Best waterproof treatments for your cycling jacket

Here's our pick of the best waterproof treatments and cleaning products for cycling jackets and other technical outer layers

best waterproof treatments for cycling clothing

The best waterproof treatments for cycling jackets and clothing will help to repel the rain - but after a lot of use, their ability to do so fades. So what products do we need to re-waterproof our garments?

It's a fact you don't want to hear, but technical waterproof layers will begin to work less effectively over time. That’s largely down to surface dirt or abrasion stopping the durable water resistant (DWR) layer on the outer surface working as intended, and to sweat and oils clogging the pores of an internal membrane barrier.

To restore a lot of the effectiveness, it's best to wash the waterproof item of clothing with a technical cleaner. Standard laundry detergents won’t cut it because they leave residues on your jacket, causing the DWR layer to wet out. They might even strip it off altogether.

Best waterproof treatments: how to go about it

Re-waterproofing your technical cycling kit should usually be a two-stage process and we explain how best to keep your kit in tip-top condition, and what the best waterproof treatments are.

We've more details on how to re-waterproof your cycling jacket here.

First wash, then re-proof

First off, try washing your kit. Often just washing off surface dirt and sweat will restore a lot of the water repellent properties of your clothing and get the outer DWR coating working pretty well again.

If washing doesn’t restore your garment’s waterproofing or the outer surface continues to wet out in the rain, you might need to go to stage two and re-treat its waterproofing. That calls for a different set of products, which apply a new DWR coating to your jacket, either by washing in or by spraying on the outer surface.

What brands should you look for?

In the UK, the market for waterproof treatments is dominated by Grangers and Nikwax. The two brands make a comparable range of products, including the basic washes and re-proofers described above. Other brands to look out for include Fibertec from Germany and Decathlon’s Forclaz, while some clothing brands like Endura and Assos sell their own care products.

Grangers and Nikwax also make specialist washes and re-proofing products for items like down-filled jackets and tents. Nikwax extends that further with products to treat softshells, fleeces and even horse rugs.

Best waterproof treatments and cleaners: our picks

Here's our pick of the best waterproof treatments and cleaners. 

Best waterproof treatments for your cycling jacket

Nikwax Tech Wash

Reasons to buy

+
Effective cleaner that doesn't leave residues

Reasons to avoid

-
Does not replace the DWR layer if this is worn

Nikwax’s Tech Wash is designed to wash all your cycling kit. Applied to waterproof kit, it might be enough to get the DWR coating working again without needing to apply a new surface treatment. Evans Cycles sells the 300ml size or the larger one litre bottle.

waterproof treatment cycling

Forclaz Fabric Waterproofing Liquid

Reasons to buy

+
Good value waterproofer

Reasons to avoid

-
Need to tumble dry to activate

Decathlon’s wash-in liquid requires 60ml to treat a jacket, so a bottle should be enough for four re-treatments. Following washing, it says that the garment should be tumble dried for 15 minutes to activate the coating. That’s something that most kit should handle, although watch out for some jackets that might not allow this.

Best waterproof treatments for your cycling jacket

Grangers Performance Wash

Reasons to buy

+
Small volume needed to wash garments
+
Works on base layers and other kit too

Reasons to avoid

-
Does not re-waterproof garments

Grangers Performance Wash is designed to clean all your active wear, not just your waterproof kit, bringing its technical features back to full strength. 30ml will treat a full load of cycle clothing. Let it air dry and it’s ready to use, and Active Wash will eliminate odours too.

waterproof treatment cycling

Fibertec Pro Wash Eco

Reasons to buy

+
Up to ten washes per bottle

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be hard to find

Designed to wash and restore breathability and water repellence to technical layers, including jackets, softshell and fleece, the concentrated formula only needs 25ml per wash, so you get up to ten washes from the 250ml size bottle.

Best waterproof treatments for your cycling jacket

Endura Apparel Cleaner And Re-proofer

Reasons to buy

+
One step cleaning and reproofing

Reasons to avoid

-
Need to tumble dry or iron to activate

Like Grangers’ 2 in 1, this product from Endura cleans your jacket and re-proofs it in one step, saving time and electricity. Once it’s been washed, you’ll need to tumble dry it or iron it to activate the waterproofing. Even a once-over with a hairdryer will get your jacket’s proofing back in action.

Best waterproof treatments cycling

Nikwax TX Direct Spray-On

Reasons to buy

+
Spray on formulation
+
No need to tumble dry to activate

Reasons to avoid

-
Need to be careful to coat evenly

TX Direct repairs the DWR layer on your waterproof kit. It’s just sprayed on and left to dry to re-coat your jacket, eliminating the need for tumble drying, so it’s good for older waterproofs that might not handle heat activation.

Best waterproof treatments cycling

Nikwax TX Direct Wash In Waterproofer

Reasons to buy

+
Wash and dry formulation
+
Available in very large sizes

If you prefer to apply your re-proofer using a washing machine, Nikwax’s TX Direct is also available in this format. Amazon sells a massive 5 litre bottle, which it says will handle up to 50 garments, although you can go smaller, down to 100ml, if your waterproof clothing collection isn’t as extensive.

Best waterproof treatments for your cycling jacket

Nikwax Tech Wash/SoftShell Proof

Reasons to buy

+
One pack for a full wash and reproof treatment

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit more pricey than individual products in larger packs

This twin pack from Nikwax gives you all you need to clean and re-proof a technical softshell cycling jacket. It’s usable either in a washing machine or by hand washing. Nikwax says that it coats individual fibres of the garment, leaving them waterproof but still breathable and also makes sure that seams and tapes are effectively treated.

Best waterproof treatments for your cycling jacket

Grangers Clothing Care Kit

Reasons to buy

+
Free Active Wash pack

Reasons to avoid

-
May not use all the products at the same rate

Three products in one package, this kit from Grangers gives you the brand’s Performance Wash to clean your jacket, Performance Repel Plus spray-on DWR coating and a free sample of Active Wash to treat your jerseys, shorts and baselayers.

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