The Cottage Smallholder

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How to easily reproof outdoor clothes

Washing machine

Washing machine

I have a gorgeous red jacket that I bought from TKMaxx a few years ago. Back in the 20th century this would have been called an anorak. I loved my first anorak – blue quilted with a white fur trim around the hood. But by the time I was in my teens I wouldn’t be seen dead or even dragged about half alive in one.
“It’s just a jacket,” my mum soothed.
For me denim jackets were the thing. I didn’t care if I got wet – surely the denim would weather nicely if I got caught in a shower? Chills? Only weedy people and me on a Wednesday when I wanted to miss double science got chills.

Back to the red jacket/summer anorak. Recently I have had a need to wear it. It’s been sunshine and showers for a couple of weeks now.

Now, Danny and I are not the sort of people who carefully pack away seasonal clothes to make space.
“What if we have snow in April?”
So all our outdoor clothes either hang on the back of the front door or fester in an enormous heap upstairs. One day we might grow up but to date only formal outer gear are stored in wardrobes – impossible to get at but that’s another story.

Until last week I hadn’t spotted how filthy my red jacket actually was. I’m happy to go shopping in dirty gardening clothes and wellington boots but the jacket needed a deep wash and a reproof. In the olden days this used to be done at the dry cleaners. Ching ching. Now you can wash a rainproof jacket in a non detergent cleaner (such as Lux) and reproof it at home. A tip that I picked up during my decorating days from my old pal Clare whose daughter had become a Boy Scout.

Girls in the UK can now become Boy Scouts rather than Girl Guides. They are often welcomed with open arms as they are lighter than boys so the “Carry this person from A to B” is not quite so challenging on arm and leg muscles. And I reckon that a mix of sexes is a better option and far more fun than the old segregated days. Of course, I am speaking as one who was thrown out of The Brownies for daring to challenge Brown Owl. I didn’t mention at the time of the post that she had rattled our antenna by setting a table “the wrong way”. Our helpful guidance had us jettisoned into the street within seconds.
I searched for this reproofer locally but drew a blank and then yesterday finally ventured onto Amazon. They had a great deal –  Twin Pack Nikwax Tech Wash and Tx. Direct Wash-in for less than the price of the reproofer alone. Amazon Prime is a great investment for impatient country bumpkins because the prized item arrives next day. The set arrived this morning and, as my fingers fly across the keyboard, the jacket is undergoing the reproofing stage in the washing machine.

Watch out, Newmarket. I’ll be stepping out in an ultra clean reproofed jacket and, dare I say it, hoping for rain. For in depth reproofing testing purposes. If my gardening clothes get wet they might soil the inside of the jacket! I must note here that Nikwax only promises a shower proof coating but I know skiers who swear by it.

Best of all, I have enough cleaner and reproofer to last at least a couple of years. As long as D doesn’t finally unearth his anorak from 10 years ago.

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  1. Jenna

    Yes, yes! Have moved from the spray on to the wash-in, with great success.

  2. Tamar@StarvingofftheLand

    I don’t know which item, of what I’ve found out here, I like best! Was it that you can reproof an old jacket (that’s incredibly groovy and useful)? That girls can be Boy Scouts in UK (also groovy, and promising)? Or that you got thrown out of the Brownies for challenging the Brown Owl (the grooviest, and an explanation for why I knew I liked you right away)?

  3. Loving the magnet on the washing machine!

  4. That is so cool, I use the stuff you can spray your shoes with, but it is such a hassle because I always miss a bit, it’s smelly, and it wears off really fast. Thanks Fiona.

  5. Just learnt something – thank you. Also have fond memories of my old anoraks LOL

  6. Diane epps

    I have used Nikwax before and get it from the camping shop I also use it to do my shower curtain which is cloth not plastic

    • Crazy Moose

      Sound advice Fiona. I say that because I do the same :-).

      Diane I also use Nikwax, has always worked well for me. They have a few different types of proofers too:

      I prefer to do my proofing in the sink as it is less diluted this way leaving better protection. Definitely works well on softshells for me, not tried with anything else yet.

  7. Cool to know about, and I’ll have to check if our version of Amazon has it. We used to waterproof stuff with a product called Scotchgard, from 3M, but they took it off the market when the folks making it all came down with cancer.

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