Does your neckline resemble a coal miner’s sweaty brow? Do you get damp patches under your expensive waterproof? Well, if your gear isn’t performing as well as it once did then the chances are that any membrane is clogged up with sweat and oils and it needs a darn good wash.
Nikwax make something called Tech Wash, which is a soap based liquid wash that you can either use to hand-wash or machine-wash your technical gear.
Normal washing powders are detergent based, which is good for getting rid of grime, but can leave a residue that clogs up the teeny tiny holes in your very expensive Gore-Tex, NeoShell or other membrane and reduce its breathability. The same properties also help stop any outer shells of your garments clog up with rain and do what’s called Wetting Out, whereby the garment no longer breathes or sheds water properly.
I’ve been using Nikwax Tech Wash on my often worn Keela, Paramo and Marmot gear and although they all go into the washine machine muddy and manky, they invariably come up clean and don’t seem to have lost any of their waterproofing qualities, even without full re-proofing with Techwash’s partner in crime TXDirect.
If you’re using Tech Wash in a washine machine, you need to be careful to remove any build up of detergent from the tray and drum before use, or that will risk clogging up your membranes.
In the past I’ve often wondered what the advantage to Tech Wash is over using standard Soap Flakes, which you can still buy cheaply in most supermarkets. I discovered that advantage last week when I went to use Flakes in the brand new washing machine and noticed a warning on the box that they could clog and blog the machine’s parts. The wife would not be happy, so there was my answer.
There’s not much more to say about Tech Wash really, except that it works rather well and you can buy it in pretty much every outdoor store in the UK, such is Nikwax’s excellent distribution.
We wrote a guide on how to wash and re-waterproof a Gore-Tex jacket some time ago, which features Tech Wash.
SUMMARY: Got dirty technical fabrics in need of a clean and revival in their original performance? Give them a machine wash with Tech Wash and prolong their lives. It’s super simple and pretty cheap, and has been proven in use over many years.
Price: £2 upwards depending on size