Functional clothing impregnation: why it‘s good and how to do it
Just a few months ago, you were pleased that the softshell jacket keeps you dry even in the rain, but now it seems that its functions are failing? Don’t throw the towel in the ring: it’s probably the time to reach for impregnation. If you want your winter or softshell clothes to work properly, take care of it from time to time. It’s worth it.
Why does functional clothing lose its functionality over time?
During movement the human body doesn’t just remove water, but also salts and fats. These substances gradually damage the functional membrane and pollute their ability to withstand adverse weather.
Impregnation by washing machine versus spray
For impregnation, go to the sport or outdoor store. There are two kinds of products: one is to be put into the washing machine, the other is put in a sprayer and it’s sprayed on clothes after washing.
Pouring the impregnation product into the washing machine is simpler and faster, but that’s all regarding the advantages of this method. The product also gets on the inside of the garment during washing where it can have a negative effect on the breathability. So if you don’t want to make a raincoat from your functional softshell jacket, in which you can perspire straight away, then you’re better getting a spray impregnation. A good product will cost around 300 CZK.
Already have impregnation? Great. Let’s start!
Impregnation should be used preventively, usually after every second or third wash. Outdoor equipment, of course, is not washed as often as usual clothing. If you wear it occasionally for weekend tours, you probably put it in your washing machine let’s say 4-7 times a year. Before washing, be sure to check out the manufacturer's label, to know on how many degrees to wash it on and what wash programme to select.
Allow the functional jacket or trousers to dry slightly after washing.
Apply impregnation on clothes as long as the fabric is able to absorb it. Usually, it’s until small puddles begin to form on the surface.
You can also help better absorption by spreading the product with a sponge or cloth.
Finally, fix the impregnation with heat. If you have a tumble dryer, it will be very easy: put the clothes in it for 30 minutes at 60 °C. Another method is fixation with iron. In this case, set it to the lowest possible degree and put a table cloth or thin towel over the clothing, to make sure you don’t scratch the iron with the zips.
What about outdoor shoes?
Don’t forget to also impregnate your outdoor boots, especially in the autumn and winter when they’re very busy. Unlike functional clothing, shoes need to be impregnated before the first wearing. Impregnation prevents the penetration of moisture and dirt into the footwear.
When choosing a product, be aware of what material the shoes are made from. Leather shoes usually need cream or wax, suede shoes, Nubuck shoes and other textile material shoes are usually impregnated with a spray as recommended in the shop.
Shoes should be impregnated roughly once every 2 weeks or whenever their upper part begins to soak-up water.
LOAP tip: Do not impregnate shoes or clothes on tiles, it makes them really slippery. J