How to Waterproof a Gore-Tex Jacket

Waterproofing a Gore-Tex Jacket will eventually be required because despite the inner layer being a breathable waterproof membrane, the outer layer (shell) of the jacket will lose its waterproofing, soak up water and stay wet, blocking the effect of the Gore Tex.

Re-proofing is quick and easy for all waterproof breathable jackets using a combination of washing and re-proofing products such as those made by Nikwax.

Step 1

Step 1:
Wash the garment using Nikwax Tech Wash, or you can use pure soap flakes if you can find them in the shops – same thing.
A soap-based cleaner will remove dirt from the shell and Gore-Tex membrane.
Do NOT use detergents, washing powder or fabric softener because these will block the pores in your Gore-Tex membrane and affect the breathability.

You can either hand-wash (which I do) or machine-wash your waterproof jacket, but if you choose to machine wash you must remove all trace of washing powder and fabric softener from the machine before hand. Bear in mind that if you are using soap flakes, these can clog some washing-machine filters, so keep an eye on your machine if you do it often. There’s a more in-depth guide to washing Gore-Tex here.

You can rub neat Tech Wash or soap into any areas with stubborn stains before washing. You can even use a soft nailbrush or old toothbrush, but be careful not to damage the shell material.

You’ll need about 100-150ml of Tech Wash per item, depending on how hard your water is.

Step 2:

Rinse the garment thoroughly in clean water or do an extra rinse-cycle in the washing machine.

Step 3a

Step 3a – if the jacket is worn next to the skin or has a wicking layer:
You don’t need to wait for the jacket to dry out from washing…
Lay the jacket out flat and spray the entire outer shell with Nikwax Spray-on TX Direct.

Make sure you cover all external surfaces of the jacket and leave the TX Direct to soak in for a couple of minutes.

Mop up any excess using a piece of kitchen towel – you don’t want pools of it to form.

Continue to step 4…

Step 3b.

Step 3b – if the jacket goes over non-wicking or multiple layers:

You don’t need to wait for the jacket to dry out from washing…

Repeat the washing process (hand or machine) but use 100ml of Nikwax TX-Direct instead of Tech Wash.

Again, make sure that there is no trace of detergent, washing powder or fabric softener in your machine before hand.

Continue to step 4…

Step 4:
Either air-dry or tumble-dry the jacket, depending on what it says on its care label.

Step 5:
Wear your jacket in the rain and marvel as water runs off it like it was brand-new again.
You should notice two things – the surface treatment causing water to bead and not ‘wet out’ the fabric. And also an improvement in breathability – usually best understood by you feeling less clammy.

Note: some people report better results if you ‘heat activate’ the new waterproofing. Nikwax say you don’t need to do this – it’s only necessary for fluorocarbon DWR treatments.