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How to waterproof clothes

Whether you enjoy camping with your kids or enjoying playing time in the snow with them, it makes sense to waterproof their clothes. You may not have the money to buy full waterproof gear for your kids, so doing it yourself is a great way to save money and make sure they can get wet and still have fun.


[[[[Edit]Spray a waterproof coating

  1. Choose a durable water-repellent spray to waterproof all types of fabric. Durable water-repellent coating, or DWR, is a liquid polymer that covers the fabric and makes it water-resistant. The spray works for all types of clothing materials including cloth, cotton and leather, and is an excellent choice if you are looking for a simple application or whether to cover a raincoat or waterproof clothing. Look for a DWR coating spray at your local outdoor retail store or search online for it.[1]
    Waterproof clothing Step 1 version 3.jpg
    • Many raincoats and water-resistant clothing have been coated with a DWR spray that can fade over time. You can easily cover your clothes to restore its water resistance.
  2. Wash the clothes with a technical wash and let them dry. Dirt and residue on the surface of your clothes will affect the adhesion of your DWR spray, so run them through your washer and dryer before applying it. Use a technical wash of fabric, which is made from biodegradable soaps and does not leave a residue that will affect the spray.[2]
    Waterproof clothing Step 2 version 3.jpg
    • Ordinary detergents can leave an oily residue that will actually attract water.
    • Technical fabric washers are also gentler on the fabric and are more environmentally friendly.
    • You can find technical detergents in specialty stores or by ordering online. Some popular brands include NikWax Tech Wash and Dry Guy Fabric Tech Wash.
  3. Place clothes on a cardboard box. Lay your clothes flat on the ground on top of a piece of clean cardboard so that you do not get any spray on the carpet or the ground under it. Make sure that the clothes do not have creases or creases in them so that the spray continues evenly.[3]
    Waterproof clothing Step 3 version 3.jpg
    • DWR spray can become slippery if water gets on it, so do not apply it on a concrete or slab floor without using cardboard to protect it.
  4. Apply an even layer of DWR spray over the entire fabric. Hold the spray bottle from the fabric and move it back and forth as you apply the coating so that it continues evenly. Turn the clothes over and adjust it as needed so that you can apply the spray over the entire surface.[4]
    Waterproof clothing Step 4 version 3.jpg
    • A thin, even layer is the goal.
  5. Wipe off the extra liquid with a clean cloth and let the clothes dry. When you have finished applying the DWR coating, take a clean cloth and gently wipe off one of the excess liquid so that only a thin layer is infused into the fabrics. Hang the clothes on a clothesline or drying rack and wait until the material is completely dry before wearing it.[5]
    Waterproof clothing Step 5 version 3.jpg

[[[[Edit]Wax the clothes

  1. Choose wax for waterproof cloth and fabric with natural fibers. Wax is a natural and effective way to waterproof clothing such as jackets, hats and even bags, but it is most effective on natural materials such as cloth and natural fibers such as cotton or hemp. Choose wax to waterproof your clothes if the fabric is made of natural, non-synthetic fibers.[6]
    • Synthetic fibers may not absorb the wax as well and may not form a waterproof coating.
  2. Boil water in a saucepan and place a metal bowl on top. Make a double boiler that gently heats up the wax by taking a standard-sized saucepan and filling it about halfway with water. Take the water in a bowl and then take a metal bowl and rest it on the pan so that the bottom does not touch the water and the space between the pan and the bowl can catch the heat.[7]
    Waterproof clothing Step 6 version 3.jpg
    • If the bowl is actually in contact with the water, it will get too hot, so make sure you use a bowl large enough to cover the water without touching it.
  3. Melt 115 g beeswax pellets and paraffin wax in the bowl. Beeswax pellets are small beads of solid wax. Place them in the metal bowl to melt them gently. Paraffin wax comes as a solid block, so cut off pieces of it and add 4 g (115 g) to the bowl with the beeswax and stir them as they melt to combine them.[8]
    Waterproof clothing Step 7 version 3.jpg
    • You can find beeswax pellets and paraffin wax in your local department store, craft store or by ordering them online.
    • Combining both waxes creates an insoluble, waterproof mixture.
  4. Brush a thick layer of the wax over the fabric with a brush. Take a brush and dip it in the wax mixture in the bowl. Start in a section of clothing and spread a thick layer of wax. Work in sections to apply the wax in an even layer over the entire fabric. Make sure you do not leave any gaps or exposed areas.[9]
    Waterproof clothing Step 8 version 3.jpg
    • Make sure you also get cracks like armpits and inner seams.
  5. Hold a hair dryer over the wax until it melts into the fabric. After applying the wax mixture over the entire jacket, use a hair dryer in high heat and keep it continuously moving over the surface of the clothes for about 5-10 minutes, or until the wax condenses. Move the hair dryer around the clothes to heat and infuse the wax with the fibers in the clothes.[10]
    Waterproof clothing Step 9 version 3.jpg
    • Do not hold the hair dryer over a place for too long, otherwise the wax may become liquid and run off.
  6. Allow the wax to cool and apply more on uneven spots. The wax mixture begins to harden within a few minutes, so wait until it dries and inspect the clothes. Look for any patches that are missing the wax and parts with uneven layers. Add more wax to fill in or even out any areas, if needed.[11]
    Waterproof clothing Step 10 version 3.jpg
    • If the wax in the bowl has started to harden, heat the pan on the things to melt it again.
  7. Let the clothes harden for 24 hours. Hang the clothes or place them on a clean surface in a well-ventilated area to help the wax harden and cure evenly. Wait a whole day before wearing the clothes so that the wax can completely melt with the fibers.[12]
    Waterproof clothing Step 11 version 3.jpg
    • If the wax is still really moist and sticky after 24 hours, wait another 12 hours to allow it to harden.

[[[[Edit]Soaking in a waterproofing solution

  1. Use powder detergent and alum to waterproof all fabrics. Soaking clothes in a water-soluble soap and a salt such as aluminum potassium sulfate or alum causes a reaction that forms a waterproof layer over the clothing surface. Use a standard detergent in powdered detergent that has no extra odors or chemicals and powdered alum to create your solution.[13]
    Waterproof clothing Step 12 version 3.jpg
    • Waterproofing with alum and detergent takes more time than applying a DWR coating but is just as effective.
    • Liquid detergent has other chemicals added to keep it in its liquid form that can leave an oily residue on clothes, so go with unscented powdered detergent.
    • Look for powdered alum at your local home improvement store, department store or by ordering it online.
  2. Wash and dry the fabric you want waterproof. Run your clothes through a wash and dry cycle to remove oil residues and dirt from the surface. It is important that the fibers are clean so that they can better absorb the waterproofing solution.[14]
    Waterproof clothing Step 13 version 3.jpg
  3. Combine warm water and 500 g of detergent. Heat a pot of water on the stove until it boils and then remove it from the heat so that it stops bubbling. Carefully pour it into a large bucket and add the detergent to the water. Use a wooden spoon or other tool to stir the water and combine it with the soap.[15]
    Waterproof clothing Step 14 version 3.jpg
    • Be careful not to burn yourself with the hot water.
    • Hot water helps the soap to combine and loosen the fibers in the clothes, which means that they absorb the detergent more efficiently.
  4. Immerse the fabric in the liquid so that it is saturated. Put the clothes in the bucket and use your wooden spoon to push it into the water. Make sure that all clothes are completely saturated in the solution to insert the detergent with the fibers.[16]
    Waterproof clothing Step 15 version 3.jpg
    • By infusing the material with the detergent, a foundation is created for the alum to react and form a waterproof layer.
    • Press down on all parts of the clothing that float to the top of the water.
    • If the clothes continue to float to the top, place a glass in the bucket to keep the material at the bottom.
  5. Hang the clothes to air dry. Carefully pull the clothes out of the bucket and carefully twist it out so that it does not drip too much. Attach the clothes to a clothesline in the sun and let it dry completely. Touch the material with your fingers to see if it is completely dry before taking it down.[17]
    Waterproof clothing Step 16 version 3.jpg
    • When the clothes dry, the water-soluble soap is added to the fabric, so it is really important that it is completely dry.
  6. Mixture of hot water and .25 kg (1 cup) alum. Boil a pot of warm water and remove it from the heat so that it stops bubbling before carefully pouring it into your bucket. Add your powdered alum to the water and stir well to combine.[18]
    Waterproof clothing Step 17 version 3.jpg
  7. Soak the clothes in the solution for 2.5 hours. Lower your clothes back into the bucket with the alum solution. Wait at least 2.5 hours for the alum to react with the water-soluble soap to form a waterproof coating.[19]
    Waterproof clothing Step 18 version 3.jpg
    • Make sure that the clothes remain completely immersed at all times.
    • When the clothes fall, the alum in the solution reacts with the chemicals in the detergent and forms a waterproof layer over the fabric.
  8. Let the clothes air dry before wearing it. Take the clothes out of the solution and hang on a clothesline in the sun to dry it out and let the coating put in the fibers. When the clothes are dry, you are good to go! Remove it from the clothesline and wear it or store it until you are ready to wear it.[20]
    Waterproof clothing Step 19 version 3.jpg


  • If you have clothes that were already waterproof but have lost their water resistance, use a DWR spray to coat it again. Wax and alum may not be able to penetrate the existing waterproof layer.


  • Be careful not to burn yourself with the hot water if you wet your clothes.

[[[[Edit]Things you need

[[[[Edit]Spray a waterproof coating

  • DWR coating spray
  • Cardboard
  • Clean cloth

[[[[Edit]Wax the clothes

  • Saucepan
  • metal Bowl
  • beeswax Pellets
  • Paraffin
  • paintbrush
  • Hair dryer

[[[[Edit]Soaking in a waterproofing solution

  • Unstuffed detergent in powder form
  • aluminum powder
  • Large bucket
  • Wooden spoon (or other stirring tool)


  1. https://youtu.be/eub7T0Yn_yA?t=10
  2. https://www.myopencountry.com/how-to-care-for-dwr/
  3. https://youtu.be/eub7T0Yn_yA?t=114
  4. https://youtu.be/eub7T0Yn_yA?t=231
  5. https://youtu.be/eub7T0Yn_yA?t=367
  6. https://www.treadmagazine.com/gear/waterproof-your-clothes-by-waxing/
  7. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-waterproof-fabric/
  8. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-waterproof-fabric/
  9. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-waterproof-fabric/
  10. https://www.treadmagazine.com/gear/waterproof-your-clothes-by-waxing/
  11. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-waterproof-fabric/
  12. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-waterproof-fabric/
  13. http://www.freepatentsonline.com/2046305.html
  14. https://www.fabricers.com/how-to-waterproof-fabric-at-home/
  15. https://www.fabricers.com/how-to-waterproof-fabric-at-home/
  16. https://www.fabricers.com/how-to-waterproof-fabric-at-home/
  17. https://www.fabricers.com/how-to-waterproof-fabric-at-home/
  18. https://www.fabricers.com/how-to-waterproof-fabric-at-home/
  19. http://www.freepatentsonline.com/2046305.html
  20. https://www.fabricers.com/how-to-waterproof-fabric-at-home/

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