How to Waterproof Clothing

How refreshing it feels to spend quality time outdoors and enjoy the fresh air whether it rains or snows! It is great to have fun with the family on a snowy day without fears of getting wet or drenched.

For other people, spending time in the wet outdoors is mandatory if their work demands spending time in rain and snow. Whatever the reason you have for getting drenched, you will be better off adorned in properly waterproofed clothes.

There are many types of already waterproofed clothes on the market but unfortunately, they are expensive and beyond most people’s budget. Their design also makes them too heavy to wear and will likely limit your freedom and movement.

The good news is that you can now waterproof your clothes in simple cost-effective ways. Waterproofing your clothes will enable you to enjoy the outdoor activities without wishing for a weather change.

There are many ways that you can waterproof clothes to keep yourself dry and comfy in wet weather. Waterproofing is done on out-clothes such as trousers, coats, jackets, overalls, gloves and headgear.

The waterproofing methods covered in this article will help you keep the inside of your outer clothes dry while maintaining the clothes breathability and ventilation. The clothes will be free from getting wet and still maintain the warmth that they are supposed to provide. So without further ado, here’s how to waterproof clothing.

how to waterproof clothes

1. Waterproof Clothes with Detergents

There are many products in the market that one can apply after washing clothes to make them more water resistant. Some are simple detergents and items found in the house. For the best waterproofing results on your clothes, we highly recommend the Grangers Clothing Wash and Repel. This is a readily available waterproofing product with powerful cleaning power and water repelling properties.

Grangers Clothing Wash and Repel

Grangers Clothing Wash and Repel

  • Works great on outerwear
  • Cleans clothes and makes them waterproof at the same time
  • Works in a single wash cycle

Used this on a Patagonia H2No winter coat (just the outer part), as well as a Patagonia raincoat. They repel water as if they were new!

How to Waterproof Clothing Using Grangers Clothing Wash

  • Start by sorting the clothes you want to waterproof from the rest of your clothes
  • Then add the Grangers Clothing Wash+ Repel formula to the selected clothes
  • Wash the clothes for some time before leaving them to dry
  • Iron the clothes after they’ve dried for better waterproofing

2. Waterproof Clothing Using Bee’s Wax

You can also waterproof your clothes at home using bee's wax or paraffin wax. Although this method works well and makes clothes water repellant, it is not highly recommended because paraffin wax has toxic fumes which could be harmful, especially when used in children’s clothes.

Bee's wax will also help to waterproof clothes but will discolor or alter the good appearance of your clothes. However, if you want to waterproof clothes meant for outdoor work, such as in the construction or similar industries, you can use this method by following the steps outlined below.

Skidmores Premium Beeswax Waterproofing cream

Skidmore's Premium Beeswax Waterproofing cream

  • Deeply penetrates leather and leaves a durable waterproof seal
  • Made from natural ingredients, no harmful/toxic chemicals
  • Protects your boots from rain and snow

 I use this to add extra waterproofing to my winter riding boots and it’s amazing!!! Completely repels not only water, but the thick mud in the pasture that normally sticks like glue

How to Waterproof Clothes with Bee or Paraffin Wax

  • Sort out clothes to be waterproofed
  • Prepare a work surface where you will lay your clothes for waxing
  • Warm the clothes a little for the wax to melt easily while applying
  • Spread the piece of clothing you want to wax on clean newspaper
  • Spread the wax all over the clothes
  • Ensure that you cover all areas of the clothes with wax including seams and zippers
  • Leave the clothes to dry for two days

If you follow the steps above, your clothes will be completely waterproof for some time until the wax wears out. 

3. Waterproof Clothing Using Spray

One of the simplest ways of waterproofing clothing is by the use of specially formulated sprays. This method is effective for people who have no time on their hands to do the waxing or cleaning using special detergents.

The sprays work fast and the fabric you want waterproofed will be ready to use in just a few minutes. If you need to go camping and suddenly realize that the clothes you want to carry are not waterproof, do not worry. Just grab a can of waterproofing spray and you’ll be good to go.

There are many fabric waterproofing products out there but unfortunately not all work as advertised. Some may work but only for a short while before they lose their water repellency.

In our experience, the best waterproofing spray is the 303 3061CSR Fabric Guard from Products Inc. This is not only a waterproofing formula but a stain repellant too. It protects your clothing from water-based and oil-based stains. 

303 3061CSR Fabric Guard

303 3061CSR Fabric Guard

  • Restores lost water and stain repellency
  • Provides strong resistance against soiling
  • Protects against water and oil
  • Doesn't change the color of your fabric
  • Safe to use on synthetic and natural fibers

This stuff is sick. Playing around I sprayed on a white dress shirt, let dry then poured grape Gatorade on it. Just pooled up and wiped off….no stain at all.

It does not affect fabric color and quality and is safe for use on both synthetic and natural fibers. It is one of the best waterproofing and stain repellant sprays for different types of fabrics. It leaves your clothing dry and feeling fresh all day.

How to Waterproof Clothing Using Sprays

  • Start by ensuring that the clothing  you want to waterproof is clean and completely dry
  • Spray on the fabric from a distance of at least 6 to 8 inches away
  • Leave the fabric to dry for sometime

Once the waterproofed clothing is dry, which usually takes a few minutes, it will be completely waterproof. You can use the spray again after the formula’s repellency decreases.

4. Waterproof Clothing with Sealants

Camping gear such as sleeping pads, tents, and umbrellas usually have seams, zippers, and seals that can allow in water and leave you drenched. You need a good sealant for the clothing and seams on such items to make them completely waterproof.

The sealant will prevent water from entering via the seams of the fabric. Your tent, for instance, will need a good sealant around the zipper and seams to ensure that you remain dry and comfortable inside the tent in wet weather. You can enhance the waterproofing of your clothing and camping gear using a high quality sealant.

Based on our experience, we highly recommend the Gear Aid Seams Grip WP sealant for outdoor clothing and fabrics. This is a water-resistant product that can be applied on any fabric to give the clothing maximum water repellant power.

Gear Aid Seam Grip Waterproof Sealant

Gear Aid Seam Grip Waterproof Sealant

  • Dries overnight into a permanent rubber seal
  • One tube can seal up to 12'2 of seams
  • Durable material blocks water and other liquids from getting into your tent's seams

Our tent ripped at the zipper, where we couldn’t see the seam. It was shredded. This stuff worked perfectly! Use this before paying for a new tent!!!

It works perfectly well in all types of fabrics including nylon, canvas, polyester and many more. It can seal the tiniest holes and make the clothing or fabric completely waterproof. It can also be applied on zippers to prevent leaking water inside the clothes or tent via the zippers.

Gear Aid Seams Grip WP sealant bonds well with fabrics made of nylon, polyester, vinyl, and canvas. It is a great seam sealant that dries overnight to create a powerful rubber seal that does not crack or peel off. You can count on Gear Aid Seams Grip WP sealant to keep the seams of your clothing completely waterproof.