All rainwear and waterproof garments are treated on the outside with a special water-based spray called “Durable Water Repellent”. Over time, some of your garments may lose that treatment, causing your outer layer to get wet. The rain may create excess interior condensation, making you wet and cold. It may also reduce breathability.
Having Gore Tex spray in your backpack will definitely save you from these inconveniences so you can stay warm and dry. Gore-Tex garments are best known for supporting long-lasting water repellent protection, from your head down to your feet. Gore-Tex garments are unique water repellents because they connect to both the fabric and the DWR finish. To find out why Gore-Tex is essential, check out our article on this topic.
What should you know about Gore-Tex?
If you’re unfamiliar with Gore-Tex, then here are some handy facts you should know so that you’re aware of exactly what you’re getting with this product.
- Gore-Tex fabric is made from fluoride, which makes it waterproof so that water droplets don’t get in. However, it’s also breathable so that sweat can evaporates through its membrane out. This happens because the holes of the membrane are 700 times bigger than molecules of the sweat, but at the same time, its pores are 20.000 times tinier than the water drops.
- Gore-Tex is just one protective membrane of the several layers the clothing consists of. Gore-Tex layer is placed between two moderately porous fabrics in order to do its job properly.
- Gore-Tex tests every product that has their name on it. Each durable water repellent model of Gore-Tex is tested in their laboratories to make sure it works accordingly to the standards and will last a lifetime. Gore-Tex labs have rain rooms to test the water repelling, and rooms with temperatures from -50 degrees to +50 degrees to test other conditions.
- Gore-Tex can also be used while paddling, sailing or cruising. The salt from the water will not contaminate or clog the pores, and will not decrease the breathability. If you want to keep salt from accumulating on your garments, you should rinse it in fresh water.
What is DWR?
In order to prevent getting “wetted-out”, all of the GORE-TEX products are manufactured with an ultra-thin layer known as DWR – durable water repellent. A durable water repellent layer is always applied to an external layer in order to prevent you from absorbing water.
When it’s raining, water beads up and the rolls off because the DWR lowers the surface tension of the external fabrics and also penetrates the fibers. Unfortunately, this durable water repellent does not always have long shelf life because it’s exposure to detergents, insect repellent, and other contaminations.
However, the water repellency of your jackets cab be restored with just a small bottle of spray while hiking or backpacking.
Should you have two layers of Gore-Tex instead of one?
Gore-Tex garments are the best choice for water repellant clothes because they are made from three layers. There is one conventional outer fabric and two additional separate Gore-Tex layers that have quite different water repellent – breathable characteristics.
The inside hydrophilic membrane is relatively thin and delicate. This membrane does not allow liquid water in, but at the same time allows sweat to escape out. Unlike many other materials where the water soaks into the fabric and doesn’t move out, the hydrophilic membrane absorbs the sweat from your body and by diffusion transports it outside.
Next, to this inner layer, there is a thicker outer layer. The outer layer is hydrophobic, made from a microporous plastic polymer. This means that this layer resists water from outside, not only in regular situations but even when you run at high speed and in heavy rain.
As you walk or run along, the garments are flexing back and fourth and the hydrophobic layer does not absorb the water from outside. And like the inner layer, the outer hydrophobic layer allows the sweat to come out fro the inside by diffusion.
Why should you include two layers of Gore-Tex instead of only one? You should have two layers because the outer hydrophobic layer provides protection and support for the inner hydrophilic layer and also contribute thermal isolation.
Without the outer layer, the rain will soak up and cools the inner layer, so your body will be wet and cold. These two layers come together as a team, by keeping water out, reducing the heat loss, allowing sweat to escape and keeping your body warm.
Why is Gore-Tex spray very useful while hiking or camping?
Unfortunately, there is no such thing like permanent water-repellent garments. Over time, the durable water repellency finish may be decreased. With this being the case, the rain will saturate the outer layer, your garment won’t be breathable and sweat will stay inside the jacket and soak the clothes you are wearing underneath.
It is very likely to feel cold when your jacket is wet and the temperatures outside are low. In situations like this, feel free to use the spray, and you will have water-repellent jacket again. You may repeat this as many times as needed.
Gore-Tex garments have a lot of possibilities. They allow long lasting protection from inclement water. With their excellent breathability, Gore-Tex products unsurpassed comfort and give maximum durability in rugged conditions. These products will also give you durable protection after exposure to oils, petroleum and many other lubricants.
How to clean your Gore-Tex garments before using the Gore-Tex spray
Before you decide to apply Gore-Tex spray to your garments, it’s important that you wash it first. This is to remove any debris or dirt that is on your clothing, as this can interfere with the functioning of the spray. Here are the various methods used to clean Gore-Tex clothing.
Should you wash your Gore-Tex garments with your regular laundry? Yes, you definitely should use laundry, because it is the best way to clean the jackets and renew your DWR at the same time.
Wash the garments in the machine with warm water and medium heat. Use only mild detergent, but never soaps that contain fabric softeners, conditioners or stain removals. When it is dry, tumble dry the garments for another 20-30 minutes in order to reactivate the DWR – durable water repellent treatment.
According to the care instruction of production companies, you should iron the garments only by using a warm steam setting.
You should replace your laundry with dry cleaning if your Gore-Tex outwear contains silk or wool. Materials like silk or wool should be dry cleaned only. The dry cleaning may be done with clear and distilled solvent rinse or a water repellent spray.
If your Gore-Tex water-repellent garments have some stains, you should saturate the stained areas with some pre-wash treatment. After applying an aerosol pre-wash treatment, wash the garment immediately with warm water and mild detergents.
If the stains are heavy and stubborn, you will need to repeat the process. Iron the garment with medium heat.
Dry cleaning is not recommended for a garment that uses Gore-Tex fabric and also down insulation. Dry cleaning may cause losing loft and warmth because it will strip the oil from the down feathers.
Instead of dry cleaning, you should machine wash in cold water, with mild detergent. The best choice is to use a front-loading washer. Heat the garment on low, and iron it with a warm touch.
How to Restore Water Repellency of your Jacket
When you go backpacking, you may experience ideal conditions for developing hypothermia if the durable water repellent coating had stopped shedding rain, snow or wind. If this happens, you should restore the factory-applied DWR layer with spray so that the moisture will bead up and roll off again.
This spray is also suitable for other waterproof breathable clothes, as it is water-based. It spreads really quickly over the entire garment, so you can restore your garment as good as new.
The application process itself is easy, but it’s recommended that you adhere to the following steps:
- First, you should wash your jacket or any other waterproof garment, using any of the methods stated above.
- While the garment is still wet, the next step is to apply the Gore-Tex spray on. It is also recommended to apply an extra amount of the spray on the shoulders, hood and also at the end of the sleeves. After applying the spray, the garment should be wet but not drip. It’s a good thing that this water repellent treatment is available as a pump-spray, so you will be able to do this treatment while you hiking or camping in case the factory applied treatment is no longer active. A single bottle may treat several garments.
- Finally, leave the coat air dry. In case you are doing this in your home, put the garments into a dryer and let it dry for 60 minutes on low heat. But if you are doing this while camping, iron the garments on warm, no stream setting. In order to protect the thing you are drying, place a towel or cloth between the iron and the garment. The heat will reactive the durable water repellent on your garment’s fabrics, and you can continue hiking and backpacking without getting wet and cold.
Other Gore-Tex products you could use the spray on
All of the Gore-Tex products are waterproof, windproof and very durable. Other than garments, Gore-Tex is also producing footwear and accessories for men, women, and children.
Although over time, the durable water-repellent finish on your favorite hiking or hunting boot may be desolated. The good thing is that with this Gore-Tex water-based spray, you could very easy restore the water-repellent and have warm and dry feet during your outdoor activity.
The spray spreads quickly over the entire boots, so you will have the primary factory applied characteristics. Having a little bottle of this spray in your backpack will allow you to have a long and fun trip like you were planning to.
Outdoor gloves are meant to be durable, water repellent, windproof, and breathable. Perspiration can very easy escape from the inside and you will enjoy your activities even in harsh condition without getting wet. Water stays on the outside so your hands will stay warm and protected.
However, these functions can also wear out over time. Gore-Tex spray can return the water repellency on your gloves too, so your hands can stay moisture-free and warm.
With Gore-Tex spray, you will have no trouble beading water, once your garments start to wet out. This spray works on every water-repellency types of outwear, soft shells and other waterproof breath garments. Check out our tips on how to choose the best hiking rain gear for more information.
The Gore-Tex spray has the ability to restore the durable water repellency to all types of garments but not clog the pores of breathable garments. All you need to do is wash the garment, spray the Gore-Tex water repellent spray and tumble dry. This spray is ideal for rainwear, skiwear, hats, and gloves when you go hiking or camping.
The Gore-Tex spray is also available as a wash-in product, so you may use it while you are washing the garments. The spray is long lasting, non-flammable and also non-toxic, so it’s safe to use even in your own home. For the best hardshell jacket for women you can find, see our review to give you more options.
Have you had any good experiences with using Gore-Tex spray on any of your clothing? Please share your stories with us in the comments section below.