How To Re-Apply DWR
The Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish on technical apparel like our MTN Shorts beads water, keeps fabrics from feeling clammy, and helps fabrics dry faster.
DWR wears out over time and needs to be re-activated with heat or reapplied with a spray. Mountain bike shorts take a beating from dirt and saddle abrasion, so the DWR needs to be of higher quality and it needs to be refreshed more often than on ski gear.
How to Re-Apply DWR
We recommend Revive-X from Gear Aid. It's the same C6 DWR that we use at the factory. We do not recommend wax-based DWR such as Nikwax, it doesn't last very long, especially on MTB shorts.
Whatever brand you use, please use spray-on. Wash-in DWR is wasteful as most of it goes down the drain.
These instructions are for Abit Gear outerwear, but apply for most technical fabrics.
Step 1: Test. Spray a little water on the seat area of your shorts. If it beads up nicely, you're good to go. If it doesn't bead up, then you need to reapply.
Step 2: Wash. If you have a detergent designed for technical apparel, follow the directions, and wash on warm cycle.
If you just have normal laundry detergent, you can still make it work. Wash on warm, in the normal manner. Then put your clothes back in the washer for another quick-wash cycle on warm, but WITHOUT detergent. Normal detergent tends to leave a residue, and you need to get this all out.
Step 3: Treat. Hang your clothes, and spray on the DWR treatment. They'll drip a bit, so have a tarp or piece of cardboard under them. Your shorts can either be damp or dry if using Revive-X. We prefer dry as it's easier to see where they need DWR applied. If the spray beads up, not much is needed. In areas where the spray wets out the fabric (likely the seat area), it needs a full coating.
Wait 5 minutes for the treatment to soak in, then reapply in the high wear areas where it didn't bead up nicely. Wait at least 5 more minutes for good absorption.
Step 4: Dry. Revive-X can be air dried for 48 hours or put in the dryer on medium cycle to set it. We prefer using a dryer.
Step 5: Ride hard! Freshened DWR will repel splashes and help your shorts dry faster.
Notes on Washing and Fabric Care
Our care instructions recommend machine washing cold and tumble drying low, or hang drying. This is due to the fact that all stretch materials break down and lose their recovery when exposed to excessive heat.
You can wash on warm from time to time for a deep clean with no damage to the fabric. Drying on medium or higher is what really beats up technical fabrics. That said, you can throw your shorts, pants and jackets in the dryer on medium a couple times a year to re-activate the DWR finish if it's still beading up a little bit but needs a bump.
Don't use bleach, and never, ever, under any circumstances use fabric softener or dryer sheets. It'll make you stink and ruins the performance of your technical apparel.
Types of DWR and Sustainability
We use the most durable and longest lasting commercially available C6 fluorocarbon-based DWR. Mountain bike shorts get absolutely hammered, so this is the only option effective for our application.
C8 DWR lasted longer, but was pulled from the market since the long-chain flourocarbons in C8 persist longer in the environment and are toxic. C6 is certainly no environmental panacea, but it's not as bad. We'll switch to another option as soon as something suitable comes on the market, but right now all the available non-flourocarbon options are pretty weak.
Our sustainability philosophy revolves around making durable, long-lasting gear that you'll ride into the ground. Buy less stuff and use it harder.
Our mill is bluesign approved which ensures they're properly handling waste material such as dye and DWR leftovers.