Don't use fabric conditioner?

Why on a lot of my cycling gear does it say 'Don't use fabric conditioner' ?

What effect does this have on lycra/waterproof material etc? Surely the washing powder would do the greater damage?
 

domtyler

Über Member
Something to do with surface tension at a guess?
 
i think fabric conditioner can act as a sort of waterproofer and stop the materials working properly.
i can't remember where i read it, it was some outdoor walking mag/website, but it performed very well in reproofing a waterproof jacket.
 

buddha

Veteran
It blocks up all the little 'holes' in your clothes (so I've heard).
So breathable garments will be less effective.
 
OP
M

magnatom

Guest
I've just done a quick search on 'lycra' and 'fabric conditioner' and I have seen suggestions that fabric conditioner can eat away at lycra. Is this true?
 

Chris James

Über Member
Location
Huddersfield
I know that they do not recommend using fabric conditioner for wicking layers as they start repelling water and don't work properly. Presumably this si why Trail suggested using fabric conditioner as a DWR for waterproofs.

I would prefer to use a proper DWR on waterproofs though!
 

domtyler

Über Member
From Wikipedia:

Fabric softeners work by coating the surface of the cloth fibers with a thin layer of chemicals; these chemicals have lubricant properties and are electrically conductive, thus making the fibers feel smoother and preventing buildup of static electricity. Other functions are improvements of iron glide during ironing, increased resistance to stains, and reduction of wrinkling.

Cationic softeners bind by electrostatic attraction to the negatively charged groups on the surface of the fibers and neutralizing their charge; the long aliphatic chains are then oriented towards the outside of the fiber, imparting lubricity. Vinegar works on some materials in a similar way, as the hydrogen ions bind to the anionic groups on the fibers.

The disadvantage of coating fibers by hydrophobic layer is in decreasing the water absorption properties of the fabric, which may be an issue with eg. towels and diapers. Therefore the cationic softeners are often combined with other chemicals with lower affinity to the fibers.
 
OP
M

magnatom

Guest
domtyler said:
From Wikipedia:

Fabric softeners work by coating the surface of the cloth fibers with a thin layer of chemicals; these chemicals have lubricant properties and are electrically conductive, thus making the fibers feel smoother and preventing buildup of static electricity. Other functions are improvements of iron glide during ironing, increased resistance to stains, and reduction of wrinkling.

Cationic softeners bind by electrostatic attraction to the negatively charged groups on the surface of the fibers and neutralizing their charge; the long aliphatic chains are then oriented towards the outside of the fiber, imparting lubricity. Vinegar works on some materials in a similar way, as the hydrogen ions bind to the anionic groups on the fibers.

The disadvantage of coating fibers by hydrophobic layer is in decreasing the water absorption properties of the fabric, which may be an issue with eg. towels and diapers. Therefore the cationic softeners are often combined with other chemicals with lower affinity to the fibers.
Fair enough. But my new Endura waterproof jacket (Gridlock)says not to use fabric conditioner. If its action improves the waterproofness of my jacket why would that be a bad thing? I suppose it may be a breathability issue, although I don't think the jacket is supposed to be particularly breathable (it has zips for that purpose!)
 

Chris James

Über Member
Location
Huddersfield
I think it effects the performance of the DWR, at least accoridng to Field and Trek.

'Important Note: The chemicals in household detergents interfere with the DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatment to the outside of your waterproof - the perfumes used in particular, as well as those that combine a fabric conditioner. This is why we recommend that you use a product like Grangers, which is a pure soap without additives. '

http://www.fieldandtrek.com/article-How-to-care-for-your-Waterproof-Jacket-tech_waterproof_care.htm

But more to the point, why would you want to use fabric conditioner on a waterproof jacket? Make it easier to iron? Make the outside feel snuggly?

Mind you, I get eczema so don't bother with conditioner at all.
 
OP
M

magnatom

Guest
Chris James said:
I think it effects the performance of the DWR, at least accoridng to Field and Trek.

'Important Note: The chemicals in household detergents interfere with the DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatment to the outside of your waterproof - the perfumes used in particular, as well as those that combine a fabric conditioner. This is why we recommend that you use a product like Grangers, which is a pure soap without additives. '

http://www.fieldandtrek.com/article-How-to-care-for-your-Waterproof-Jacket-tech_waterproof_care.htm

But more to the point, why would you want to use fabric conditioner on a waterproof jacket? Make it easier to iron? Make the outside feel snuggly?

Mind you, I get eczema so don't bother with conditioner at all.
It would normally get washed with other washing which the wife likes to use conditioner on. I'll just have to make sure it is washed separately, I suppose.
 

Chris James

Über Member
Location
Huddersfield
Washing waterproofs is an important part of maintaining their DWR and therefore their breathability. Only occasionally mind and it shoudl be done in Techwash or soap flakes.
 
Top Bottom