waterproof clothing again, and restore its performance.


Before reproofing your jacket, you have to wash it. Otherwise you will fixate all the (invisible) impurities in your waterproofs. In this article you can read how to clean your waterproofs.


Reproofing is the technical term for ‘make it waterproof again’.  You don’t have to do that after every washing, by the way. But when your item doesn’t repel water anymore, it is absolutely time to reproof it. When the performance of the DWR-layer is substandard, the outer layer of your jacket will start soaking up water. The benefits of a (more expensive) jacket will be lost. Your jacket gets heavy and that also influences the breathability. Dirt, for example the oil of your skin, sweat, and mud won’t be repelled anymore and your outfit will get smelly.

After washing out all the impurities, your waterproofs are ready to get a new DWR-layer. Those kind of products exist in a spray, like Nikwax Spray-On, but also in a wash in product, like Nikwax TX Direct Wash-In.

  1. Spray the product all over your jacket, or on the spots you want to reproof.
  2. Wipe the product open so you won’t get stains on your item.
  1. Pour the recommended amount of product in the dispenser of your washer.
  2. Wash your waterproofs in the same cycle as you did before when washing them.
  3. Put your waterproofs in the dryer (if it is allowed by the washing prescriptions in the clothing tag!) on low or medium heath. If you can’t put it in the dryer, you want to add some heat by using a hairdryer. The warmth will activate the water repellent layer.

Have you ever tossed out a jacket that didn’t seem waterproof anymore?

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