Advice on waterproofing a nylon raincoat

I bought an Eileen Fisher long nylon raincoat and it’s not even a little bit waterproof. In fact, it absorbs water and quickly transfers it to whatever you’re wearing underneath. As near as I can find from a search, this is it. As you can see the original price was outrageously expensive (as are all Eileen Fisher clothes), but I got it on sale at a boutique for around $25. It’s a mixture of nylon and cotton and is machine washable. The specs in that Nieman’s ad say it’s lined, but it’s not except for some interfacing inside the zipper placket. If there were a lining, then you might not get all wet in the rain, amirite?

What are my options for waterproofing it? Should I take it to a dry cleaners and have them do it? I don’t mind spending a few bucks.

I’ve been reading about waterproofing sprays on amazon, and that seems like a good alternative, too. One of the reviewers was waterproofing something small (not clothing) and just poured the waterproofing solution in a bucket and dunked the item. The simplicity of that approach appeals to me. If I did it myself, I’d do it outside and hang the raincoat to dry in the breeze. (Although rain is predicted for the rest of the week… :rolleyes:) Any brands you would recommend?

This is a nice garment, and of course, much of the enjoyment of owning it comes from the great deal I got it for-- YES!

Advice and suggestions welcome.

Ultra Ever Dry last I checked it was expensive and may not be generally available(at least from the manufacturer, there’s a good chance it’s available on eBay or the like), but damn their product demos are impressive. Be very sure to read the directions carefully because I suspect it’s some really nasty stuff before it’s fully cured and fully applied.


I’d go with a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatment, either spray on or wash in. If the garment truly isn’t waterproof there’s little you can do to make it waterproof again. But if it the DWR coating has worn off you can revive the jacket by reapplying. This is the most common reason for rain gear becoming ineffective.

I like Nikwax TX.Direct -

I don’t think the garment was ever waterproof. The first time I wore it in the rain, I got soaked under it.

Would this product still be appropriate?

You called it a raincoat, was it advertised that way? If not, it’s never going to be waterproof without completely changing the feel of the garment by coating it in plastic, basically.

I took a quick look online at and didn’t see a single jacket that’s actually billed as a raincoat. Most everything there was linen or cotton, which is never going to be rain proof.

DWR will work on pretty much any garment, but it’s not going perform miracles. It won’t made something waterproof, but it will make water bead up.

Did you see that in my OP, I posted a link to the coat. Here it is. I called it a raincoat. They call it an anorak. It says “water-resistant,” but I never found it to be water-resistant. IOW there’s the claim and there’s my experience.

So maybe I would be restoring hypothetical water-resistance to this garment.

I’m not going to be riding on the Maid of the Mist in it. Having the water bead up would be fine.

Should I just dunk or spray it myself or take it to a dry cleaner? It’s a $300+ coat that I got for $25, so I don’t mind spending some money on it to make it useful. Right now, it’s pretty useless to me.

Raincoats are waterproof. A piece of folded paper can be considered water resistant. That is, a paper jacket will get you from the car to the door in a drizzle without soaking through. You said you got it 2nd hand; sure it isn’t counterfeit?

Spray it with some ‘stain protector’. Or even some silicon lubrication spray from a hardware shop. Because spraying is easy, the stuffs easy to find, it’s all around less work than dunking, and it won’t be like wearing a plastic raincoat.

It still won’t be waterproof, but water will bead and roll off.

I also wear oiled cotton, and waxed cotton. I’ve never had waxed or oiled nylon: my plastic spray jackets keep the snow and spray off, but not the rain.

The Neiman’s site calls it an anorak. I called it a raincoat, and I stand fully repentant and chastised. The Neiman’s ad says “water resistant,” but when I wore it in the rain, it absorbed water.

Where did you read that I got it second hand?? :confused: I said I got it on sale. It was brand new when I got it on sale in a boutique I’ve been going to for over 20 years. It has the original Eileen Fisher tag in it.

All I want is to be able to wear it when I walk from the house to the car or from the parking lot to a building when it’s raining. I will also be using an umbrella. It doesn’t have to be super water repellent. If the water wouldn’t just immediately SOAK right through, that would be fine with me.

I don’t mind if it feels like plastic. I won’t be wearing it all that much.

I’d go ahead and try the DWR, the spray is pretty easy to use. It will certainly make the jacket better in the rain, but not waterproof.

I’n not sure that jacket will ever be fully water proof, cotton canvas does become more waterproof after a few wetting and dryings then use Nikwax to coat the fibres with wax.

FWIW, my local cycling shop sells both ‘water resistant’ and ‘waterproof’ gear, and makes it fairly explicit that they are not the same thing. (For cycling, of course, you’d rather get lightly soaked in a sprinkle but have a buffer between you and the wind, rather than overheat in a really solid waterproof jacket)

Lesson learnt, I guess. Looks pretty, though!

I don’t expect it to be fully waterPROOF. I’d like it not to ABSORB water.

Does anyone think it would be a good idea to take it to a dry cleaner’s to apply whatever “waterproofing” is possible?

I put “waterproofing” in quotation marks to acknowledge that I know full waterproofing is not possible, but that I want whatever putative “water resistance” was first present (although I never noticed any) to be restored.

Is there some reason you’re not trying Telemark’s suggestion? Seems worth a try.

Well, I’m not in a rush. It’s raining outside right now, rain is predicted for the rest of the week, I’m still in my nightgown, and I’m going to a class reunion later this afternoon.

I haven’t rejected his idea, but is there some reason no one has replied to my inquiry about going to a dry cleaner?

ETA: The reason I mentioned that it’s raining is because if I did the water[del]proofing[/del] resistance thing myself, I wanted to do it outside and let the [del]raincoat[/del] anorak dry outside.

Maybe because they (we) don’t know if a dry cleaner will help? That’s my answer anyway, for me. And FTR, I haven’t tried Telemark’s suggestion, so I can’t say if it is or isn’t likely to work. It seems like a reasonable thing to try.

Okay! “I don’t know,” is a perfectly acceptable answer. And Telemark’s idea seems perfectly reasonable, too. :slight_smile:

Nothing useful to add but I love the Maid of the Mist reference. I remember it well and not especially fondly.

In 1962 went to eighth grade at St. Mary’s school just a few blocks from the Falls. The church is still there but the school is long gone. I was always terrified to ride the Maid of the Mist. Sometime if you can find it, watch “Niagara” with Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotton. Some great closeups of Niagara Falls.

Thanks for getting my reference. :slight_smile:

Sorry I saw this

And forgot about this

and made a bad connection.
Doesn’t eliminate the counterfeit option though it most likely reduces it quite a bit.