Waterproofing your outdoor gear and apparel has numerous benefits – not only does it keep the fabric dry and easier to clean, but the additional protective layer also helps it last longer. Even if the material was originally waterproof, applying a fresh coating after a while will only improve its properties. A waterproof spray is probably the easiest way to make sure your gear never gets wet.
Depending on the fabric you to protect, there are several different types of waterproof sprays. Regardless of the type, however, the best waterproofing spray should be easy to apply, leave no stains or odors and, most importantly, prevent water droplets from soaking into the fabric.
To help you pick the right one, we’ve made a list of top rated water repellent sprays for all the different materials. And, if you want to learn more about what makes the best waterproofing spray, don’t miss out on our buying guide below.
How To Choose The Best Waterproof Sprays – Buying Guide
Because of all the different formulas, choosing a waterproof spray can be a bit tricky. As you had the chance to see, some of the top-rated water repellent sprays are water-based, while others are silicone-based. Similarly, some create a thicker layer than others but need more time to dry.
The best waterproof sprays for clothes don’t change the fabric color, leave a sticky residue or any type of odor. It should be easy to apply and remain long on the surface. Take a quick look at how to find it.
Protection and Durability
All sprays are protective, but the level of water protection you get is not the same. There’s a difference between waterproofing a jacket for occasional rain and waterproofing a canvas tent for the rainy season. This mostly depends on the ingredients used to make the waterproof nanospray.
Some products are best for use on leather apparel (like Simple Shine), while others are better suited for heavy-duty outdoor fabrics (like Star Brite). As a bonus, certain products (like Scotchgard) also give you additional UV protection and prevent the materials from fading. Considering where you plan to use it will point you in the right direction because, honestly, very few products protect all surfaces equally well.
Another important question is the durability of the coating will be once you apply it. If you’re waterproofing a jacket that you wear every day, you’ll have to reapply the coating every couple of weeks. On the other hand, stronger products used for tents and patio furniture can last for the whole season before they need refreshing.
Not all sprays have the same content and therefore shouldn’t be used on the same materials. Because of this, we specified the optimal materials for each product on our list. If a product is a good waterproofer for jackets or a decent waterproofer for coats, it doesn’t mean it will work on everything equally well. Of course, using it on a different material doesn’t mean it won’t work at all, but its effect might be weaker or it might alter the fabric.
In relation to this, all the best waterproofing sprays will make it explicitly clear on the label on which surfaces you should or shouldn’t use it. If you’re not sure about your waterproof nanospray, a smart idea is to test it on a small patch of less visible material as this will show you if it’s safe to use or not. This is especially recommended for sensitive materials like suede or nubuck.
Potential Fabric Alteration
While most products shouldn’t cause any visible alteration, a small change in color is possible even with the best waterproofing spray. Luckily, these changes usually only last for a short while (until the coating cures), so you have nothing to worry about. Still, you should test on a small area (like we suggested) just to make sure.
Besides the spray itself, unequal color can be caused by improper use. As we’ll discuss in the next section, make sure the coating layer has even thickness everywhere. Another negative effect of applying too much is reducing the natural breathability of the material.
Another issue people point out is the sharp odor that some products have. This is more common for silicone-based sprays than for those that are water-based. Still, the best water repellent spray for fabric shouldn’t have any odors once it’s completely dry.
Application and Ease of Use
The effectiveness of your waterproof protection depends on whether or not you apply it properly. To make this simpler, many of the best water repellent sprays come either in a spray can or bottle for direct spray-on use. An aerosol is much easier to disperse evenly over the whole surface, resulting in better protection. Whether you get a can or a bottle comes down to your preference.
But it’s not just about getting the right package, you should also follow the application instructions given by the manufacturer. Generally speaking, most are applied from a distance from 8 to 12 inches and should be sprayed on a clean and dry surface. However, there might be exceptions to this, and some might require that you apply the spray in several layers so they can be truly effective. All this should be on the label and it’s worth checking out.
Ingredients and Safety
As we’ve mentioned a few times, most of these products are either water-based or silicone-based. On top of this, there are many additional ingredients that make them more or less suitable for different gear. In general, water-based products are usually better for clothing and shoes, while silicone-based ones work best with heavy-duty outdoor fabrics.
This being said, all waterproofing sprays are made of chemicals. Even the best water repellent sprays contain strong chemicals that can irritate skin and leave a strong odor. This is why you should make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area before you start spraying.
While most spray bottles allow you to have minimal skin contact with the solution, it’s not a bad idea to wear gloves while using (even though most won’t do any harm). Finally, it’s worth mentioning that many of the best waterproof sprays for clothes are flammable, so be sure to use them away from a heat source.
Q: Can the waterproofing spray damage the shoes?
Yes, if you’re using the wrong spray or applying it the wrong way. However, the best waterproofing sprays we listed shouldn’t cause any damage. Keep in mind that whenever you apply anything that is not naturally a part of the fabric or material, there is always a risk of damage. Still, manufacturers pay a lot of attention to this and you shouldn’t have any problems as long as you follow the instructions.
Q: From how far should I apply the spray?
While this depends on the individual product, it’s usually somewhere between 8 and 12 inches. This allows the aerosol to disperse properly so it can form an even coating on the surface. Of course, for the best result, make sure to always read the label of the product you buy.
Q: What are the benefits of using a waterproof spray?
The main benefit of a waterproof spray is that it protects your outdoor gear from water damage. It forms a fine coating on the surface that makes water form into beads that roll off instead of soaking in. Wet fabric loosens and deteriorates over time and this is a great way to prevent this process. As a bonus, this prevents mold from forming too.
Another benefit is stain protection. The coating will protect the fabric from strong-colored foods and drinks, making it much easier to clean. Finally, some products provide excellent protection from UV rays too. Outdoor equipment like patio furniture is constantly exposed to the sun, and the best waterproof sprays can prevent color fading, yellowing, or deterioration.
Q: Is the waterproofing spray washable?
Yes, most waterproof sprays can be washed. However, some should not be washed with a traditional cleaning detergent, so it’s best to always check the manufacturer’s instructions. If you properly clean it, the coating won’t come off the surface and will do its job on the next trip too.
Q: Do you need to spray waterproof boots?
Depends on the type of boot. If your boot is made of waterproof leather with sealed seams, then you should spray the boots to improve their performance. On the other hand, if your boots have a breathable waterproof membrane, you most likely won’t have to spray them as they won’t lose their properties in time.
Q: Does waterproof spray expire?
Yes, waterproof sprays may expire (but this depends on the product). Some active ingredients might lose their properties over time, which can lead to some very disappointing results and losing water repellency. For this reason, you should always check the expiry date on the label to make sure it will get the job done properly.
Q: How often should you spray your shoes?
If you wear your shoes every day and it’s constantly wet outside, you should spray them at least once or twice every week. On the other hand, if the weather is mostly dry, you don’t have to do it as often (but there’s no harm in doing it). Spraying the shoes more frequently protects them not just from water but also from nasty stains.
Globo Surf Overview
Whether you’re camping or on the trail, keeping the water out of your gear can certainly add to your ease and calm. Applying a layer of the best waterproofing spray will ensure that both you and your outdoor gear stay completely dry. On top of this, the fabric will last longer and look much better too. By using the pointers from our guide, you’ll easily find the best water repellent spray for fabric that will keep you fully protected each time you go on an adventure.