Which waterproof spray is best?

Whether you want to protect your camping gear, outdoor wear, patio furniture, shoes or nearly anything else from the rain, waterproof sprays are excellent. They’re easy to apply, dry quickly and, in most cases, offer long-lasting protection. 

Before purchasing a waterproof spray, make sure it is suitable for the material you are trying to protect — some sprays are less versatile than others. This is one of the things that makes Scotchgard Heavy-Duty Water Shield a great choice. It can be used on nearly any kind of material, from nylon to leather, without causing damage or discoloration. It also doesn’t affect breathability.

What to know before you buy a waterproof spray

Uses

Before purchasing any spray, carefully read the product details to ensure it will work as you want. For example, not all are safe for use on leather or suede. Others may not be suitable for indoor applications such as protecting a couch or for clothes that will be in constant contact with your skin.

Application

Aerosol sprays are the easiest to apply evenly and quickly, especially when covering a large area. This is important both for convenience and to ensure proper coverage. Uneven application may result in areas of fabric that don’t end up with enough water resistance. 

Before you start applying any spray, read the directions carefully. Spraying usually entails holding the can anywhere from 8 to 12 inches away from the fabric and moving it in a slow, sweeping motion. Some sprays might also recommend two applications for optimal water resistance. 

Discoloration

When you first apply a waterproof spray, it may appear to darken the fabric and cause discoloration. Don’t worry — your fabric should return to its original color as the spray dries. That said, it is always wise to test the spray on a small, unnoticeable spot to see how your fabric reacts before applying it everywhere. Make sure to wait for the spray to dry fully before deciding that it doesn’t cause any kind of permanent discoloration.

What to look for in a quality waterproof spray

Base

Waterproof sprays have either a water or a silicone base.

  • Water-based: Many people prefer water-based formulas because they can be made without solvents, take less time to dry and can be applied indoors if needed. 
  • Silicone-based: These are more durable and generally offer longer-lasting protection after a single application. The downside is they contain solvents, which may irritate the skin, and should only be applied outdoors or in well-ventilated spaces. They are also flammable until the solvent fully dries and evaporates.

Longevity

How long a spray’s protection lasts after a single application varies. Some  require reapplication in as little as a couple of months while others last for a year or more. Silicone-based repellents almost always last longer than water-based ones, so these are your best choice if you want to go as long as possible before having to reapply the spray. Keep in mind that the more often a material is exposed to water, the quicker the protection from a waterproof spray wears off.

Coverage

If you are purchasing a waterproof spray to coat a couple of pairs of shoes, the amount of coverage in a bottle probably won’t be a deciding factor in your choice. Every container will provide more than enough coverage.

On the other hand, if you are trying to protect an outdoor patio umbrella, a tent or another large piece of fabric, make sure to check the amount of coverage you can expect to ensure it will meet your needs.  

Additional protection

In addition to waterproofing, some sprays offer protection against stains and sun damage.

How much you can expect to spend on a waterproof spray

Most waterproof sprays cost $5-$20 per container, which can be anywhere from 8 to 16 ounces.

Waterproof spray FAQ

Do waterproof sprays leave behind an odor?

A. They may have a strong smell when first applied, but it should completely dissipate within a day or two.

How long do waterproofing sprays take to dry?

A. It varies. Some are fully dry in just two to three hours, while some silicone-based sprays can take up to 48 hours. On nearly all sprays, the required drying time is printed on the container or in the instructions.

What’s the best waterproof spray to buy?

Top waterproof spray

Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield

Scotchgard Heavy-Duty Water Shield

What you need to know: Ideal for everything from outerwear to outdoor gear to patio furniture, this is a versatile spray that can keep almost all your stuff well protected.

What you’ll love: It dries fully in less than six hours and is effective at protecting against mold and stains on items constantly exposed to water.

What you should consider: It needs to be reapplied seasonally. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Top waterproof spray for the money

KIWI Boot Waterproofer

Kiwi Boot Waterproofer

What you need to know: If you need a particularly resilient silicone-based waterproof spray for footwear, this is a top choice.

What you’ll love: It’s designed to bond to leather and fabric for long-lasting protection. But it still lets the material breathe so your feet don’t wind up getting sweaty.

What you should consider: It sometimes leaves items with a darker, richer tone.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Grangers Performance Repel Plus

Grangers Performance Repel Plus

What you need to know: This eco-friendly choice gives items a water-repellent coating while being free of fluorocarbons and volatile organic compounds, so you can feel good about using it.

What you’ll love: It doesn’t leave behind any noticeable film or smell.

What you should consider: It is not intended for use on suede. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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