Let’s be clear. Not everyone needs to wear lycra, or hi-tech fabrics in order to slip through the streets and lanes of a commute. These materials have so many wonderful properties to assist using the bicycle as a tool for exercising, perspiring and avoiding pockets of wind to slow you down and rob you of your PB.
Forking out for another layer of kit should not be a deterrent to a good commute to work. Cycling more slowly and in a more considered fashion need not require Gore-Tex or anti-fogging sunglasses. Spend more on your bike instead.
Rain, however, can spoil even the most discerning items in your portfolio of stylish clothes worn on your bicycle. It will beat you back as you open the curtains of a dark winter morning or see you hurriedly renewing your pay-and-go Oyster card before you plough through the turnstiles of an evening’s slog home. You might, however, brave the storm and try a poncho, which you can check out here.
A light shower can be negotiated without both you and your clothes dripping, especially if you are wearing your work gear which is specially made for cycling. If you have the need to wear one, then the suit jacket, tie or sharp blouse may well be left at the desk anyway. Your commute might therefore be made up of good leisure wear or some of the cycle specific clothing seen on these pages. Have a look here at how you can cycle in the rain.
And even if you’re dressed in ‘normal’ clothes which aren’t designed especially for cycling, and aren’t water-resistant, then don’t worry. Durable water repellent (DWR) spray will show you how to make clothing waterproof. Here’s how to dry your bike after the rain, as you can’t make DWR work on that.
How Does Waterproof Spray Work?
DWR is a coating put onto materials made for function and works for clothing or footwear. It provides the very first blockade to water. It stops it from collecting and flowing as one by keeping the surface of the fabric smooth via increased surface tension and forcing the beads off the material.
Can You Waterproof Any Clothing?
Most functional outdoor clothing, workwear and tents come with DWR and simply deteriorate over time and should need topping up. Using DWR on standard clothes can waterproof them. The way it works is to hamper the water from entering the fabric. DWR is likely to be removed by regular cleaners.
How to Waterproof Clothing [6 Steps]
- Wash the garment that you wish to waterproof
- Get hold of your DWR spray
- Find a washing line or lay out over a clothes horse in isolation and in a ventilated area to allow for even-spraying
- Spray the garment from a distance of 12-17 centimetres double-checking that it is coated evenly
- Clear any excess using a microfibre or damp cloth
- Wait for the garment to naturally dry
Best Waterproof Sprays for Clothes [Top 3]
- Nikwax TX Direct Spray-On [REVIEW]
- Muc-Off Fabric Protector [REVIEW]
- Grangers Performance Repel Waterproofer [REVIEW]
Best DWR Spray
✅ Affordably priced
✅ Water-based, biodegradable, and non-flammable formula
✅ Recommended fir Gore-Tex, SympaTex and eVent fabrics
✅ Adds durable water repellent for protection
I’ve been using Nikwax to top up the waterproofing of a pair of walking boots and find their products simple to use and readily available at local outdoor sports stores.
This product is designed to work on wet-weather clothing that have built in absorbent liners. It is tailor-made for materials such as breathable waterproof fabrics, coated, microfibre and laminated clothing.
The USP is that a water-repellent finish is allied to any of the built-in breathability within the garment.
Best Hydrophobic Spray
✅ Well-respected brand
✅ Optimum results within 24 hours of spraying
✅ High level of active material for the price
✅ Claimed use on leather, suede, cotton, polyester as well as breathable fabrics
A well-trusted brand making a mark in bicycle shops up ad down the land.
This product is aimed at those outdoor garments which may have been neglected or shoved through the washing machine too many times when you are in a huff after a sludgy ride.
The Nano Fabric Protect aids their recovery and use as a water repellent speedily and also helps keep off other everyday stains. We don’t have a 1980s doorstep washing powder advert to show you examples of such stains, unfortunately.
The spray is colourless when dried and offers oil and stain protections. There is no advertised effect on the flexibility or breathability of the garment.
Best Water-Repellent Spray
✅ Fluoro-carbon free – better for the environment
✅ Water based silicone
✅ Suitability for all waterproof garments
✅ Adds DWR
A British brand committed to its understanding of the elements with over nearly 85 years of experience.
Mainly manufactured in its Derbyshire base, the company can control the quality of their output.
This specially-formulated product improves deprived technical fabrics to make the most of breathability and adds DWR. No heat activation is required.
A little more expensive pound-for-pound but the reviewers come out in their droves to highlight the positive properties.
How to Make Clothing Waterproof – FAQs
How Long Does Waterproof Spray Last?
For everyday use, expect a waterproof spray to last up to a month. The DWR will eventually wear off, more in areas where friction applies and then apply a new coat. If the garment is worn less frequently, you can expect more life. Spot check to see if the water seeps in or beads before shaking off.
Can You Make Regular Fabric Waterproof?
You don’t need to have brightly coloured, rustling, harsh fabrics at the heart of your waterproofing regime, you don’t have to keep topping these up. Suede, leather, cotton, denim as well as traditional man-made material can be waterproofed. Silk and wool included.
What’s the Best Waterproof Spray for Jackets?
Grangers Performance Repel Plus comes out the best and this is due to the performance and reliability factors, despite the additional cost. The positivity, environmental performance and wide range of glowing reviews from regular, non-activity based users helped to tip the balance in their favour.