How to re-waterproof an old rain jacket – from spray to re-waxing

We may have just recovered from the chaos of Storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin but Britons have been warned to expect a heavy downpour of rain in the coming weeks, so if your old raincoat is allowing water to seep through the seams, it may be time to re-waterproof it.

Now, don’t fret. It’s not as technical as it seems – there are a bunch of cheap and easy ways to give your raincoat some extra protection, from clever waterproof sprays to seam glue – plus, you won’t have to splash out (excuse the pun) on a brand new jacket.

So how does a waterproof jacket work? Essentially, a chemical compound called DWR, or Durable Water Repellent is applied as a coating to the outer fabric of a garment, to ensure that water droplets will bead and roll off the fabric – like rain does on a car windscreen.

You can tell if this coating has worn off, from either at-home washing or general wear and tear, if you begin to notice dark, wet patches on your jacket. This means the rain water is no longer beading and rolling off – instead, it’s soaking through your jacket and will need fixing.

Ready to learn how? To make sure the rain doesn’t (literally) dampen your plans, we’ve rounded up four different ways to re-waterproof your waterproof jacket – as silly as it sounds.

Waterproof spray

The easiest way to re-proof your leaky jacket is to spray it with waterproof spray. To do this, you’ll need to wash your jacket first to remove any old dirt and oils. This will make sure the new coating sticks to the fabric, giving you maximum protection.

Pick up a waterproof spray such as the Nikwax TX Direct Spray-On, £8.75 here, and apply it to your jacket outdoors on the washing line. Or, if you can’t get outside, apply inside but make sure all of the windows are open.

Once applied thoroughly, leave it out to air-dry. This will help the DWR coating fully absorb into the fabric, giving you the highest level of water resistance.

Wash-in solution

Another way of re-proofing your waterproof is to use a wash-in solution like NIKWAX Tx Direct Wash-In Solution,£12.18 here. Instead of spraying the DWR on your jacket, you simply add this into your detergent drawer.

For best results, before washing, make sure all of your jacket’s fastenings: including buttons, zips and velcro components are closed together, turn the jacket inside out and wash on a delicate cycle with warm water. After the wash is complete, ensure any leftover product is removed by wiping with a damp cloth and like with the spray-on solution, leave to air-dry.

Glue the seams

If the above steps don’t work, water may be seeping in through the seams, meaning you might need to reattach them using a glue like Stormsure Flexible Adhesive, £4.99 here.

Instead, If the seam is completely destroyed, you can also do a DIY repair using iron-on seam sealing tape. This one, £10.29 here, is specifically made for three-layer outdoor jackets and is super easy to apply.


If you’ve got a wax jacket that’s allowing water to seep through, did you know that you can re-wax it yourself? All you’ll need is a tub of wax and a little bit of patience.

Firstly, clean your jacket by wiping the exterior with cold water and a sponge. Don’t use hot water or any kind of soap and never put the jacket in your washing machine. This will damage your coat’s wax coating for good and you won’t be able to re-proof it.

Then, take some Barbour Wax Thornproof Dressing, £8.95 here, heat it up in a container of hot water, until it’s soft and clear. It should take around 20 minutes to melt the wax.

Now it’s time to wax your jacket. To do this, simply rub the warm wax into each area of your jacket using a soft cloth whilst paying special attention to seams, creases and dry patches.

To get the best results, dry your jacket with a hairdryer to spread the wax out evenly, giving you a smooth surface. Just don’t do this too closely or your wax will melt further and run.

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