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How to make clothes waterproof

How to make clothes waterproof

Tired of your clothes getting wet in the rain? We have been there and know your damp discomfort firsthand. So, here is your guide to the best clothing waterproofing techniques we could find!

Canvas Wax

Canvas wax is the best waterproofing available for natural and synthetic clothing to make clothes waterproof. It is most commonly made from paraffin wax but the ingredients vary based on region and use case. Generally, canvas wax comes in bar form and is roughly the size of a soap bar. For lightweight clothing, liquid-applied fabric dressing is overkill. Just a bar will do ya. Check out Hawk Tool’s canvas wax as the first choice for your application.

How to:

  1. Grab a bar of fabric wax, a hair dryer, and a brush.
  2. Clean your clothing and dry it thoroughly
  3. Rub the fabric wax bar in even strokes across your clothing and make sure to press firmly!
  4. Use the hair dryer to melt the wax into your clothing’s fibers.
  5. Make sure to press extra wax into seams and buttons. Anywhere there is a gap, water will get through.
  6. Let your clothing cure overnight in a warm, dry area.
  7. Use Waterproofing Sprays & Wash In Formulas.

Use Waterproofing Sprays & Wash In Formulas.

The most common way to waterproof your clothes is with waterproof sprays. It’s easy, just point the nozzle at the article that you want to waterproof and lay down an even coating. Silicone or Acrylic sprays are the most common and will let the water roll off your clothes and shoes for a time. Although they are convenient for leather, nylon, and canvas, Sprays lack the longevity and durability we want. Seam sealers will help keep the hems and stitches of your clothes water-tight for a time. We recommend you apply fabric weatherproofing as it is proven to last much longer and does not need extra care or seam sealers to do its job.

Make your own wash in water repellent

Use Laundry Detergent & Alum Powder.

How To: Clean and prep your garment. Make sure it is totally dry before you apply. First, mix about a pound of detergent with two gallons of hot water in a bucket. Second, dip your clothes in the mix until it’s completely saturated. Tip: (make sure not to run through the dryer). Third, grab a clothesline and hang it to dry. Then, combine half a pound of alum powder with two gallons of hot water again in a container. Soak the clothes in the mixture again and let them sit for about two hours before hanging them to dry.

To check if you’re successfully waterproofed your fabric, spritz your garment with water and check for discoloration where water is passing through. If you see these darker spots, reapply to those areas again after the garment is totally dry of course!

Waterproof Clothes ingredients

How to:

  1. Mix 1 pound (0.45 kg) of laundry detergent with 2 gallons (7.5 L) of hot water in a large container. You want the container to be large enough so that you can soak all of your fabric in the detergent mixture.
  2. Soak the fabric in the mixture until it is completely saturated. Hang the fabric to air-dry in the sun.
  3. Combine 1/2 pound (0.25 kg) of alum with 2 gallons (7.5 L) of hot water in a second container. After the fabric has dried out from the laundry detergent soak, steep the fabric in this mixture for at least 2 hours.
  4. Hang the fabric in the sun to air-dry completely.
  5. Turpentine & Soybean Oil | make Clothes Waterproof

Waterproof Clothes Naturally

Turpentine & Soybean Oil | make Clothes Waterproof

Another less toxic waterproofing solution is soybean based. You will not be able to run your clothes through the washing machine but they should be waterproof for at least a season. Turpentine is a solvent made from distilling pine tree resin. Remember, pure turpentine with flash off quickly and yield a better result. This process will leave your clothing feeling a bit gritty but is one of the most durable of the options listed (not quite fabric weatherproofing durable but it will make clothes waterproof.

Waterproof Clothes ingredients


In a large bucket, mix one cup of soybean oil with four ounces of turpentine. Next, grab a sturdy brush to apply the solution to your cleaned and prepped garment. Tip: (Put down newspaper before you begin). Soy and turpentine are stinky and require a large open area for your safety. The fumes are flammable and can be quite dangerous.

That said, this method works well, especially so on dark items as this method darkens the fabric. Let it dry completely overnight and outside. The smell will be palpable for a few days but it will make clothes waterproof.

There are a few “perfect” waterproofing options. There are pro’s and con’s to each method. We suggest you try a few for yourself on extra rags or small areas of your clothing that you won’t notice later. Best of luck and contact us at: info@hawktoolsusa.com if you have any trouble. We are glad to help you get your clothes waterproof!