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Kit review: Nikwax Tech Wash and TX Direct Wash

Written by Fiona December 07 2010

I was experiencing a little leakage, caused by a fair amount of saturation. Neither were pleasant, especially when caught out miles from anywhere and while walking for many hours. No, don’t worry, this blog isn’t about anything personal – it’s about the state of my old walking jacket!

It's snow joke... when your waterproof starts to leak

After several years of wear, my trusty Berghaus Goretex waterproof was beginning to let in a little rain. The progression to this state had been slow but it was undoubtedly aided by the long use of a rucksack, which rubbed at the shoulders, back and waist of my jacket.

On very wet and rainy days I found the jacket let in some water. It wasn’t a huge amount but needless to say it was a little worrying as winter approached. The beathability of the Goretex material was also failing.

Nikwax Tech Wash and TX Direct

Of course, I do have other jackets that would work a treat while out on the hills in Scotland but I like to have a back-up, and sometimes you just want to wear a jacket that you have come to love. So, instead of chucking the Goretex jacket to the back of the wardrobe I thought I’d give it  wash with the claimed re-waterproofing solution Nikwax Wash-in TX Direct. Ok, so most outdoorsy folk will have seen such products on websites and on the shelves of camping stores but do we always believe what it says on the label? In short, I wasn’t convinced.

According to the company Nikwax, it’s also a good idea to first wash your jacket in Nikwax Tech Wash. Well, they would say that wouldn’t they? The Tech Wash gets the jacket nice and clean, while the Wash-in TX is for waterproofing.

Since I’d been sent two sample boxes by the lovely people at outdoors gear website SimplyHike I couldn’t really see what I had to loose (except for, perhaps, the total use of my fave Berghaus.)

Here’s the technical stuff: “The Tech Wash and TX Direct Wash from Nikwax is a twin pack of two 300ml bottles and can be used together to improve waterproofing of wet weather clothing.

“The Tech Wash is a wash-in cleaner that doesn’t damage durable water repellent coatings and is designed specifically for waterproofed clothing and equipment. When used it can revitalise the breathability and water repellency of any much-used and loved waterproof jacket or pant.

“The TX Direct Wash In can be used in exactly the same way as the Tech Wash and can revive breathability to fabrics without wicking liners.”

So, into the washing machine I popped the jacket and an exhausted pair of waterproof over-trousers. I was instructed to give the powder drawer a through clean out so as to remove any ordinary washing powder as this can interfere with the cleaning and waterproofing process.

First wash was with Nikwax Tech Wash. Even at a low temperature the results were quite amazing. The jacket and trousers seemed suddenly restored to their original colours… It just goes to show how dirty such items can become.

The second wash was with the  Nikwax Wash-in TX Direct. I left the items to dry and then put them to the test while biking and hiking to the top of a Munro a few weekends ago. I have to admit I am impressed! I didn’t think the wash would do much other than make the items look nice and clean. Instead the waterproofing solution actually revitalised the jacket and trousers to the extent that the mud, splashes and rain just beaded on the surface of the clothes and ran off. I could see this very clearly on both items.

When I pointed this out to the G-Force he asked me why I had not treated his jacket and trousers to the same loving treatment! Well, because I’m not his washer woman, that’s why. But he is allowed to use a few capfuls of the washing and waterproofing solutions any time he wants.

I won’t know for a while whether the waterproofing lasts and I doubt the re-waterproofing technique makes the jacket and trousers as good as when bought new but if you’re looking to revitalise your waterproof garments then Nikwax is certainly a budget-friendly way to go.

The NikWax Tech Wash and TX Direct Wash in a 300ml twin pack is priced at £10.99 on SimplyHike. Try it for yourself.

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