Many of us here in wet wet Singapore own a Raincoat, Bike Cover, Riding Jacket, pants, etc...
Many of us noticed that after a few months, no matter how expensive our gear are. No matter how waterproof the manufacturer claims are, it will finally leak, tear and get dirty.
I decided to write a guide on how to properly maintain your gear to extend the life of it. Whether its a $25 bike cover from Ah Boy, SAF Goretex raincoat, RS Taichi Raincoat, boots etc...
This guide is from my own experience with products availabe in Singapore, most of the product can last me a year or more if used sparingly. I'll start from bottom up. Where to get all the products stated here will be stated at the bottom of the thread. Refer to the links of the manufacturer website on proper usage.
Proper cleaning extends the life of your waterproof leather or fabric footwear. Most of us either totally don't clean or clean them wrongly.
Never wash leather! Meaning don't soak them it water, it will damage leather. Don't wash with detergent/soap, unless it is meant for delicate fabric. Detergent/soap based product will dry out the leather and/or damage the waterproof material eg, Goretex.
Product i recommend for cleaning footwear:
When using the Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel, be gentle cos the blue part of the sponge on the applicator comes off easily. But if it comes of just use the white part to spread then use soft brush to brush it in.
After cleaning it's best to re-waterproof your footwear. For leather you must recondition the leather. It not it starts drying out and cracking, causing water to seep in. Never ever dry leather under the sun. If your leather gear gets wet, dry them in the shade, can use a fan to blow on it but never put excess heat it wil damage your leather. For leather gloves, wear it on your hand and use a dry towel to gently squeeze out excess water. Then lay it on a dry towel to air dry.
Products i recommed for maintenance/waterproofing:
- Nikwax Conditioner for Leather - $12.50
- 303 Product High Tech Fabric Guard - $25
- Nikwax Fabric & Leather Proof - $12.50
- Nikwax Aqueous Wax - $14.50 (For Black Leather)
When using 303 Product, make sure you do it outdoors! Best is do it on a sunny day. Spray on evenly all over then dry it under the Hot sun. Once dry just hang it in the shade. Make sure if your jacket has Vinyl part, cover it with masking tape.
Sooner or later your footwear will tear or soles will come loose. I use ShoeGoo for any of my footwear repairs. For sole that wear unevenly, i coat the sole with a few layers of Shoe Goo and let it dry overnight. Small holes can also be covered up with Shoe Goo, soles coming apart also use SHoe Goo..
Tip on using Shoe Goo:
To spread Shoe Goo evenly use Ice.. Yes ice! It's alot easier to spread with ice, squeeze a some SHoe Goo on your sole/hole, take a piece of ice and spread the Shoe Goo thinly. You can also use a wet ice cream stick, as long as it's wet shoe goo won't stick to it. This stuff really sticky. Don't use ice if you using Shoe Goo to join two surface together, just use a plastic spoon or something.
After you done using clean the tip of the tube, then put a thin layer of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly or grease around the mouth of tube and tighly close the cap. The Vaseline is to prevent the cap from sticking, if it sticks it's almost impossible to open the cap.
Alternative to Shoe Goo is Amazing Goop, same manufacturer but for different applications. I use Amazing Goop Sports and Outdoors if i can't find She Goo.
Most leaks on footwear will occur at the seams. You can use Seam Sealer to stop leaks. Another place where leaks often occur is between the soles and shoe. You can also use Seam Sealer or Shoe Goo to seal thoese areas. Sometimes leaks occur from worn soles, for this use Shoe Goo to patch the sole. If shoes are too worn out, best replace it.
Leather or Fabric Raingear/Jackets/Pants
When you first purchase your Raingear take a look at the seams, seams is where they stitch the material together. Most of the seams are sealed from inside cos it looks better.
Example pic of sealed seam on inside:
What i normally do it Seam seal the outside of the seam for extra waterproofing. For that i use McNett range of seam sealer.
Products i recommend to seal seams:
- Seam Grip® Seam Sealer & Outdoor Repair - I forgot the price
- Seam Sure™ Water Based Seam Sealer - $14 One bottle enough for my rain pants, bike cover and raincoat
After sealing the seams, normally i spray 303 Product High Tech Fabric Guard. It works on any material accept Vinyl. I spray 303 to enhance the waterproof and stain repellent. You guys know how hard it is to remove road grime from light colored riding gear. So 303 Product High Tech Fabric Guard prevents the road dirt from sticking.
I prefer using Seam Sure™ Water Based Seam Sealer, it water based easier to handle. It's odourless and flexible. It cures faster 2hrs, but fully cures about the same. It's more value for money cos one bottle enough to seal all my gear. After using Seam Sure immediately wash the tip, unscrew tip from bottle, wash with soap and water. Some of it will get stuck on the applicator brush tip, use an old toothbrush and brush it all out. Check that the holes are clear also before storing. If you don't do this, the brush will become very stiff, once stiff you have to use thinner to loosen.
For Washing/Cleaning non leather riding gear. It all depends if i can machine wash it or not. If not sure just hand wash, most of the time i just hand wash. Even using delicate wash on my washing machine it puts alot of strain on the seams. Sometimes the metal zippers and buttons might cause wear on other fabrics.
If you really prefer machine wash, set it to cold wash. Try put a big towel together with the jacket/pants to reduce wear from rubbing against impeller/drum. Make sure all the zips/buttons/velcro are all fasten before you put it into the washing machine. Do not spin dry.
Products i use for washing/cleaning:
- Nikwax Tech Wash- Forgot the price think about $25
- 303 Fabric and Vinyl Cleaner - $25
- Nikwax Leather Cleaner - $19 For leather gear
- ReviveX® Synthetic Fabric Cleaner - Never buy before
- Lion Floral Essence Delicate Laundry Detergent - $9.50 Cheapest safest alternative for light cleaning and odour removal. My mum use this to wash silk. Buy the anti bacterial version white bottle.
Always remember to let your gear dry before you store it. It not only prevent odour but make the materials last longer. After riding in the rain, just rinse the gear in water and hang it to air dry. Don't need wash you gear too often, once every few months is ok. I usually wash, re-waterproof my gear before rainy season comes.
Products i recommed for maintenance/waterproofing:
- 303 High Tech Fabric Guard - $25
- Nikwax TX.Direct Spray On - Forgot exact price
- ReviveX® Air Dry Waterproofing Spray - Never buy before
I don't recommed the wash-in waterproofing for biking gear, especially bretheable gear.
Always wash/clean before you treat your gear. I mostly use 303 High Tech Fabric Guard on my gear and wash them with Nikwax Tech Wash. Waterproofing dirty gear is just a waste of money because the chemical will not stay. After treating the gear always test it. For me i wear my raincoat and pants in the bathroom sit on the toilet bowl and spray shower to ensure there are no leaks. 303 High Tech Fabric Guard actually outperforms ReviveX and Nikwax waterproofing.
Riding Gloves Leather/Fabric
Depending on material can be cleaned with all of the products stated above. I recommend Lexol for leather and Nikwax Leather Cleaner. Can even use Footwear Cleaning Gel. If you really must wash you leather glove, i recommend soaking it briefly in Lion Floral Essence Delicate Laundry Detergent Antibacterial. Use a soft sponge to wash the outside use your hands to wash the inside. Normally i put my hands into the gloves several times when it soaking. Then rinse.
The important part for Leather gloves is how u dry it. Wear the gloves on your hands, with a towel squeeze your gloves gently let the water run out. Take off the gloves, and try maintain the shape of your hands. let it rest on the towel and air dry. When the gloves are nearly dry, meaning slightly damp. Recondition the leather with Nikwax Conditioner for Leather. If the leather already clean and dry you can use 303 High Tech Fabric Guard, make sure your leather gloves not Vinyl Coated. Another product you can use is Nikwax Glove Proof
I use most of the above products on my bike gear and non bike gear. Seam sealing your bike cover when u first buy is also a very good idea. Cleaning the bike cover once a year and spraying 303 High Tech Fabric Guard on it also makes the bike cover last longer. My cheapo $25 bike cover from Ah Boy lasted me 3years with no leaks. Patching the holes and tears immeadiately when i notice them. I only just changed bike cover due to too many patch here and there, caused by cats jumping on my bike cover to scratch it.
When to clean your gear? When its dirty or when it starts holding water. Meaning when water soaks up too easily when it rains. Dirt on ger will prevent the water repellent to work properly, it also reduces the breathability of the material, causing you to feel stuffy and sweaty when wearing them.
Even my army boots and bags are treated the same way, hate it when get called up for reservist and go out field and end up with wet gear and feet.
Proper maintenace and care makes your gear last longer.
Where to buy the products:
133, New Bridge Road,
#02-03A, Chinatown Point
Tel: (+65) 6535 0232
Fax: (+65) 6535 0678
Accepts NETS, Credit Card and Cash
Advance Canvas Industries Pte Ltd:
35 Kallang Place, Singapore 339163
Tel: (65) 6294 5192
Fax: (65) 6291 9392
Only accept Cash! Remember to take off your shoe before you enter the office on 2nd floor! Oh yah, they have small spray bottle sample size for sale. If you not sure or want to try other products 303 have can buy that. I'm going to try 303 Aerospace cleaner next, see how good it is degreasing the bike.
McNett (ReViVex & Seam Seal)
WILDROSES, SIGG & BRIKO
238 Thomson Road
Tel: 65 6250 0583
Opening Hours, 7 days a week
11:00 to 20:00
Accepts NETS, Credit Cards, Cash.
ProMedUSA Pte Ltd
Tel 65 6836-9665
Fax 65 6836-6887
371 Beach Road
#03-32B Keypoint Bldg
I only ordered online with them, so i dunno what they accept at their office. They ship very fast by FedEx, $3 shipping same day delivery. I think should be able to get a other car accessories shop.
Amazing Goop & Shoe Goo
Refer to their website for stores near you: http://www.home-fix.com/
Refer to their website for stores near you: http://www.selffix.com/
LION ESSENCE DELICATE LAUNDRY DETERGENT
Can purchase from most supermarkets, eg NTUC, Shop & Save, etc...
303 High Tech Fabric Guard Video
McNett Seam Sealing using the Seam Grip:
McNett Hole repair video:
Shoe Goo video:
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