How to Make Fabric Waterproof in Different Ways: Easy Method

Ever had an unanticipated rainstorm completely soak up your outdoor cushions or pillows?

You could not use them for days or even weeks as you gave them time to dry up, and even worse was the odor that came from them due to the dampness! But do you know that didn’t have to happen?

There are several ways of ways of making fabric waterproof and ready for any weather. In this post, we will go through some of the easiest and the best of them.

How To Make Fabric Waterproof: Newbie Friendly Guide

1st Method: Using A Spray-On Sealer 

Quick Note

Quick Note

If you’re working outside, it’s best that you waterproof your fabric on a dry and windless day.


Dry weather helps you avoid humidity, which might affect your spray-on sealers. Again, the wind might blow dust there, which might get embedded in your fabric, and you don’t want that.

Clean the Fabric

Clean the Fabric

If the fabric is clean, there’s, of course, no need for this step. In case the fabric can’t be washed or it’s only lightly soiled, use a soft-brittle brush or a vacuum to clean it.

Dry the Fabric

Dry the Fabric

Spray-on sealers repel water, so ensure the fabric is totally dry before attempting to waterproof it. The problem is that the sealer won’t stick on wet fabric.

Transfer the fabric to a properly-ventilated area, perhaps outside the house (if you’re not already working from there). If you’re indoors and can’t work from outside, how about opening a window. This will help you avoid the pungent smells that the sealers could have. If you’re sensitive to sprays, try using goggles and a mask and probably some protective coating.

Get the Spray and Seam Sealer 

Get the Spray and Seam Sealer

You can get these from a camping supplies or outdoor store. In case the fabric you’re planning to waterproof will be in the sun a lot, it’s important that you purchase a spray with UV protection, so it doesn’t lose potency. It’ll also protect the fabric from fading.

Note that these sprays work best on canvas, leather, and nylon.



As you do this, hold the can around 7 inches away from the fabric’s surface. As for the sealer, apply it with a light, uniform layer, overlapping every stroke lightly.

Applying two or three coats will waterproof the fabric even better, but before applying each coat, you need to let the previous one dry. In most cases, around 4 hours drying time will be needed, but of course, you need to check what the directions state.

Apply the Seam Sealer 

Seam sealers typically come in little bottles with applicators at the top. What you need to do is gently squeeze the bottle while you roll the applicator over the seams.

2nd Method: Aluminum and Laundry Detergent 

Clean the Fabric 

Clean the Fabric

Once again, the first step will be to clean the fabric if it’s dirty. For dusty fabric or one that is only lightly soiled or fabric that can’t be washed, a brush or vacuum will be sufficient for washing. Fabrics that are very dirty will, of course, need specially-formulated cleaners.

Mix the Detergent and Water

Mix the Detergent and Water

Combine a pound of laundry detergent with about two gallons of hot water in a basin. The basin should be adequately big, so the fabric gets submerged in the mixture.

Soak the Fabric

Soak the Fabric

You want the fabric to be totally saturated. In the event that some parts are floating to the top, just push them down with a bottle.

Dry the Fabric

Dry the Fabric

You will need to air-dry the fabric, and while doing so, ensure you’re not folding it, lest the two sides get stuck on each other. Instead, clip the upper part of the fabric to a hanger or clip them to a clothes line if a hanger is too small.

Mix Aluminum with Hot Water

Next, mix up half a pound of aluminum with two gallons of hot water in a separate basin. Stir the mixture, making sure the powder is totally dissolved. Where to get aluminum powder? Try a grocery store.

Soak the Fabric

Soak the Fabric

Let it soak in the mixture for at least two hours, ensuring the fabric is totally submerged all the while.

Dry It

dry it

Once again, you need to air-dry the fabric using the same tactics – free hanging, making sure there’s no folding to avoid sticking.

3rd Method: Iron-On Vinyl 

Iron-on vinyl won’t change the appearance of fabric, and when it comes to waterproofing lunch bags, tablecloths, and baby bibs, nothing does it better than this material.

Clean It 


As always, the first step is to clean the fabric (if it’s dirty, of course) and ensure it’s totally dry before working on it.

Lay It on A Flat Surface

Doing this will make it easier to work with fabric, as it will eliminate folds and the subsequent wrinkles. And if there are too many folds on the fabric, try ironing it out.

Cut the Vinyl

Cut the Vinyl

You need the vinyl to fit your fabric, so cut it accordingly. In case the width is too small to cover the fabric, cut a few pieces across the length and overlap these pieces to cover the fabric.

Iron It 

Iron the fabric

As you peel the backing, you will see there are two sides on the paper – a dulls side and a shiny one. There are also two sides on vinyl – a smooth one and a shiny/sticky one. The shiny side is the one that needs to be in contact with the fabric.

Iron the vinyl with the paper on to protect the vinyl from the heat. You want to set the iron to medium heat to avoid melting the vinyl, and you don’t want to leave the iron on one spot for very long for the same reason.

The iron’s heat will melt the glue, and the vinyl will stick to the fabric.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How does detergent and aluminum waterproof fabric?

It happens through the reaction of alum ions with long acid chains of the detergent. The product of this reaction is aluminum soap, which forms a water-repelling coat as it’s not water-soluble.

2. What is the best spray for waterproofing fabrics?

There are several good and fair-priced waterproofing sprays, including these:

  • Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield
  • Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy-Duty Water Repellent
  • Granger's Xtreme Repel
  • Nikwax TX.Direct Spray-On

3. Are there waterproof fabrics?

Yes. These normally have an outer layer known as face fabric, which is made of polyester or nylon as well as a laminated coat made of a material called ePTFE or Teflon.

4. How Does Waterproof Spray Work?

The fabric that is not waterproof has pores in it, and it’s these pores that allow the water in. Waterproofing spray essentially covers these pores, thus enabling the fabric to repel water. The cover might be oil, synthetic glue, wax, rubber or some other water-repellent material.

Some sprays, especially the ones containing rubber might turn the color of the fabric to black, for instance, and in most cases, the fabric will look glossier.

Note that wax-based water repellents cause the fabric to be repellent.

Basically, the more the spray changes the fabric, the more waterproof it is.

Final Word 

Those are some of the methods that will help you waterproof your fabric efficiently. We understand that some folks use linseed oil and others use turpentine, though we haven’t really tried these products for waterproofing fabric. If you’ve used them, feel free to tell us all about it in the comments. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends.


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elizabeth aspinall

Can any of these be used to waterproof material for a face mask?

    Christi Lee

    NO! Although a nice idea, you don’t want to use waterproof fabric for face masks. If water can’t get through, then you can’t breathe well through the mask either. Additionally, you don’t want to be forced to be breathing in those chemicals with every breath.


I have some antique chairs thAt have care on pads. Found some material that I like but its not waterproof. Hope these work!!! Thanks


Cool, hope these life hacks work on my fabric because this is a school project and if I don’t get this right, I’ll flunck it and totally get an F.


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