Review: Nikwax Tech Wash and TX-Direct

A winter’s worth of riding through slush and grime had made my pannier rain covers nasty. I’d rinse them off with clean water every few days, but they had gotten deeply stained with road grime and they started losing most of their water repellent properties. It’s hard to see in these photos, but the inner surface that faces the wheels was really dirty, even after rinsing them off in the sink.

Our friends at Nikwax were happy to send us some sample-sized products to try out. Tech Wash is a special detergent made for washing water-repellent material.  It’s supposed to help lift stains out and clean the surface without diminishing the waterproofing properties of GORE-TEX and similar textiles. In fact, it’s supposed to help revitalize them a bit. We’ll see. These rain covers are FILTHY and leak water. I also added my waterproof ski shell to the mix. One of these containers is supposed to be good for up to three garments.

After Tech Wash, the pannier covers were notably cleaner, with only a few really deep stains remaining. I let them dry completely before taking this photo, then I put them to the test with some water spray.  Some parts of the rain cover shed water while it permeated other parts. The rain covers were clean, but their waterproofing was too far gone. My ski jacket repelled water like new, though!

I ran the rain covers through the wash again, this time with NikWax’s TX Direct wash-in Waterproofing solution. This milky substance is added directly to the washer (or to a sink full of water) without any detergent, and you “wash” already-clean waterproof gear in it to revitalize its hydrophobic properties.

I once again dried the rain covers out, and then performed the same test with water spray. Even after 5 minutes of water sitting on the rain covers, nothing was soaking through.

That was about a week ago, and they’re still repelling water. Hopefully, after being treated with NikWax, they will last through the rainy spring season that’s on the way.

Nikwax has a wide range of products for cleaning and refurbishing technical clothing. This includes scrubbing cleaners for cycling/running shoes, Base Wash for deodorizing and restoring the wicking and breathability of your base layers, and spray-on waterproofing agents. I may try some of these other products in the future, but for now, I’m quite pleased with TX Direct and Tech Wash.

Please read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.


  1. Tom

    I’ve been using both of these products for years on waterproof, water repellent and gore-text jackets. They really extend the life of the garment. The wash-in repellent is somewhat harder to find than the Nikwax spray-on type.

  2. 2whls3spds

    Nikwax is good stuff. I extended the life of my 30 year old Eureka tent by a few years using the TX Direct…at least long enough to safe up the scratch to buy a new one. LOL


  3. dman

    Do they have products that will make things waterproof? Like my camelbak? Anyone have experience with it?

  4. db

    Nikwax has a very solid reputation in the backpacking community. Not only are their products well thought of, but they make the effort to be environmentally friendly.

    For complete waterproofing, I’ve used the Aqueous Wax product with good results.

  5. Elizabeth

    Anyone got any experience with Granger waterproofing products that claim to do the same thing?

    I’m curious.

  6. Cathy

    Granger’s has a one-step wash and waterproofer that you only have to run thru the one cycle of the washing machine.

  7. Elizabeth

    @Cathy Thanks… I already purchased this a while back and have yet to use it. I like the idea of the one-step process tho.

  8. CommuterGear

    Nikwax works pretty good, I have recently gone to waterproof paniers… so no more covers me! I may try some repellant on the outside so it may act like rainex, and may be easier to wipe off.

  9. Pingback: Review: Loeka's Waterproof Shell Jacket | Bike Commuters

  10. Nicholas

    I’d stay away from 2 in one products just like I don’t mix my shampoo and conditioner for my hair. Wash with Tide original in warm water or at least not a concentrate detergent then treat with a DWR spray then dry at medium heat. The heat fom the dryer will active the DRW much better then letting it air dry for 24 hours or so. You will be surprised how well this works. As good as new.

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