Dont Throw It Out: How To Clean Windbreaker Jacket Easily

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I want to talk a little bit about washing your rain jacket correctly because I made a big mistake here, and I think it’d be beneficial to share my experience. The Windbreaker waterproof jacket that I have been using for three years now is the Outdoor Research Helium Two a very lightweight jacket.

I’ve been using this Jacket almost every weekend for years now and love it; it’s never given me any problems.

My Windbreaker is taking in water.

However, a couple of months ago, I was doing a four-day hike, and on day three, it rained pretty much the whole day.

I noticed that the rainwater on the Jacket wasn’t beading like I’d been used to. And it was also absorbed into the fabric and making my skin a little wet.

Dont Throw It Out: How To Clean Windbreaker Jacket Easily6 min read

Washing it with Tech Wash

I figured that it was about time to wash it. So, when I got home, I didn’t think anything of it, went ahead and soaked it in a product that I’d been using for a while to wash my regular and high-end hiking clothes.

As usual, I didn’t add laundry detergent, but instead, I used a product called Nikwax Tech Wash. It comes in a bottle. It says it cleans effectively, revitalizes breathability, and restores water repellence.

Men’s Helium II Jacket By Outdoor Research
Keep yourself warm and cozy by zipping the Outdoor Research Helium 2. At just an ounce and designed with Pertex Shield material this ultra light jacket is ideal for travelers who want something lightweight but durable. 

Jacket still not waterproof, thoughts of replacements.

So after washing and drying the Helium 2 and thinking everything was fine, I decided to go back on another four-day trip, and on day three, again, it rained for a little under an hour.

Rain still wasn’t beading, and it was still soaking through after a very, very short time. So I said, OK, well, maybe this Jacket is the end of life, and I need to look at getting a new one.

I got home, was doing some research. Outdoor Research the manufacturer of the Jacket has a lifetime guarantee on their products.

So I shot them a quick email, didn’t think anything of it, and what they replied changed the way I felt about Jacket restoration forever.

Hardshell Cleaning and Waterproofing Duo-Pack By Nikwax
A high performance cleaning solution and fabric softener designed specifically for synthetic waterproof clothing, insulating garments, and dryer sheets and sleeping bags while also restoring water repellency and maintaining breathability.

Help from the Jacket Manufacturer via email

In their words, on the Nikwax Tech Wash solution, I first used was that the product is more for event fabric or gore text materials.

The manufacturer reiterated that the Nikwax Tech Wash instructions state that the product restores water repellence.

But where I went wrong was thinking that the Outdoor Research Helium Two jacket was waterproof, which is, in fact, is not.

What product the manufacturer suggested to use to restore water repellence.

Outdoor Research let me know that instead, it’s coated with a durable water repellent.

They recommended that I first clean the coat with the original Nikwax Tech Wash and then run it through another product by Nikwax called the TX Direct Wash-In.

The TX Direct Wash-In says that it adds water repellence and revives breathability. I’m pleased outdoor research told me about this.

I’m sure I would have figured it out eventually, but they did save me from probably buying a new rain jacket.

My process on How To Clean Windbreaker Jacket.

Step One – eliminate contamination. The first thing to do, if you have a front loader, is to take out the detergent compartment and run water through it. Note, avoid using hot water but always machine wash cold or warm.

Get out all the detergent because you don’t want that touching the Jacket.

Step Two – Add the Nikwax Tech Wash. The next thing we’re going to do is we’re going to put it back in and add Nikwax Tech Wash into the washing machine.

The washing machine instructions recommend two and a half ounces. It might be different for a top loader, but all the instructions are on the bottle.

For your washer settings, select it to knits and delicates and just let that kind of go through the cold water/warm water rinse cycle Now that step is complete, the rain jacket should be spotless of impurities.

Step Three – Add the TX Direct Wash-In. Time to take the TX Direct Wash-In and follow the instructions on the bottle, add a capful of the solution, and add to the second delicates wash cycle or gentle cycle and once done make sure to wring excess water.

This will restore the durable water repellent on the rain jacket, which will hopefully restore the product to a like-new condition.

Step Four – Introduce low dry heat. Now there is one step after this that manufacturer of the Helium jacket recommended to me.

After the TX Direct Wash-In cycle is complete, you’re going to want to toss the Jacket in the dryer under delicate low heat and wait five to eight minutes for the product to set.

You may recognize that once you take the Jacket out of the dryers, it may feel a heck of a lot different, some say it has a slight little odor to it or a filminess.

Rest assured It’s perfectly dry, and now that’s done, you’re going to want to take it out for a spin in the rain to check its restored to its previous water repellent glory.

To recap

  • First, soak it in the Nikwax Tech Wash (a mild bleach free detergent)
  • Then, put it in for another cycle with the TX Direct Wash-In.
  • Then you can either let it air dry or throw it in the dryer under very low heat and delicate for about five to eight minutes.

Taking it out for a test run and wrapping up

The first time out after going through this process, I was happy to say that the Windbreaker was beading like it should and not taking in any moisture.

I’m going to test it a little further before I go out on another trip, but I think that’s a wrap.

Hopefully, I hope you all found this guide on How To Clean Windbreaker Jacket useful and interesting.

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