Nikwax BaseFresh and BaseWash Group Test

10th Oct 2017

Nikwax Basewash and Basefresh-2

Nikwax are 40 years old this year.  That is forty years of innovation, forty years of providing the finest quality low environmental impact products and, correspondingly, forty years of keeping the clothing and equipment of outdoor goers performing well and smelling fresh.  At Peak Mountaineering we’ve been using Nikwax products for a fair proportion of those four decades and have built up a great relationship with the Nikwax team.  They have supported our Pick & Play Litter Collection event for years and we’ve tested various of their products along the way.

Earlier this summer they sent us a batch of their Basefresh and Basewash products to test.  These products are part of their range targeted at keeping baselayers and technical underwear clean and fresh. We use a lot of baselayers but also thought about options on how to get a wider perspective on these products.  So, we asked Nikwax to supply enough of each product for us to gather a little test team of outdoor folk who would try Basefresh and Basewash and then report back.  

We then put a shout out on our Facebook page and had stacks of requests from outdoor folk keen to get involved.  It's just a shame we couldn't invite them all and had to, by pulling names from a hat, choose 5.  It worked a treat - and here are the results……..

The Products

BaseWash and BaseFresh are part of Nikwax’s new BaseFresh range.  BaseWash is a deodorising cleaner and conditioner which is used for a machine load of synthetic clothing.  Nikwax say it effectively cleans, deodorises, inhibits the build up of body odours, accelerates drying and improves cooling efficiency of synthetic base layers’.

BaseFresh is a deodorising conditioner for technical baselayers which both deodorises and improves the efficiency of these type of garments.  BaseWash is designed to be used instead of fabric conditioner so you can use it if you have just a few garments to wash in the same load as other items.

The Test Team 

Our testers comprised of some very active people.  We had a few keen walkers, 2 outdoor instructors, a cyclist and a climber.  They were generally people that spend most of their spare time in the outdoors. Their activities took them to various places around the UK and one had just headed off for an overseas trip to the Arctic Circle during the test period.  One also used the products to wash items used in a messy Tough Mudder race which was surely the ultimate cleaning test!

The Test

We sent each tester a questionnaire with a few simple questions and asked them to share their thoughts. They tested the products thoroughly over several weeks and then dished out their feedback.

The Results 


How easy was it to use?

All the testers felt Basewash couldn’t really be simpler to use because it can be added to a normal wash.  There was an observation that the instructions say 50ml should be added to the washing machine without clarity on how much clothing this could wash - but otherwise everyone was very happy with the ease of use.  Other observations worth mentioning were that BaseWash has quite a strong smell although everyone said this wasn’t in any way unpleasant and a few comments particularly liked how it smelt. 

How effective is it?

The unamimous feedback from testers was that it worked really well.  Peter, for example, said he had used it on clothes used for a 9 day Arctic Circle trek and, despite his clothes smelling very ‘gamey’, one wash with BaseWash and they were fresh and good to go again.  Similarly, Chris said that his baselayers cleaned up a treat after a very messy Tough Mudder event.  These comments really did reflect the comments made by others.  No one observed that the garments dried faster, but several said the garments did keep smelling nice during use and also wicked moisture extremely well.  

Would you buy it again and would you recommend it to others?

Everyone said they would buy this product again.  Peter said it was sure to replace the soap flakes he had used for 20 years.  There was an observation that this product didn’t need to be used every time your baselayer was washed, but overall the product gained universal praise.  All the testers said they would recommend BaseWash to others and several said they already had talked to several other outdoor folk about it.  


How easy was it to use?

BaseFresh can simply be added to a washing machine load with other items and so everyone said the product was easy and hassle free.  One tester observed that, because both these products come in bottles with a deeply ridged lid, there is a tendency for some liquid to dribble out once the lid is turned back on to the bottle after the lid is used for portion measurement.  Countering that, another liked the lid design as the shape allowed it to be gripped with wet hands.

How effective is it?

The feedback from testers was that the product did a great job and worked well, but one felt it overlapped with BaseWash and he was unsure whether they were partly doing the same job?  Of course, they are in effect doing the same thing and the key difference is in the way they are designed to be used - I have since fed back to Nikwax to say maybe the usage information about this needs to be clearer  It was a firm favourite with Jack who said that ‘as a particularly sweaty person it was a pleasure for my baselayers to come out of the washing machine smelling not only clean, but also with a hint of something nice.’  There was also an observation that clothes washed in BaseFresh seemed to keep smelling better for longer than clothes washed in ordinary detergents. 

Would you buy it again and recommend it to others?

The majority of testers said they would buy this again and the same testers said they would recommend it to others.  One tester felt it overlapped with BaseWash and both products weren’t needed as just BaseWash did the job just fine (see notes above about this slight misunderstanding).  Generally, no one said that the garments dried faster, but several said the garments did keep smelling nice during use and also wicked extremely well. 


We have summarised some detailed feedback into a manageable blog post, and yet the clear message is that these are great products that do exactly what Nikwax say they will do (although a few bits of feedback suggest labelling needs to be clearer).  We also love the fact that they follow Nikwax’s careful consideration of environmental responsibility.  We are all busy and want to spend our time doing the activities we love rather than spending lots of time caring for the products we use - so it is great to have a product on the market that does the job properly but is also so simple to use.  Please do give these products a try…..  

Posted by Paul

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