Water Repellents - The current story…

"The specific recommended procedures have changed several times over the years. There are currently two recommended procedures, one that we use, and one that is recommended by others (including Gore Tex...).

When we provide the refurbishing service offered in our catalog (#255), we begin by washing the Roadcrafter suits in a mild powder detergent, with the machine (washer..) set on 'warm/cold, double rinse'. Then we wash the suit again with no detergent, with the machine again set on 'warm/cold, double rinse' Then we wash suit in Nikwax, with the machine set on warm/cold, double rinse, following the directions on the container. All washes should be warm/cold, not hot/cold. Then we dry the garment with the machine (dryer...) set on medium temperature. Some other companies are now recommending the use of only spray-on repellents for renewing the repellent finish all lined garments. They apparently have some concerns about wash-in repellents like Nikwax interfering with the overall breathabilty of the garment - by somehow making some kinds of linings less breathable. Our interpretation is that they are endorsing Nikwax for use with Aerostich Darien gear, but not on the Roadcrafters.

For about the first fifteen years we were in business, wash-in repellents did not exist, so we recommended spray-on treatments. That was the only type there was. When the wash-in products first became available, we were initially slow to recommend them. After five years of good in-use reports, we started recommending the wash-in refinishing products for two reasons: (A) They are much easier to use, and (B) the wash-in method allows the product to fully penetrate into all the smallest hidden areas of the garment. To make sure a spray-on repellent really gets into the knit zipper tapes and all the little places...is a lot of work.

Lastly, we find that Nikwax Tech Wash (a cleaning product sometimes used before wash-in repellents are used…) can be damaging to some garments. This is either due to the customer not following directions and using too much, or due to the product itself. The product penetrates so well it sometimes causes seam tape and adhesive hook and loop to pull loose or tear out. We recommend using standard powder detergents to wash our garments, and not ‘specially formulated, non-detergent soaps’ like Tech Wash or Granger G-Wash Cleaner. We don’t know where the idea that a detergent soap adversely affects Gore-Tex backed material came from, but it's out there.”

- Mr. Subjective (May, 2008)