DWR's and cotton.

8:20 p.m. on April 13, 2010 (EDT)
1,663 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts

Hey all,

I have a question.

Has anyone tried using a DWR on a cotton garment?

More specifically, I have one of those ball caps with LED lights mounted in the brim. Mine is a 'Panther Vision', I love it around the house & yard, but it would be great it it had some ability to repel water. I've also thought about using other spray on water repellents. It would be great to be able to wear it on day hikes or over nighters.

Or does anyone make a similar product with a synthetic material.

Just curious.


Edit: One brand of DWR claims their product is effective on all types of fabric, but I'm sure there would be varying degrees of effectiveness.

1:38 p.m. on April 19, 2010 (EDT)
4,419 reviewer rep
6,010 forum posts

Back in the Good Old Days, when there were no synthetic fabrics, coated fabrics, etc., people used cotton tents. Turns out with certain weaves, cotton and some other materials will swell up and provide a seal. However, touch the inside surface, and the water will pour through at that spot. Then there is "waxed cotton" and "oiled cotton" (the latter is used even today to make those "drover's coats" that you see in Westerns and Aussies use in the Outback).

Yes, there is waterproofing for cotton. When I was a kid, one thing we did just before the rainy season every year was to recoat the tents, which were made of a cotton canvas.It has a bit of a smell to it.

More to your question, DWR treatments are made for renewal of the manufacturers' waterproof/breathable products. They do not do a very good job of providing a "from scratch" waterproofing. The waterproofing intended for cotton canvas seals the fabric, and as a result cuts off the breathability, as well as the little wicking that cotton does anyway. Plus the material tends to have a bit of a "sticky" feel.

As for your cap, I have had wp/b hats and have found that they are really sweaty.

But, why don't you try it and report back how it works for you.

3:49 p.m. on April 19, 2010 (EDT)
1,663 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts

Yes Bill, I'm gonna try it just for the experience I'll gain, haha.

The outcome will probably be that it is easier and cheaper to buy something made specifically for my needs.

I think I'll try a 'spray on' repellent that I have sitting around on half the cap, then mist the cap with water from the hose. I'll take photos!

Thanks for your input.

June 25, 2018
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