Waterproof clothing relies on more than just specialised fabrics to get the job done. DWR is an important part of the construction of any waterproof garment - but what does DWR mean, and what does it actually do? Read on to learn everything you need to know.
All About Durable Water Repellent (DWR)
What Is DWR?
DWR (Durable Water Repellent) is a coating applied to garments to enhance their resistance to water. It's used in the process of constructing waterproof clothing such as waterproof jackets or waterproof trousers. DWR doesn't make a garment waterproof on its own, it's used in combination with things such as taped seams and treated fabric (such as our very own Isotex) to get the job done. DWR is also used on many non-waterproof products to add a level of protection, such as trousers or softshell garments. Previously, Regatta's range of waterproof apparel and clothing accessories used PFC's (Perfluorinated Compounds) in the DWR process, however as of September 2020 the range is now PFC free.
Is DWR Waterproof?
No, DWR isn't waterproof - it's just water repellent. You can discover more on the difference between waterproof and water repellent in our separate guide, but the main thing to note is that the protective layer DWR applies is to repel water. Fabric treated with a DWR finish will cause water to bead when it comes into contact, so instead of wetting the outer fabric of the garment, the water should gather on the surface and roll off the fabric.
Does DWR Wash Off?
Over time DWR performance does begin to subside, however it will wash off much faster if you machine wash your waterproof garments. You'll know if your DWR coating has started to wear off if you experience damp patches on the outside of your garment where water has began to settle and seep into the fabric. Generally speaking, even 3 - 5 machine washes can be enough to warrant reproofing a piece of waterproof clothing, as a mix of detergent chemicals and abrasions from the washing machine will chip away at the protection each cycle.
DWR works a little bit like car wax. Once applied, you'll reap the benefits for quite some time, however it's the things encountered through daily use like mud, accidental scuffs et cetera which work to erode the durable water repellent over time.
DWR Reproofing At Home
If your waterproof clothing has lost some of its ability to fend off water, it's time for some reproofing. In your local Regatta Great Outdoors store you'll be able to purchase some of our own specialised reproofing products, such as a Regatta Wash-in Reproofer or Regatta Spray-on Reproofer. For waterproof jackets and trousers, you'll find that the spray-on reproofer is the most convenient solution as it's only the outer face of the garments that need to be reproofed. Equally, you can also use it to target specific zones that require a top-up. Simply spray the reproofer on generously, leave it to sit for roughly 5 minutes, before wiping any remaining residue off with a cloth.
On the other hand, the Wash-in reproofer is used to reproof your garments in the washing machine, which is great if you have multiple garments that need reproofing as you'll typically be able to reproof two at once. It'll also do a more thorough job, which ensures you have complete coverage.