Waterproofing a jacket: How to refresh the waterproofing of your functional clothing

Vater mit zwei Kindern in roten Regenjacken auf Straße im Regen

You've probably heard that there's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing. To ensure you're always optimally protected from the rain, we'll show you how to properly waterproof your rain jacket.

Why should you waterproof rain jackets?

Functional clothing is designed to protect you from rain. It is water-repellent and breathable at the same time. However, this protection can decrease over time . This can happen through frequent washing or through deposits of dirt and sweat , which can impair breathability. If the protection is no longer active , it is time for a refresh . But how do you know when activation is necessary?

When should I waterproof my rain jacket?

After about three to four washes, the waterproofing of your functional jacket should be reactivated . To check the condition of the waterproofing, simply hold the garment under a jet of water. If the water runs off and the jacket stays dry, no waterproofing is necessary. You should only waterproof your garment when the water starts to seep in.

What is the best method for waterproofing my rain jacket?

Water-repellent jackets such as rain jackets, softshell jackets, ski jackets or down jackets are indispensable companions for outdoor activities and in the wet season. But even high-performance items of clothing need care to maintain their water-repellent and breathable properties . Even if textiles of this type have already been treated with a waterproofing by the manufacturer, this wears off over time and needs to be refreshed occasionally. You can find out what options you have for this and how to implement them in the following instructions.

Impregnation with impregnation spray: step-by-step instructions

  • Step 1: Before you waterproof your jacket, it must be completely clean. That's why you should wash it first.
  • Step 2: Spread out your garment completely. Ideally, use a well-ventilated area for this. Depending on the manufacturer's instructions, the jacket should either be dry or slightly damp.
  • Step 3: Spray the waterproofing spray evenly over the entire jacket, including the hood. Allow the product to work for a few minutes.
  • Step 4: Hang the jacket on a hanger to dry in the fresh air. To avoid stains, you can wipe off excess spray with a cloth.

Emma Grün Tip: Some waterproofing agents need to be activated with heat. Follow the manufacturer's instructions. You can dry the jacket in the dryer on a gentle cycle, iron it with an iron at a low temperature or treat it with a hairdryer from a distance of several centimeters. The textile waterproofing spray from Emma Grün works without heat activation , which has the advantage that the material retains its breathability .

Impregnation in the washing machine: step-by-step instructions

  • Preparation: Check the care label of your jacket and add the appropriate waterproofing product to the compartment of your washing machine.
  • Washing: Put the jacket in the washing machine and wash it at 30 degrees Celsius on a gentle cycle.
  • Heat treatment: To activate the waterproofing, the jacket is then dried in the tumble dryer. An optimal alternative is to activate it using an iron or hair dryer.

Emma Grün Tip: When activating with heat, always make sure that the iron is not too hot and that it does not come into contact with the garment. Simply place a cloth between the jacket and the iron. This will prevent your favorite item from being damaged.

Waterproofing spray for jackets: which one is right?

There are a few factors to consider when purchasing a textile waterproofing spray. Here are some of the most important aspects:

  • Material compatibility: Make sure that the waterproofing spray is suitable for the material of your jacket. Some sprays, such as the waterproofing spray from Emma Grün, are versatile and also work without heat activation. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to check the material compatibility.
  • Environmental friendliness: Make sure to choose an environmentally friendly product. Sustainable waterproofing sprays are water-based and free of harmful chemicals such as PFCs ( perfluorocarbons ). Inspired by nature, they mimic a lotus effect, are biodegradable and harmless to humans and the environment.
  • Breathability: A good waterproofing spray should not affect the breathability of the material. This is particularly important for sports and outdoor clothing, which is usually made of breathable materials. This has the advantage that sweat is wicked away to the outside and you don't start to feel cold.
  • Durability of the impregnation: Find out how long the spray will last. Some products have to be applied temporarily and lose their protection relatively quickly, while others are more effective for a longer period of time.

But how do sustainable impregnations work and why are products like these always the better choice?

Waterproofing jackets: effectiveness of sustainable products

Do you also wish that windows, shower enclosures or even textiles would stay clean for longer and that your outdoor clothing would be waterproof at the same time? The solution could be the lotus effect, a technological application that humans have copied from nature. But what exactly is the lotus effect, how does it work and how can it be useful to us in everyday life?

What is the lotus effect?

The lotus effect is the minimal wettability of a surface . This phenomenon is best seen in nature in the leaves of the lotus flower. The leaves of the plant remain spotlessly clean even in muddy waters because water and dirt particles simply roll off . This self-cleaning effect protects the plant from potential pathogens and ensures that optimal photosynthesis can always be carried out.

Large green leaves with water drops rolling off

Image source: Pixabay

At the micro- and nanoscopic level, the surface of the lotus leaves has a special structure of tiny bumps surrounded by air. When water droplets hit the surface, they only touch the tips of the leaf bumps and form spherical droplets that roll easily, taking dirt particles with them and generating a self-cleaning process.

The benefits of the lotus effect are not not only used in natural impregnating agents, but also for coating everyday products , water-repellent textiles , in the automotive industry and for facade coatings . However, you should note that the effect is not permanent and must be renewed over time .

Applications in everyday life

The lotus effect is particularly useful for materials that are constantly exposed to moisture. Sustainable products such as Emma Grün's textile waterproofing spray aim to promote the durability, comfort and longevity of textiles while minimising environmental impact . Many modern waterproofing sprays use technologies that imitate the natural lotus effect. This makes the surface of the fabric water and dirt repellent without the need for harmful chemicals.

You shouldn't miss out on the advantages of using a sustainable impregnation that makes use of the lotus effect:

  • Durability: Impregnation extends the life of the textile as it is better protected against external influences such as water, UV radiation and dirt.
  • Wearing comfort: Since a sustainable impregnation does not stick the material together or limit its breathability, the wearing comfort is maintained. This is particularly important for functional clothing such as outdoor jackets or sportswear.

Child with yellow rain jacket and rubber boots on the beach

Image source: Pixabay

  • Durability: A waterproofed textile needs to be washed less often because it is less susceptible to soiling. The reduced use of water and detergent not only protects the material, but also the environment.
  • Environmental friendliness: Sustainable waterproofing agents use environmentally friendly ingredients and do not contain perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), which are used in many conventional products and are considered harmful to the environment.

The correct use of sustainable waterproofing agents not only increases the lifespan of textiles, but also reduces their ecological footprint.


With the help of a waterproofing treatment, you can refresh the water-repellent function of your jacket. With the help of a sustainable product, you can also extend the lifespan of your functional clothing and protect it from rapid soiling. With sustainable waterproofing sprays, heat activation is usually unnecessary. This guarantees perfect breathability of the material, as the material fibers are not clogged.

FAQ: Questions & Answers

When is a new impregnation necessary?

To check the current effectiveness of the impregnation, you can carry out the tried and tested water test. If the water beads up, the protection is intact. Otherwise, it is time for a new round of impregnation.

Why should I waterproof my jacket?

Waterproofing jackets helps to increase their water and dirt repellency. This keeps outdoor clothing dry and clean for longer. Waterproofing can also increase the durability of the material and improve comfort.

What types of waterproofing agents are there?

There are different types of waterproofing agents, including sprays, detergent additives and even ecological variants. Some manufacturers use nanotechnology to create a lotus effect that repels water and dirt.

Can I waterproof any type of jacket?

Most outdoor and functional jackets can be waterproofed. However, it is advisable to follow the manufacturer's care instructions as some materials may require special treatment methods.

Is the impregnation harmful to the environment?

There are now a number of environmentally friendly waterproofing agents that are free of PFCs and other harmful chemicals. That's why you should look for the relevant seals and certificates when buying and read the small print.


1. Waterproofing a rain jacket – https://www.bergzeit.ch/magazin/regenjacke-impraegnieren-reaktivierung-einwaschen-aufspruehen/

2. Waterproofing a rain jacket – https://www.brigitte.de/amp/leben/wohnen/haushalt/regenjacke-impraegnieren---mit-diesen-tipps-klappts-s--11516214.html

3. Waterproofing your jacket – https://www.jack-wolfskin.ch/jacke-impraegnieren-darum-braucht-funktionskleidung-pflege.html

4. How to waterproof your jacket – https://www.haus.de/leben/jacke-impraegnieren-34993

5. Impregnation – https://www.gore-tex.com/de/blog/impraegnierung-so-gut-wie-neu