Home Remedies for Waterproofing a Coat

Updated April 14, 2017

While there are various products on the market, there are home remedies for waterproofing a coat as well. Using natural products is not only cost-efficient but it reduces environmental impact as well. Natural products reduce waste in landfills and do not emit harmful chemicals into the air. If you are sensitive to chemical ingredients in the spray-on or wash-in products, natural remedies are definitely preferable.


The most effective natural waterproofing product is beeswax. Whether gathered directly from the hive or purchased from a store, it is necessary to clarify the wax prior to applying it to your coat. This is achieved by placing the wax in boiling water. Beeswax will float on top and any impurities will sink to the bottom. Application is time-consuming but simple. After washing and drying the coat, seal all seams with the wax from the inside. Rub the beeswax over the entire surface, ensuring complete coverage. Beeswax will leave a slightly greyed appearance as it is applied. Although not as effective as chemical-based products, beeswax has proven to be an effective means of waterproofing fabric.

Soybean Oil

Soybean oil has been used in China for hundreds of years for many applications -- cooking, illumination, lubrication -- and it's still used for waterproofing fabrics. The Chinese have been exporting soy products since the early 20th century. By mixing soybean oil with turpentine -- 1 part turpentine and 2 parts soybean oil -- an old-time home remedy for waterproofing is concocted. Mix the liquids thoroughly and pour the mixture into a spray can. Spray the surface of the coat, covering it evenly. Alternatively, you can use a paintbrush for application of the soybean oil/turpentine mixture. Allow the fabric to dry.


Alum was used to waterproof the tunics of French soldiers during the Crimean War. In 2011, the process is slightly different. The French soldiers used 1.02 Kilogram of alum dissolved in 10 gallons of water. After dissolving 102 Kilogram of lead-sugar in 10 gallons of water, the two mixtures were combined. Lead sugar is not readily available in large quantities, so it has been eliminated from the process. Pour 2 gallons of hot water into a large container. Add 1 pound of powdered washing powder. Place the coat into the hot, soapy mixture and soak it until it is fully saturated. Hang the coat in the sun and allow it to dry. Pour 2 gallons of hot water in another large container. Add 1/2 pound of alum to the hot water. Place the coat into the alum mixture and allow it to soak until it is fully saturated. Allow the coat to sit in the alum mixture for two to four hours. Remove the coat, and hang it out to dry.

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About the Author

Lenna Allen began her writing career for her college newspaper in 1999. Allen is a marketing specialist and freelance writer for several online publishers including Allen holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication and digital technology from Washington State University.