Nikwax Down Wash vs Tech Wash

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 Aled Williams 14 Jan 2021

Can someone tell me the difference between Nikwax "Down Wash" and "Tech Wash" ? 

Im going to attempt to wash a stinky down jacket, it seems simple enough reading online. However manufacturers recommend using down washes from various brands as detergents can leave residues from additives, a similar message to when washing a waterproof jacket.

Ive always believed Tech Wash was just pure soap with no fragrances and additives that would damage a waterproof jacket and from what I can find online I can see no difference between tech wash and down wash.

Anyone have any experience with this ?

Is my jacket doomed if I use tech wash, or will it come out smelling of roses ?



 Andypeak 14 Jan 2021
In reply to Aled Williams:

Personal opinion is that it is the same product and they just use clever marketing to try and sell more products. I have no actual evidence of this though so don't blame me if it ruins your jacket. 

 Basemetal 14 Jan 2021
In reply to Aled Williams:

Johnson's Baby Shampoo or Lux Flakes used to be the pure soap of choice. Thorough gentle rinsing should keep you out of bother whatever you use. I've hand washed sleeping bags and down jackets in the bath for decades with no Ill effects. Just support the wet item carefully to protect the baffles

 Glyno 14 Jan 2021
 Frank R. 14 Jan 2021
In reply to Andypeak:

It's pretty easy to tell if they are the same or not (they aren't). Thanks to the EU, you can look up their ingredients right on Nikwax websites (EU and UK ones, not the US one, obviously!) or the EU databases for cosmetics.

Tech Wash: Aqua, Sodium Cocoate, Lauryl Glucoside, Sodium Oleate, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, 2-Ethylhexyl Glucoside, Sodium Carbonate, Tetrasodium Iminodisuccinate, Dispersion Based On Polyacrylates, Sodium Cumenesulfonate, Acrylate Homopolymer

Down Wash Direct: Aqua, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Sodium Cocoate, Lauryl Glucoside, Dimethiconol, Sodium Oleate, 2-Ethylhexyl Glucoside, Sodium Carbonate, Disodium Succinate, Tetrasodium Iminodisuccinate, Sodium Cumenesulfonate, Sodium Hydroxide, Zirconium Acetate, Acrylate Homopolymer, Sodium Acetate

I am no chemist, but it seems most of these are just various soaps/surfactants. The very few polymers seem to be suspending agents, to prevent dirt clumping together or settling out of the washing water?

The main difference seems to be Zirconium Acetate and few helper ingredients in Down Wash Direct, as Z.A. is used in some water repellency formulas. I guess Down Wash Direct adds some DWR to the down or fabric, while Tech Wash just cleans (kind of corroborated by their product description).

TL;DR: Tech Wash is just cleaner, Down Wash Direct adds water repellency. I'd think Down Wash Direct might work better on down (DWR), but either could work the same for cleaning only.

 Frank R. 14 Jan 2021
In reply to Basemetal:

I wouldn't call any baby shampoo "pure soap" at all, to the contrary! Most "pure soap" would be pretty harsh for baby skin. Usually there are plenty of fragrances and other stuff. And with much of these flakes, you can't be really sure there aren't any softeners or perfumes (most of these commercial flakes contain perfumes, perhaps even softeners, who knows, unless you can look up the detailed ingredients). I don't want any fragrances or oils or softeners on my DWR fabrics, even less a membrane fabric. Just because something is called "pure soap" in the marketing materials doesn't mean it's really good for more technical fabrics. Even if it was and didn't contain any perfumes or additives, it might be worse for the DWR or WPB just because the soap might just be too hard to wash out. And surfactants that don't easily wash out are directly detrimental to function of treated or membrane fabrics which require the opposite what they do (hydrophobic vs. hydrophilic).

Post edited at 21:15
 Aled Williams 14 Jan 2021
In reply to Frank R.:

Very thorough, thank you ! and thanks to everyone else who responded !

Looks like there will be no harm done by using Tech wash and as i have a bottle on hand i'll use that.

 BrendanO 14 Jan 2021
In reply to Frank R.:

As an aside, you can still buy pure soap flakes.

However, last time I bought them, they were bizarrely in liquid form. Bottle of liquid soap flakes, Waitrose, about £4. Use as rope harness sling...and delicate clothes wash.

 Frank R. 14 Jan 2021
In reply to Aled Williams:

I don't see any harm in that but of course, but if your expensive down bag disintegrates at once, don't blame me

Post edited at 22:10
 CurlyStevo 15 Jan 2021
In reply to Aled Williams:

Just use pure soap liquid, much cheaper and available in many super markets.

 CurlyStevo 15 Jan 2021
In reply to Frank 

You are over thinking this, the dri pak liquid soap available in many super markets is ideal for washing tech gear and or down.

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