5 Steps To Proper Nikwax Tech Use (Easy Guide)

Those of us with waterproof gear have most likely experienced the problem when the waterproofing begins to wear down. Thankfully there are other solutions that you can take besides just buying brand new gear.

Beginners to waterproof gear often find themselves wondering: how do I re-waterproof my gear? By following this guide and using Nikwax tech wash properly, you can keep your waterproof gear in great shape for much longer!

Techwash helps keep your investment in a hundred-dollar raincoat, down jacket, or snow gear in quality shape. But, misusing it can reduce the waterproof ability of the equipment itself.

Here are my five easy to follow steps for using Nikwax Tech Wash the right way.

Nikwax Waterproof Jacket

What Is Nikwax Tech Wash?

Nikwax tech wash rewater-proofs tech gear like ski jackets, sleeping bags, and rain jackets. It is not a detergent; detergents can damage waterproofed materials.

Nikwax works by removing pollutants like grease and dirt clogging the pores of waterproof fabric.

Nikwax Tech Wash Instructions

There are several nuances to remember when using Nikwax. First, remember, improper use can reduce the solution’s efficiency.

Always check for cleaning instructions for your specific gear before following the general guidelines below.

Step 1: Use the Right Nikwax

Nikwax offers a variety of formulas and types of products for waterproofing materials. It’s crucial to utilize the correct formula for the gear you are treating.

  • Tech Wash – Tech wash is the generic washing formula for Nikwax. It works well for most tech gear, but more specialized formulas work best for each respective gear.
  • Down Wash – Maintains the filing structure of down, reduces the weight of down, and improves and maintains the waterproof levels of down gear without damaging the clothing.
  • Polar Proof – Polar Proof wash waterproofs fleeces.
  • SoftShell – This formula cleans softshells for skiing and other outdoor-wet-weather gear without damaging the wicking liners.
  • T.X. Direct – T.X. Direct works best for gear without wicking liners.

Step 2: Prepare Your Gear

Before washing your gear, prepare it accordingly. Firstly, read the labels on the gear. Some gear companies recommend that certain gear types, like down coats, receive dry cleaning instead of using a top-loading washing machine.

If the gear is safe to wash in a washing machine, remove all detachable belts or accessories from the coat. Next, close all zippers, buttons, and pockets. Before putting the gear in the wash, remove any excess dirt, mud, or stains with water and a soft brush or sponge.

In some cases, it becomes necessary to run the clothing through a pre-rinse cycle. For example, if the gear is excessively dirty or muddy, run the coat through the washing machine with just water so the Nikwax can work.

Step 3: Prep the Washing Machine

Before using Nikwax, make sure to prep the washing machine to clean technical gear. Each washer type requires different methods of preparation for cleaning technical clothing.

First, before loading the washer, clean any detergent in the dishwasher cup completely out to prevent detergent from damaging the gear’s materials. Second, if any soap residue remains from the last load of laundry, wipe the washer before loading.

Once the washer is free of soap residue and detergent, proceed with loading the washer depending on its type. Do not stuff the washing machine full of technical gear. Overfilled machines won’t apply Nikwax evenly and can damage clothing.

Front Load Washers

Front-load washers can only handle two tech jackets or a single sleeping bag.

Top Load Washers

Top load washing machines can wash up to six jackets, or a sleeping bag and a few jackets.

Hand Washing

You can wash most tech gear by hand with Nikwax. Just soak a single piece of gear in hot water and scrub gently with about 100-150 mL of Nikwax solution. Rinse at least three times after cleaning before hanging to dry.

Step 4: Use the Right Amount of Wash

Use between two and three cups of Nikwax for under three jackets and up to five cups for six jackets for a top-loading washing machine. Use between one and two cups of Nikwax to clean technical gear in a front-load washer.

You can pour Nikwax directly into the washing machine or put it in the detergent cup for the cycle. Either method works just as well for cleaning technical gear.

Step 5: Follow A Washing Schedule

Regular maintenance and washing of technical gear increase the lifespan and integrity of the gear itself. Use a washing schedule to clean your technical gear regularly.

For frequently used items like jackets, wash them once a month when in use. 

For ski gear, sleeping bags, tents, and other items wash whenever dirt or mud becomes apparent, or at least once every other use.

As a good rule of thumb, any time you expose gear to mud, dirt, or debris and see stains on the surface, you need to wash it.


When using Nikwax to maintain technical clothing and gear, remember the five rules: use the right Nikwax type, prep the clothes, prep the washer, correctly measure the formula, and stick to a schedule.

Hopefully this guide on using Nikwax will help you stay warm and dry in even the wettest conditions!