Nikwax & the Future of DWRs (Ep.76)


  • Heidi’s background growing up off-the-grid (1:00)
  • Durable Water Repellent (DWR) overview (2:54)
  • DWRs vs. Membranes? (6:50)
  • Hydrophobic vs. Oleophobic? (11:38)
  • Why do clean garments perform better? (17:15)
  • Alternatives to PFCs (19:06)
  • Environmental & transparency initiatives at Nikwax (27:01)
  • The future of DWRs (31:09)
  • Páramo (33:30)

DWRs — or “Durable Water Repellent” coatings — play a huge role in the performance of your outdoor gear, and are used on nearly every waterproof garment on the market.

But most DWRs are made with chemicals called PFCs, which can be harmful to you and the environment.

Nikwax, however, makes products intended to extend the lifespan of outdoor gear, and none of their specialized cleaning, conditioning, or waterproofing products have ever used PFCs, which is pretty rare in the industry. So we talked with Heidi Allen from Nikwax about how DWRs work; the dangers of PFCs; how the industry is attempting to shift away from PFCs; garment care; and more.

Nikwax VP of marketing, Heidi Allen, goes on Blister's GEAR:30 podcast to discuss DWR (durable water repellent coatings), the dangers of PFCs, and more

5 comments on “Nikwax & the Future of DWRs (Ep.76)”

  1. Hey Sam, glad to see a mention of Nikwax Analogy. Definitely get some test garments and then set up a gear 30 podcast with someone from Paramo.
    I can’t be the only apparel geek who finds it super interesting (as well as providing a unique performance option).

  2. Good podcast episode, Heidi explained things well and easy to follow (while the other episodes in this regard were more challenging). I wouldn’t have minded some advertising of the Nikwax products, meaning if Heidi would have told us how to wash our clothes with their products.

    I know Sam et al wrote about it in the past and also made podcast episodes about why and how people whould wash their breathable gear.

  3. Great episode! I am huge fan of the nikwax wash and retreat products. So many companies spout sustainability like Patagonia, but still need to sell product. I wish they would partner with nikwax and suggest that treatment, or let people send in garments for retreatment of DWR. I did not know about the PFC issue, even better.
    I have saved so much money and resources by keeping gear going with their products, especially kids gear.

    One question: after the techwash and tx-direct, I cannot get repair tape to stick to garments. Duct tape will not stick, nothing I have tried. Could Heidi please recommend a repair tape that will stick after nikwax treatment? Thanks!

    • Just heard back from Heidi that they typically use Noso Patches and Tenacious Tape, and have good success. Happy repairs!

  4. In the country I live there is no Nikwax. Are there any suitable “regular” products I can use on my soft and hard shells? I have Dr Bronner’s liquid soap and a mild wool wash.

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