Homemade Water Repellent for Fabric

Jonathan McLelland

Waterproofing favorite fabric items allows you the flexibility to either perform work in wet environments without the fear of drenching your clothing or safeguard certain fabrics from the threat of mold development due to excess moisture.

Waterproofing a fabric can be done without the need to purchase expensive chemicals.

Fabrics constantly surrounded by water and humidity, such as cloth shower curtains, benefit greatly from water repellents. While fabric water repellents are available for purchase, making your own homemade fabric water repellent may save you money and time.


Make sure to spray not only the center but the edges of the fabric in the soya bean oil/turpentine mixture.


Do not apply this mixture to sensitive fabrics, such as silk, as the ingredients found in the aforementioned homemade water repellent may damage colors and the fabric fibers' integrity.

  1. Shave 1 pound of laundry detergent soap into a 5-gallon bucket using a cheese grater.

  2. Pour 3 gallons of hot water into the bucket and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until all of the soap shavings have dissolved into the water.

  3. Put on latex cleaning gloves and place the fabric you wish to become water-repellent into the bucket.

  4. Hang the fabric over a shower rod to dry for 30 minutes once it has been thoroughly soaked in the mixture.

  5. Dip the fabric into the detergent/water mixture a second time and allow it to dry completely.

  6. Pour 4 ounces soya bean oil into the second bucket.

  7. Slowly add in 2 ounces turpentine. Gently stir the turpentine into the oil while pouring to ensure that the ingredients are properly combined.

  8. Pour the turpentine and oil solution into a spray bottle and spray a coat of the mixture over the now-dry fabric.

  9. Allow the first coating of turpentine and oil to dry for 15 minutes before spraying an additional coat. Allow the material to dry completely before using it.