How to Waterproof a Jacket

We all have a go-to coat that makes us feel great. But depending on the age or material, it may not even keep out a light drizzle. If you’re concerned about damaging your fave piece of outdoor apparel don’t worry!

There are great products and DIY methods that can help you keep your best coat dry. Using silicone sprays, wax bars, water-based treatments, or DIY options, you can make sure your coat lasts for years to come, rain or shine.

Types Of Waterproofing


Silicone is a type of synthetic rubber or plastic. Made from the silica found in sand, this stuff is great at keeping all kinds of fabrics waterproof.

Silicone-based waterproofing typically comes in spray form, like Kiwi’s Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Rain Repellent. This odorless spray is marketed for outdoor equipment, but its ease of use and efficacy make it great for coats too.

Kiwi’s Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Rain Repellent.

Kiwi’s Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Rain Repellent

  • Ideal for tents, tarps, boots, hunting apparel, outdoor gear, boat covers, and patio furniture.
  • Keeps water out, allows material to breathe.
  • Silicone bonds to leather/fabric to create an extremely tough water barrier, while still allowing article to breathe.


For a more natural, eco-friendly product, you can’t go wrong with wax. Back before silicone and other polymers, wax was how people traditionally kept the rain out of their clothing. Made from a combination of beeswax and paraffin, Fjallraven’s Greenland Wax is perfect for waterproofing.

Fair warning: waterproofing with wax products can be labor-intensive. But if you love the look of waxed cotton or denim, it’s well worth the sore arms.

Fjallraven’s Greenland Wax

Fjallraven’s Greenland Wax

  • Made from a mixture of beeswax and paraffin.
  • Used in all our G-1000 products.
  • Re-wax your products regularly.


If you’re dead set on saving money and the planet, making your own waterproofing can be the best option. There are a few different choices, the most popular being alum powder and detergent wash.

People who make their own pickles will already be well-acquainted with alum powder; it’s what helps your veg stay crisp after being soaked in brine! Turns out that if you use it alongside powdered detergent, it also creates a great water-proof barrier over your clothing.

Hoosier Hill Farm Alum Powder

Hoosier Hill Farm Alum Powder

  • Made from a mixture of beeswax and paraffin.
  • Used in all our G-1000 products.
  • Re-wax your products regularly.


If you’re a fisher, you might already have heard of fluorocarbon. It’s a popular compound used in making fishing lines and the secret outstanding waterproofing. Granger’s is a British company that has a reputation for great products, and Granger’s Wash Repel 2in1 is no exception.

If you want to stay fluorocarbon-free, Nikwax Tech Wash is water-based, meaning your coat will get the water-proof treatment but maintain its breathability.

Star Brite’s Waterproofing Spray is petroleum-based. Even though advertised for marine fabrics, its versatility is well-known, as is its reputation for working just as well on clothing.

Granger’s Wash Repel 2in 1

Granger’s Wash Repel 2in 1

  • Recommended by World Leading Outerwear Companies / Granger's Made in England Since 1937.
  • Wash and Re-Waterproof in one step in your home washing machine / Maximizes breathability.
  • ADDS NO SCENT or optical brighteners...Great for Hunters!
Nikwax Tech Wash

Nikwax Tech Wash

  • Safely cleans technical synthetic outerwear without damaging DWR like normal household detergents.
  • Enhances performance of Nikwax waterproofing treatments; for use before TX.Direct, cotton proof, Polar proof, or softshell proof.
  • Easy wash-in application; machine wash safe.
Star Brite’s Waterproofing Spray

Star Brite’s Waterproofing Spray

  • Waterproofing + UV & stain protector for boat covers, car covers, bimini tops, sail covers, tents, jackets, backpacks, boots, awnings, canvas, canopy, sunbrella & patio covers.
  • Does not change the breathabilty, color, or feel of fabric.
  • Great for use on new fabrics, greatly extending their service life by providing an additional repellant barrier to moisture and a sun shield to damaging UV rays.

Before You Start, Check The Label

Before purchasing any waterproofing product, you’ll need to see what kind of material you’re working with. Though waterproofing has come a long way, there still isn’t a one-size-fits-all system.

Check your garment’s tag for composition details. If your coat is vintage or just doesn’t have the original tag and you’re not sure what it’s made of, try taking it to a craft or fabric store and asking for help identifying the type of fabric. If your jacket has filling to keep you cozy, try and find out if it’s natural or synthetic.

After checking what material you’re working with, check the manufacturer’s instructions: waterproofing products should always list the type of material they’re most suitable for and which materials they should never be used on.

How to Waterproof Your Favorite Coat

How to Prep Your Coat For Waterproofing

Make Sure Your Coat Is Clean

Sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s really important to work with a clean, dry coat. Dust, dirt, or stains can affect how the waterproofing adheres to your jacket, potentially leaving you with unprotected patches once you’ve finally cleaned it. Either wash it yourself or send it to the dry-cleaners.

If you can’t wash it at all, make sure to use a dry or damp cloth to remove any major stains or soil. A lint brush is a great help in ensuring your coat’s surface is uniform and able to uniformly absorb or be coated with waterproofing.

OXO Lint

OXO Lint Brush

  • FurLifter Brush combines the effectiveness of a lint brush with a self cleaning base.
  • Base clears fur from brush with a simple dip and holds fur until emptied.
  • Soft, non slip, comfortable grip.
GTGR Store Lint Remover

GTGR Store Lint Remover

  • Fast and easy to removes pet hair, crumbs, lint and more. Portable Lint Remover Clothes Fuzz Shaver give your old clothes a new look by quickly shaving them without damaging the fabric.
  • No more batteries wasted unlike battery operated cloth shavers which fail to continuously bring strong power.
  • This lint remover restores your clothes and fabrics to a fresh new look excellent for removing fuzz balls on clothes even on the sofa.


You’ve probably already checked and maybe even triple-checked to ensure the fabric is compatible with the product you’ve purchased. But it’s never a bad idea to test before you fully commit.

To test, you can either find an inconspicuous patch (on the inside of your sleeve, for example) or try it out on a garment made of the same material. Don’t get flustered if you see a change in color, your test item needs to dry completely before you get the true end result.

How to Waterproof Your Coat


One of the easiest methods of waterproofing is with sprays.

  • According to the instructions, spray an even coating of the product all over the exterior. One can or bottle may be sufficient, but if it’s a larger garment make sure to have an extra one on hand.
  • Hang your coat to dry in a warm room, and be mindful of the dry time on the label. Your coat may seem ready, but the waterproofing might need some time to work properly. For example, Scotch Guard Heavy Duty Water Shield can take up to six hours to dry.
Scotch Guard Heavy Duty Water Shield

Scotch Guard Heavy Duty Water Shield

  • Safe for use on polyester, nylon, polypropylene, cotton, leather, suede and more.
  • Creates durable protection from the elements with just one application.
  • Ideal for use on outerwear, rain gear, umbrellas, patio furniture, outdoor gear, backpacks, luggage, canvas tarps, boat covers and more.


For the alum wash, the instructions are incredibly simple

  • In a container large enough to soak your entire coat (you can use a storage container in a pinch,) mix 1lbs of powdered detergent with 2 gallons (8 quarts) of water. Hand wash your coat and hang dry.
  • After your coat is completely dry, using the same or same-sized container, mix ½ lbs of alum powder with 2 gallons (8 quarts) of water. Submerge your coat, and let soak for two hours. Use a light dumbbell to keep completely underwater.
  • Without rinsing, hang dry.


This is the more labor-intensive one but really does the job. Before you begin, make sure you have your wax of choice and a hairdryer or heat gun (be extra cautious if you’re using this last one!)

  • Warm your clothing with the hairdryer, this will help it absorb the wax.
  • Warm up the bar of wax, and go to town. Cover every part of the coat, and don’t skimp on seams, zips, or buttons. Re-warm your wax as needed.
  • After you’re done, go over your clothing with the hairdryer again, and make sure your coating was even.
  • Hang dry and let it cure.

Don’t Neglect The Seams

Though these previous methods are tried and tested, you can’t go wrong by giving your seams an extra coat of protection. Gear Aid Silicone Sealant is a durable adhesive that dries clear, ensuring nary a drop will penetrate your best hiking jacket.

Gear Aid Silicone Sealant

Gear Aid Silicone Sealant

  • Seal up to 24 ft of seams with 1.5 oz of this durable, clear adhesive that bonds permanently to silicone-treated (silynylon) tents.
  • Apply to ultra-light gear including silnylon backpacks; cures to a flexible, elastic seal that flexes and stretches with fabric.
  • Creates a long-lasting, waterproof seal that won’t peel or crack over time; not affected by extreme heat or cold.

Maintain Your Coat

It’s tempting to assume any of these products offer a lifetime’s coverage, but the fact is that it’s easier to maintain your coat’s coverage every year or two than to let it lose its newfound waterproofing.

If you’re not sure about any of these products, the reviews section can offer a wealth of knowledge, but remember that no matter what advice you read, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results. Happy waterproof travels!