Nikwax Spray On vs Wash In – What’s The Difference & What’s Better

If you spend hours outdoors, having waterproof fabric is highly essential. Waterproof fabric keeps out the worst of rain, sleet, and splashes and can make your time spent in harsh weather conditions more bearable.

Nikwax is one of the best waterproofing products on the market. It is an excellent choice to make your clothing completely water-resistant.

The spray-on and wash-in products are both great options. The former is used for spot treatments, while the latter will cover your entire clothing in a waterproof coating.

Depending on the situation, one might be more suitable for you than the other.

Nikwax Spray-On

Although this waterproofing formula will not coat every inch of your clothing, it is a great product to have when you’re in a pinch.

Spray-On is an easy-to-use, safe, high-performance formula for waterproofing wet weather clothing.

Nothing will do the job better when you’re out in wet conditions. Spraying the formula on any spot of your clothing where there’s potential for water seepage will render your clothing waterproof.

This formula is the best choice for treating specific spots.

Nikwax Wash-In

Nikwax wash-in is a wash impregnation that restores and improves water resistance in waterproof and breathable clothing.

While using your washing machine, you can get better results for your waterproof clothing by submerging your clothes in this proprietary formula.

Wash-in increases water repellency in your clothes and improves the breathability of your outerwear.

It’s an excellent product for your clothes when you’re planning to go somewhere in wet weather conditions.

It provides the whole garment with durable waterproofing, although it takes a little while to dry completely. It’s vital to ensure it’s given enough time to set, or it won’t work effectively.

Nikwax Wash-In

Nikwax Spray-On

Offers complete protection

Great for spot treatments

It is long lasting

It is fast acting

Easy to use

Simple to use

How to Use Nikwax Wash-In

The bottle’s label features step-by-step directions. However, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide as well.

  • Put two articles of clothing in your washing machine. Ensure no other clothing is in there with them.
  • Pour 100 ml of Nikwax wash-in formula into the washing machine.
  • Using a slow spin cycle, turn on the washing machine.

The entire process is easy, and the formula offers complete protection. However, you must ensure you’ve cleared any detergent buildup before you begin.

You don’t want the detergent to wash out the product before it has a chance to set.

How to Use Nikwax Spray-On

The label will have directions, so remember to check it when you’re about to use the formula. We’ll walk you through the steps, too.

  • Spread your clothes on a flat surface. Ensure nothing is on top of them.
  • Hold your spray bottle 6 inches away from your clothing.
  • Apply evenly to your clothing and let it dry for about 2 minutes.
  • Once it’s dry, use a dry cloth to wipe off any excess liquid on the surface.

Differences Between Nikwax Spray-On and Wash-In

Nikwax Spray-On and Wash-In are both great for waterproofing your clothes.

However, there are some key differences in the ease of application and what type of garment they suit.

Nikwax Spray-On is used on clothing items with a separate wicking lining, as you can treat the outer layer of the fabric without affecting the wicking lining.

The spray-on formula also goes on quickly and dries fast.

On the other hand, the Nikwax Wash-In formula is used for single-layer waterproof fabrics with no separate lining.

Using wash-in treatments is quite easy, as you can incorporate them into your normal wash cycle. It takes longer to dry but offers a more even layer of protection.

Nikwax Wash-In Review

Nikwax Wash-In formula restores water repellency and revives and improves the breathability of waterproof garments.

It can be used for all waterproof outerwear, such as rain jackets, ski gear, and synthetic sleeping bags. It is also easy to use and has no negative effects on the washing machine.

The formula is water-based, non-persistent, and contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as this article by the United States Environmental Protection Agency explains how harmful they can be.

The formula also doesn’t contain perfluorochemicals (PFCs), added scents, or optical brighteners.

It is recommended for technical clothing, rain and ski jackets, synthetic sleeping bags, Patagonia, Gore-Tex, Columbia, North Face, and Arc’teryx.

Nikwax Spray-On Review

The ability of Nikwax Spray-On to add Durable Water Repellency and revive breathability while maintaining the wicking lining of a garment makes it an excellent choice for wet weather clothing.

It is a safe product for waterproof clothing with wicking lining or those that can’t be machine washed.

Nikwax Spray-On is water-based, non-flammable, contains no VOCs, and is free of PFCs.

It is recommended for technical clothing, synthetic sleeping bags, rain and ski jackets, Gore-Tex, Patagonia, North face, Columbia, and Arc’teryx.

Other Great Nikwax Products

Nikwax Tech Wash

It is a highly effective cleaner that safely cleans technical synthetic clothing without damaging Durable Water Repellency (DWR) as ordinary detergents would.

Using this product before some Nikwax products, such as Wash-In, Cotton Proof, and Softshell Proof, enhances the performance of these waterproofing treatments.

Nikwax Tech Wash has an easy wash-in application and is machine wash-safe. It is a great choice for people whose waterproof clothing has been compromised by dirt.

Score: 92/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:


Nikwax Cotton Proof

Nikwax Cotton Proof is designed and optimized for breathable cotton, poly cotton, and canvas materials.

It improves water repellency, maintains fabric breathability, prolongs gear life, and optimizes performance in wet weather. It is ideal for people who have Carhartt workwear, canvas covers, and denim.

Score: 94/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:


Nikwax Polar Proof

Nikwax Polar Proof is a machine-applied waterproofing treatment that adds water repellency to garments while maintaining breathability.

Your polar fleece clothing may no longer be water-repellant because it is dirty. We recommend Polar Proof for people who wear fleece garments.

It will improve DWR in your fleece garments and optimize performance in wet weather.

Score: 91/100

Check Out More Reviews Here:


Other Nikwax products include:

  • Nikwax Softshell Proof, Score: 92/100
  • Nikwax Hardshell Cleaning, Score: 94/100
  • Nikwax Wool Wash, Score: 90/100
  • Nikwax Base Wash, Score: 90/100
  • Nikwax Tent and Gear Cleaning, Score: 91/100
  • Nikwax Rug Wash, Score: 93/100

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between Nikwax Tech Wash and Nikwax TX Direct Wash-In?

Nikwax Tech Wash is designed to clean and revitalize waterproof fabrics, while Nikwax TX Direct Wash-In restores their Durable Water Repellency (DWR) finish.

Q: Can you use Nikwax Tech Wash and TX Direct Wash-In together?

You can use Nikwax Tech Wash and Wash-In together to improve a fabric’s water repellency. This video shows how you can use both products for proper waterproofing treatments.

Q: Do I need Nikwax Tech Wash?

You need Nikwax Tech Wash for your waterproof clothing soaking up water. The DRW may be compromised by dirt, and using Nikwax Tech Wash will safely clean all dirt.

Q: How long does Nikwax TX Direct last?

Clothing treated with Nikwax TX Direct after being washed with Tech Wash will withstand 4 to 6 washes using Tech Wash. We recommend washing and reproofing your gear at least once a year.

Q: What can I use instead of Tech Wash?

If you don’t have Tech Wash on hand, you may use a mild detergent as a substitute. However, avoid using traditional laundry detergents.

Q: How often should I wash my Gore-Tex jacket?

You should clean your Gore-Tex jacket every month. Keeping it clean is one of the best ways to maintain the jacket’s waterproof qualities.


Nikwax Wash-In and Spray-On formulas are excellent waterproofing treatments for your clothing.

Wash-In provides a more even layer of protection, while Spray-On is great for specific spot treatments. Either product would be an excellent choice depending on your needs.

Other Nikwax products, such as Polar Proof and Wool Wash, are designed for specific fabrics. Regardless of the products you’re using, it is essential to prewash your clothing using Nikwax Tech Wash.

It’s not necessary to purchase every Nikwax product at once. You may pick the products in ones or twos and slowly go down the list. We are sure you won’t regret it.