I’ve been sent a couple of new products to try: Tesco Expert outdoor clothing wash 500ml, and Tesco Expert outdoor clothing waterproofer 500ml, and here’s my review after the usual ‘test it to destruction’ phase.
If, like me, you’re a regular user of waterproof clothing then you’ll know it’s often quite expensive to buy, especially if you want something that’s reliable and long lasting. Additionally, the upkeep and care of these garments can be pricey: careless washing can remove the waterproofing and the branded products required to reinforce the water resistance are not cheap.
Step forward the two new outdoor clothing products that are exclusive to Tesco. Do they work? Are they as good as the branded products?
Testing the Expert wash
First up, I tried the Tesco Expert outdoor clothing wash, priced £3.00 per bottle, on my ancient old gardening waterproofs. This was partly to generally clean them without damaging what’s left of their original waterproofing, and partly to prepare them for re-proofing. You need a fair amount of the product – six 40ml capfuls if you live in a hard water area – for a machine load of washing, and each wash can take three garments.
According to the packet, this is a gentle, soap-based wash that’s suitable for washing all waterproof garments, including Gore-tex. It’s very lightly fragranced, and can be dabbed onto heavily soiled areas before washing if extra cleaning is required.
As regular detergent can strip clothes of their waterproofing, it’s best to wash out the detergent drawer of your washing machine before using this product, so no traces of it can contaminate the soap-based Expert Wash. They also recommend tumble-drying the garment on half-heat after washing. The product’s also suitable for doing hand washing with.
My experience was that it did a good job of cleaning the old clothes. As you can’t see most waterproofing, I can’t vouch for whether it washed them without stripping the existing waterproofing or not, but things didn’t come out looking like they’d been harshly treated. Treating your waterproofs gently should mean that you don’t need to re-waterproof them too often. There was no overpowering fragrance either, which was a bonus.
Testing the Expert waterproofer
To treat your clothing you have to spray your garment evenly from a distance of 10-15 cm until the garment is thoroughly soaked, leave it to soak in for three minutes, then wipe off any excess liquid with a damp cloth to ensure even coverage. Also, you need to remember to wear gloves and use in a well-ventilated area.
I found it easy to spray on, but it’s not a doddle to get proper coverage and there’s a knack to it. The best way seems to be to do it in three stages. First, lie the garment flat on a surface such as a counter top or draining board, spray evenly, wait, then wipe around the waterproofing with a lint-free cloth. Then turn it over and repeat the process on the other side. Finally, put it on a hanger and do touch-ups around the neck and shoulder seams – crucial to waterproofing performance but easily missed during the basic spraying process.
The fluid itself is a very pale bluey-white colour and if you don’t apply it carefully it can become streaky. Not a good look on dark coloured garments. It’s also important to use a cloth that doesn’t shed fibres as they can become caught on the surface of the clothing.
The manufacturers then recommend tumble drying at half heat to activate the product. Like many people I don’t own a tumble dryer, but it can successfully be activated by drying over a radiator or ironing on a low heat (best to put an old tea towel between the garment and the base of the iron).
Did it work? Yes, it did. After treatment, the surface of my gardening clothes repelled water more efficiently. A fine mist and a sprinkle of water both ‘beaded’ in droplets instead of soaking into the fabric, which is what I was hoping to see. There’s a slightly stronger fragrance than the wash has, but it’s not overpowering and is a generic clean laundry sort of smell.
One bottle of this proofer is suitable for waterproofing three average-sized garments. It’s currently priced at £4.50 at Tesco, which works out about half the price of similar branded products. Having used the more expensive versions in the past, I can say that it works in exactly the same way so it represents value for money.
Do you have waterproof clothing that you want or need to keep in good condition? Have you tried either of these new Tesco Expert products for waterproof clothing?