Let's face it, ski jackets and pants can get grim pretty quickly, the alternating demands of cold uplifts and high intensity descents back down to resort inevitably lead to sweating. Add off-piste hiking and ski touring into the mix and you've got a recipe for some seriously funky smelling garments.
You can, of course, just wash your ski gear like you would any other clothing, but you'll soon find that your expensive ski jacket no longer sheds water, because you've washed the water repellent finish (DWR) from the face material and coated it with water attractive residues from your normal household detergent. Why does this matter? Well, if you've washed out the DWR or it's degraded through wear and the detergent you've used is attracting water then the face material can 'wet-out', which in simple terms means it gets wet! If this happens, sweat vapour from inside can no longer pass through the garment and you'll start to get wet from the inside out. Another big no-no is using fabric conditioner which blocks the pores in the face material and has a similar effect on breathability to a jacket 'wetting-out'.
Nikwax's Tech Wash and TX Direct are designed to avoid these common pitfalls by restoring your technical clothing's performance characteristics. Tech Wash can be used to clean, revitalise breathability, and restore water repellency. From experience, this works ok on its own but water repellency isn't fully restored and the jacket can wet out in wear areas, backpack shoulder straps for instance. For complete protection, you should follow Tech Wash with TX Direct wash-in or spray-on. We've used this two-step process to return old ski jackets and pants to more-or-less original levels of protection and breathability.
You'd have thought that all this might come at an environmental price, but Tech Wash and TX direct don't use harmful PFC's and are water based so are biodegradable and therefore friendlier to the environment than most standard household detergents.
300ml pots of Tech Wash and TX Direct are often bundled together for around a tenner, this will give you enough liquid for about three washes of two items per wash, not as cheap as standard laundry detergent by any means but your expensive ski gear probably deserves it.