How To: enhance the performance of your softshell jacket

Keeping outdoor clothing clean and protected is vital to ensure it continues to work as it should. Failing to do this would lead to your clothing underperforming and eventually the fabric could degrade, making the item unusable for its intended purpose.

Most softshells have a durable water repellent coating (DWR) to ensure you stay dry in light rain or snow showers, when worn as an outer layer. The inner lining is often fleece, providing insulation – both when worn as a mid-layer under a waterproof hard shell jacket, or as the outer layer.

Dirt will build-up on your softshell over time, and, combined with abrasion from use, the DWR will fail; resulting in water absorption, as well as reduced breathability – whereby moisture will collect on the inside of the garment, causing you to feel damp and sticky. Dirt alone can mask the DWR, which will single-handedly impair performance.

Even if your jacket does not look visibly dirty, you should look to clean it regularly to prevent deterioration of the DWR and breathability.

Nikwax cleaners will safely clean and maintain your cherished outdoor gear. Completely safe for the user and the environment, due to being water-based, they will not leave water-attracting residues on your clothing (which is what will happen if you clean your gear with standard household detergent!).

Follow these easy steps to clean and re-proof your softshell jackets and be ready to enjoy all that spring has to offer whilst staying warm and dry in your Nikwax’ed jacket!

Cleaning
Always clean your softshell with Tech Wash®. It not only removes all dirt from the garment, its high performance formula actually revives the DWR! If your jacket has only recently been re-proofed, or is fairly new, then cleaning alone will bring the garment back to life. You should be able to clean 4-6 times (use-dependent) before re-proofing is required.

Proofing
A DWR coating quite simply will not last forever! At some point, you will need to replenish the water repellency if you want your jacket to perform. When you see that cleaning alone is not reviving the DWR, then you need to re-proof your softshell. There is just one aftercare product you need – SoftShell Proof!

Super easy to use in your washing machine, or by hand, SoftShell Proof enhances performance and makes your gear last longer.

How to use in a washing machine:

  • Wash first with Tech Wash. No need to dry item in-between washes.
  • Place a maximum of two garments in your machine.
  • Use 100ml of SoftShell Proof per garment.
  • Run a 30° synthetic cycle and slow spin.

Re-proof by hand:

  • After washing, immerse 1 cleaned garment in 6L of hand-hot water.
  • Add 100ml of SoftShell Proof, agitate to mix and soak for 5-10 minutes.
  • Agitate the garment again and then rinse with cold water until the water runs clear.

Re-proof with the spray-on:

  • Protect your surface and lay your cleaned, wet garment flat. Ensuring the garment is fastened. 
  • Holding the bottle approximately 6 inches (15cm) away from the garment, spray evenly over the outer fabric. 
  • After 2 minutes, remove any surplus product with a damp cloth.
  • Check that no areas have been missed. 
  • After several more minutes, check for and final remaining surplus product. 
  • Allow approximately 150ml of product per garment; dependent upon the condition of the fabric you are treating. 

SoftShell Proof treats the entire garment, with treatment going through fabric, seams, tapes and cords. It applies a durable water repellent treatment, which in turns ensure individual fibres allow moisture vapour to pass through, maintaining that all important breathability. It does not require heat for the treatment to develop, so you can save energy. However, you can tumble dry on a low setting if the care label allows.

You are ready to enjoy the outdoors, staying dry and comfortable.