A great rain jacket is an essential part of any commuting cyclist’s arsenal, and I have learned from experience that skimping on this is a surefire way to find oneself soggy and miserable. About two years ago, I invested in the Endura MT500 jacket emphasis on invested. Reliable weather protection isn’t cheap, and cheap weather protection isn’t reliable. The difference between these can make or break your commute.
These days, most rain garments are waterproofed using a factory-applied DWR (Durable Water Repellent) finish. This finish breaks down over time, which is why rain jackets tend to lose their moisture repellency. With this in mind, I decided to stave off the inevitable loss of effectiveness by not washing my rain jacket for as long as possible. I realize that this was a pretty gross approach (and one bound to make me lose a few friends), but after spending what felt like a nonsensical amount of money on a waterproof garment, I was determined to not screw it up.
Lucky for me and everyone in my vicinity, a sales rep was handing out samples of Penguin Sport Wash at the Whirlybird Cyclocross race this fall. Armed with a detergent substitute compatible with DWR coating, I knew the time had come. According to the package, Sport Wash goes one step further and promises to restore performance?? while completely removing odors.??
I followed the clear and helpful directions on the package and washed my jacket using the Sport Wash in lieu of regular detergent. The instructions recommend using the highest dryer heat setting allowed by the manufacturer. My Endura jacket has a symbol warning against heat drying, so I opted to err on the side of caution and air dry my jacket instead.
I decided to not wait for the next rainstorm to test the Sport Wash. A spray bottle full of water and an itchy trigger finger accomplished what the weather couldn’t, and the results surprised me. Despite not using a dryer setting, the Sport Wash caused water to bead up with no moisture penetration on almost all the jacket, including some trouble spots I had previously noticed on the shoulders and arms. I thoroughly soaked it and allowed it to sit, and the only damp spots on the inside occurred on the back of the hood. I would wager that if I ran it through another wash cycle with some Sport Wash, I could achieve the original waterproof qualities of the jacket.
Conclusion: Sport Wash works!