How to Make a Waterproof Coating for Fabric

Updated February 21, 2017

If you are someone who enjoys being in the great outdoors, you might want to consider applying a waterproof barrier to the fabric of your outer garments. Doing this will not only keep you dry, but will make your outdoor experience more enjoyable, rain or shine. You can make almost any fabric item repel water by applying a durable water repellent spray (more commonly known as a DWR). This spray, when applied to the exterior of your clothes, will make them waterproof until the next time you wash the item, at which point you can reapply the coating.

Set your fabric piece of clothing onto a flat covered surface.

Shake the can (if you are using a spray bottle this isn't necessary) and begin to spray the fabric. Hold the nozzle of the spray bottle about 15 inches away from the fabric.

Coat the entire area that you wish to make waterproof with an even layer of the DWR spray. Let the fabric sit for 2 minutes to allow the spray to soak in and then wipe off any excess with a damp cloth.

Examine the fabric to make sure no parts have been missed. You can test if the item is water repellent by spraying water onto its surface. The water should bead off the item if you have correctly applied an adequate amount of spray.


If you notice your waterproof garment has begun to absorb water instead of repelling it, chances are that the DWR layer has worn away. When this happens, use a DWR spray or detergent to reactivate this necessary repellent layer.

Things You'll Need

  • DWR Spray
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About the Author

Elyse James began writing professionally in 2006 after deciding to pursue a career in journalism. She has written for "The Algonquin Times" as a general assignment reporter and published blogs and articles on Webcitybeat. James holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Ottawa.