How to Waterproof Fabric & Clothes- 2 Ways & Step by Step

Waterproof clothes help in a lot of ways and save money as well. Whether you play in water or snow, you’ll need waterproof clothes for enjoying yourself without any stress.

Moreover, you won’t be needing the full waterproof gear if you follow these easy applications on your clothes.

Even if it’s not your clothes that you want to waterproof, it can be your canvas or outdoor pillows made of fabric.

how to waterproof fabric

Before we dive into the tactics, let me tell you, you can buy a silicon solution from the store & spray once a year for a waterproof fabric. Now, you deny that and want to do that yourself, then here we come & discuss how to waterproof fabric by simple methods.

Learn More About How to Make Waterproof Fabric: Tips & Tricks

Method 1: Waterproof Fabric & Clothes By Using a Waterproof Coating

Requirements:

  • Clean Cloth
  • Sheet of cardboard
  • DWR coating spray

Step 01: Select a Good Quality Durable Water-Repelling Spray for Waterproofing any Fabric or Clothes

DWR stands for durable water-repellent and is a liquid polymer for coating the fabrics & turning them into water-resistant material.

The best fact about the stuff is that it’s easy to apply and work on any fabric, like, cotton, leather, canvas, etc.

You can even recoat your raincoat with it. Someone who doesn’t want to waste time and go for a ready-made procedure should go for this without any doubt. Search online or your local store for a good quality DWR.

waterproof fabric with waterproofing product

DWR spray can fade over time and isn’t permanent. Many of your water-resisting clothes and raincoats have this coating. When these fabrics lost their resistance, many threw them away without knowing that they can again restore the resistance. You can easily restore the resistance by reapplication of the DWR spray.

Step 02: Wash and Dry The fabric or Clothes

It doesn’t matter how much we try to resist the dirt; there are always parts of them in the air and our households. So, it’s necessary to clean them out. The presence of dirt & another residue on the cloth exterior will reduce the DWR coating’s adhesion. It will be a wise step to run the fabrics through the washer & dryer before the DWR application. Take bio-degradable soap and wash like there won’t be any residual. Or else, the procedure will lose its effectiveness.

You can buy the technical cloth washes online or at specialty clothing stores. Some popular brands are Dry Guy Fabric Tech Wash & Nikwax Tech Wash.

The reason for choosing technical washes is that they are gentle enough for the clothes and environmentally friendly.

The standard detergents out there leave an oily residue on the fabric that attracts water.

Step 03: Place The fabric on a Piece of Cardboard

Take a clean piece of cardboard and let it stay on an even ground. Put the cloth flat on the cardboard piece to avoid messing the spray on other surfaces beneath it. Avoid the clothes having folds or creases for setting the spray evenly.

Water makes the DWR spray slick. So, avoid using the tile floor or concrete to place your fabric instead of the cardboard.

Step 04: Give an Even DWR Spray Layer all Over The cloth or Fabric

Don’t take the sprayer too near or too far from the cloth and maintain a distance of 15cm or 6inches. While spraying, you have to focus on an even layer and for that, keep moving your sprayer back and forth. Then flip over the fabric and place as you need to give a perfect DWR coating.

Your aim will be an even, thin DWR layer.

Step 05: Wiping Away The Residual Liquid With a Clean Cloth & Let The Fabric to Dry

After you finish spraying, you can notice extra liquid in some places of the fabric. Remove them using a clean cloth by gentle wiping to ensure a thin layer infused in the fabric fiber. Now, dry the cloth by hanging it on a drying rack or clothesline before you wear it.

Next Read: Get Silly Putty Out of Fabric & Clothes

Method Two: Make Your fabric & Clothes Waterproof With Wax

Requirements:

  • Hairdryer
  • Saucepan
  • Metal bowl
  • 1inch or 2.5cm paintbrush
  • Paraffin wax
  • Beeswax pellets

Step 01: Select The Wax for Making Waterproof Natural Fiber Canvas & Fabrics

Waxing is a natural method of waterproofing fabric, bags, jackets, etc. If you plan to waterproof natural fiber like hemp or cotton, or waterproof your canvas, then it’s your best choice.

Choose this very effective method to wax your both natural & non-synthetic fibers.

The reason behind not choosing a synthetic fiber is that it may not be able to absorb wax that much and won’t create a waterproof coating.

how to waterproof fabric with beeswax

Step 02: Boil Water in a Saucepan and place a Metal Bowl on The Top

Fill a standard-sized saucepan with half water making it into a double boiler for the wax’s gentle heating. Then you put metal over it. You’re putting the metal bowl in such a way that it isn’t touching the pan at the bottom and the space between them is the one that’s trapping the heat.

Remember, we’re creating such an arrangement for a gentle heat for the wax. So, don’t let the bowl touch the pan. Or else, it will be overheated.

Step 03: Time to Melt The Beeswax.

Solid wax breaks down into small beads and form beeswax pellets. As for paraffin wax, you have to cut it in chunks as they are in solid blocks. Take 4oz (115g) of beeswax pellets & paraffin wax in a container or bowl. Now it’s time to meet them and stir them along the time. It will be good to melt the beeswax first and later add the paraffin wax chunks to it to combine.

Both the above ingredients are available at the local departmental stores, online market, or craft supply store. We’re combining both for an insoluble, waterproof paste.

Step 04: Use a Paintbrush to Apply a Thick Layer of Wax Over Your Fabric.

Take a paintbrush of 1inch or 2.5 cm. You’ll find it for applying a thick layer of wax in the fabric by dipping the brush in the wax. You’ll start from one section of the fabric and later on spread the thick layer. Working in sections will ensure an even layer. Don’t leave any exposed areas.

Don’t leave the crevices like inner seams & armpits.

Use a paintbrush having stiff bristles.

Step 05: Use a Hairdryer for melting The Wax Into The Cloth

Now, you have applied the mixture all over the fabric; it’s time to melt it down or liquefy by using a hairdryer. Put the dryer on a high-heat setting & provide hot air all over the fabric surface. Keep moving your dryer for 5 to 10 minutes instead of keeping it in one place. In this way, the wax will infuse with the cloth fiber.

Holding the dryer in one place for a long time will make the liquid wax runoff.

Step 06: Cool Down The Wax and Check for Any Uneven Spot

The wax will cool down within a few minutes and will get hard again. After that, you’ll inspect the fabric for an uneven layer and wax missing spots. Re-correct those areas by adding more or taking out excess wax.

By the time you’re applying the wax over the fabric, the bowl’s wax can cool down as well. You can re-melt in by warming the saucepan again on the stuff.

Step 07: Put Your Cloth Away for 24 Hours

Choose a well-ventilated place for putting the fabric on a clean surface or to hang it on. In this curing process, the wax will get hard. Wait for 24 hours before wearing the fabric on.

If you found the wax damp after a whole day, wait for another half day.

Read Next: Replace Awning Fabric on Electric Awning

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Turn Fabric Into a Waterproof Material?

The fact is that you can’t turn fabric into fully waterproof material but add a waterproof coating to resist the water. But don’t be depressed. Adding a waterproof layer or waxing is enough for resisting cloths. For reapplication of coating on waterproof cloth, use the DWR spray.

What’s The Perfect Way to Make Natural Fiber or Cotton Fabric Waterproof?

For waterproofing natural fabric, cotton fabric, denim, hemp, or canvas, waxing is the best choice ever. Stiff wax will darken the fabric and make it look good.

How Can I Understand That My Fabric Isn’t Waterproof?

While washing your cloth, if your fabric tends to change color, then it’s not waterproof. However, you can fix the problem with the above-mentioned solution.

Read Also: Make Fabric Paint at Home

Final Words:

Now you know how to waterproof fabric with very effective and easy tricks. As a tip, I like to mention that if you own a fabric that’s already waterproof but somehow has lost the resistance against water. And now, you want to recoat it. In that case, DWR is the only way as wax & alum may not work or penetrate the existing coating. In the end, be careful of your hand from burning.

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