Washing Garments and DWR maintenance

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Washing Garments and DWR maintenance

Postby GregM » Fri Dec 14, 2018 6:37 pm

Just want to share my experience with washing ski garments.

Most garments come from the factory with DWR (durable water repellant) coating which makes textile more hydrophobic and makes water to form the beads. With some use the dirt accumulates on the textiles and instead of the beads you see the water film forming on the surface which makes your ski garments less hydrophobic. The natural fix seem to be to wash the garments and I tried multiple specialized soaps. The Nikwax seem to be the most popular but is very expensive. The best results I got are with ATSCO sport wash. It is cheap and works much better. They used to sell it in Walmart but now the only place I can find it is on Amazon which is still OK.

Now what happens after you wash the garments even with specialized soap is that the beads do not form anymore even thought they claim the specialized washes do not remove DWR. This was happening to me with all my quite expensive jackets (Kjus and MF brands). First thing I tried was the Nikwax DWR and it was useless (still very expensive). I found that ATSKO makes the Permanent Water and Stain Repellent (the green spray cans) which work much better. The only catch is that I had to speak with the chemist in their tech support and he explained the very important detail I was missing. Apparently, the best DWRs are fluoropolymer based including the ones which are applied in the factories. The important part is that these fluoropolymers require "baking in" after application in order to orient the PTFE molecule strains in the proper direction. After washing this orientation is lost in most cases. So the solution is to do the subsequent "bake in". Most garments I have seen require gentle wash cycle and do not allow tumble dry. So after washing and drying on the hanger, I place garments on the rack in the dryer and use the high heat for about 30 min. They told me that the "bake in" will be successful after the heat reaches at least 150 F.

So the new jackets do not require additional DWR treatment after wash (the factory applied one usually last at least 20 washes, Kjus / MF claim 100 washes on their products) but the "bake in" makes a huge difference. If you use non-specialized soaps those may remove DWR, so beware. The older garments can be treated with Permanent Guard and like I said I had a good luck with it but only after I started using "bake in".
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Re: Washing Garments and DWR maintenance

Postby Max_501 » Sat Dec 15, 2018 8:35 am

I follow the manufacturers instructions. Most of mine say low or warm. It would be interesting to do a test comparing warm to high heat but I don't have anything I'm willing to risk right now.

Some examples:

https://www.gore-tex.com/gore-tex-wash-instructions

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice ... r-dwr.html

https://arcteryx.com/us/en/help/product-care

https://www.outdoorresearch.com/blog/ar ... h-gore-tex
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Re: Washing Garments and DWR maintenance

Postby GregM » Sat Dec 15, 2018 9:12 am

Sure, I just posted this to share, and did start this treatment option only after all my attempts failed and called support for help on why I am having issues.
By the way, I think there are different types of DWRs so what I said probably applies to fluoropolymer based DWRs. Both types of gear that I have (Kjus and Mountain Force) are made of four way stretchable textile with ceramic membrane and are not gore-tex based.

I read through multiple references as well. For example the Nikwax DWR treatment explicitly says that to heat activation is needed. Also, maybe Nikwax is better suited for gore-tex products but it did not work at all for me (probably because my garments were treated at factory with fluoropolymer based DWR).
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Re: Washing Garments and DWR maintenance

Postby Max_501 » Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:57 am

GregM wrote:Both types of gear that I have (Kjus and Mountain Force) are made of four way stretchable textile with ceramic membrane and are not gore-tex based.


My Kjus has "Do not tumble dry" printed on the jacket.
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Re: Washing Garments and DWR maintenance

Postby GregM » Sat Dec 15, 2018 5:26 pm

Same notice on mine. The wet four way stretch fabric may be torn if the garment is placed loose in the dryer.
I place mine on the drying rack inside the dryer only after the garment is completely dry. I do it one piece at a time (jacket or pants) and make sure the dryer drum does not touch it at any time. The stuff is lying on the rack shelf and is not moving so there is no risk of mechanical damage.
The purpose is not to dry it but thermally re-activate DWR coating.

Obviously, if your jacket, etc. beads water after washing no need to do anything.
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