How To Waterproof Fabric

With the convenience of modern waterproofing sprays on the market today, it’s hard to stay mindful of the impact these chemicals have on the environment. Lets uncover the best natural waterproofer below.

How to Waterproof Canvas Fabric

For those of us averse to long articles about the pro’s and cons of modern waterproofing products. A quick process synopsis will suffice.

  • First, grab yourself some Canvas Wax and a hairdryer.
  • Second, make sure to thoroughly clean your article before application.
  • Third, rub the wax bar in even strokes across the article, making sure to create an even coating.
  • Fourth, use a hairdryer to heat the canvas and continue the application process until the appearance looks even.
  • Fifth, leave your article to dry in a warm dry place for 24 hours.

Is Scotchgard Safe

Messy stains and accidents will happen and 3M has long helped us avoid these with a convenient aerosol spray. 3M Scotchgard has long been the fabric waterproofing spray of choice for your upholstery and carpets but the marketers at 3M have expanded their aerosol into products for camping gear and outerwear. Consequently, this industry stalwart can be found on store shelves worldwide, but at what cost?

 Almost all new synthetic carpets, fabrics, and outerwear are treated with a stain protective layer added by the manufacturer. But, as we all know, it only takes one wash to leave you wet and out in the cold, or looking through your cupboard for that spray bottle. This maddening process is making 3M millions and making Scotchgard the number one choice of retailers. The instructions recommend re-application after every cleaning. This equates to tons of aerosol chemicals being released into the atmosphere every year. So, let’s dive into what chemicals are present in aerosol waterproofing agents. Starting with some interesting discoveries by Laurie at Hunker.


Let’s start with some of the ingredients revealed by the 3M Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for Scotchgard.

Scotchgard Ingredients

  • Acetone
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Light alkylate petroleum naphtha
  • Fluorochemical urethane

How to Apply 3M Scotchgard

  • Keep Scotchgard away from hot surfaces, heat, or sparks
  • Do not smoke when applying it
  • Do not spray it onto flames or another source of ignition
  • Do no breathe its dust, fumes, mist, vapors, gas, or spray
  • Always use in a well-ventilated area or outdoors
  • Dispose of containers safely; do not throw them into a fire or pierce the container

Are Aerosols Dangerous?

Acetone: The Delaware Health and Social Services Administration caution, breathing moderately to high amounts of acetone for a short amount of time can irritate your nose, throat, lungs, and eyes. It can also cause headaches, dizziness, confusion, a faster pulse, nausea, vomiting, effects on the blood, passing out and possible coma, and a shorter menstrual cycle in women.


Carbon Dioxide: Widely known as a primary cause of global warming, exposure to CO2 can produce a variety of health effects. These may include headaches, dizziness, restlessness, tingling or pins or needles feeling, difficulty breathing, sweating, tiredness, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, coma, asphyxia, and convulsions. Wisconsin Department of Health.

Isopropyl Alcohol: Repeated contact can cause a skin rash, itching, dryness, and redness. Inhaling Isopropyl Alcohol can irritate the nose and throat. Repeated high exposure can cause headaches, dizziness, confusion, loss of coordination, unconsciousness, and even death. Check out nj.gov for more info.

Alkylate Petroleum Naphtha: Extremely flammable. Irritating to eyes and respiratory system. Affects the central nervous system. Harmful or fatal if swallowed. Aspiration Hazard. Naptha causes brain damage. Read more about their study of automotive worker’s exposure to naphtha in this article by R F White and the NIH.


Fluorochemical Urethane: Fluorochemicals have known correlations with harmful health effects, such as cancer, increased cholesterol, and a weaker immune system in children. They can also decrease men’s and women’s ability to reproduce, and the chemicals can be transferred from mother to child during pregnancy and through breastmilk. For more, check out this article by the Technical University of Denmark.

Whats the Best Waterproofing Spray

If you enjoy living a long, healthy life and you want to keep the environment safe for future generations, the best waterproofing spray might be bar-shaped. Furthermore, a weatherproofing bar is made with natural beeswax and TYLOL from a reputable company like Hawk Tools.

Canvas Wax Ingredients:

  • Beeswax: Natural beeswax has been used for centuries by English and Norwegian seafarers and explorers to waterproof clothing and sails. That said, Paraffin became a less expensive substitute at the turn of the century.
  • Pine Tar: Native American peoples have been using pine rosin for centuries to waterproof canoes and clothing to great effect. It’s simply pine sap that is harvested by heating and rendering pine branches.
  • HT Proprietary Blend: Hawk Tools blends its own environmentally friendly waxes and oils for the best possible weatherproofing performance. Remember, never use a blend that contains toxic thinners or PFC’s!
  • TYLOL: A naturally derived compound that binds traditional fabric wax to modern synthetic fibers for the best of modern and classic weatherproofing technologies.

Natural Waterproofer Benefits

Fabric Weatherproofing Products Outdoor Pic

Natural Fabric Weatherproofing is easily rubbed onto any synthetic or natural fiber cloth material for years of rainproof performance. For detailed instructions, check out this article about canvas wax. Unlike toxic aerosols that are inhaled and permanently poison the environment, fabric wax contains no harsh chemicals, instead, relying on nature’s finest materials for longer-lasting adhesion and abrasion resistance. Seriously, a three hundred percent increase in abrasion resistance as stated in Max Moon’s article. Additionally, fabric weatherproofer penetrates deep into fibers, saturating the material and preventing any foreign fluids or stains from getting through. Conversely, aerosol spray only coats the surface of your fabric. So, you will have to re-apply frequently and expose your lungs and skin to even more toxic chemicals. Finally, if you like the classic look, smell, and performance of a better kind of fabric waterproofing, check out Hawk Tools Canvas Wax.

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3 thoughts on “How To Waterproof Fabric Naturally”

    1. Andrew Kowlenski

      It’s almost criminal how companies hide this from us. I ordered two bars and can’t wait to get waxin’

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