If you’re looking for a quick, cheap and reliable DIY waterproofing solution, here are three methods that really work. I personally tested these solutions and I can definitely confirm you can use them to waterproof anything.
Why use homemade waterproofing solutions?
Sometimes, you may need to waterproof certain items but you don’t have the time to go to the local shop and buy waterproofing spray or other solutions. Or maybe you live in the middle of nowhere and you have to rely on what you’ve got around the house.
Excellent waterproofing solutions are often pretty expensive. Not to mention they’re also toxic. If you don’t want to cough up a lot of money to waterproof your tent, boat cover, rain jacket or other items, you can successfully use one of the three solutions listed in this guide.
What are the best homemade waterproofing solutions to use? You can use a simple homemade waterproofing solution based on mineral spirits and clear silicon to waterproof basically anything. If you need to waterproof natural fibers, you can use wax or a liquid solution of linseed, beeswax and rosin.
Best DIY homemade waterproofing solutions
Method 1: Make your own homemade silicone waterproofing solution
What you’ll need:
- A bottle of mineral spirits
- A plastic container with a lid
- Clear silicon caulk
- A paint brush
For this one, you need a bottle of mineral spirits (also known as white spirit or mineral turpentine). This liquid solution is actually a paint thinner — that clear liquid you use as a solvent in painting. If your paint, lacquer and varnish is too thick and you can’t apply it properly, this liquid will make it thinner.
Next, you’ll need a container made of plastic that also has a lid to it. If you don’t have one, you can use a small plastic bucket or something similar to mix all the ingredients. Pour the paint thinner into your plastic container.
The final ingredient is a tube of clear silicon caulking. Add the silicone to your mineral spirits and start stirring. Keep stirring up the two ingredients until you’ve dissolved the silicone completely.
If you’ve got a container that has a lid, secure the lid in place and start shaking the solution for about 10 minutes. You want the solution to be perfectly mixed.
Grab a regular pain brush and apply your homemade waterproofing solution on the items that you want to render water repellent. Make sure to apply a thin coat of waterproofing solution.
Leave your items overnight to dry out. Ideally, you should wait between 24 and 48 hours depending on the type of mineral spirits and silicone you used, as well as the thickness of the coat you applied.
⇒ IMPORTANT NOTES
Use it only on synthetic fabric
Keep in mind that you can use this DIY solution on synthetic fabric only. Don’t use it on natural fibers such as cotton, wool or leather. If you’re looking for a homemade waterproofing solution for cotton, check out our guide on how to make t-shirts waterproof.
Don’t apply too much solution
It’s better to apply a second waterproofing coating rather than applying too dense a solution. If you apply too much solution, the end result won’t be that aesthetically pleasant. Moreover, the coating might peel off after a few days. As they say, less is more.
How long will this solution last?
There is no precise answer, it all depends on the type of usage. For example, this solution will last for 2 to 3 years on a tent, 1 to 2 year on a boat cover and, of course, less on a rain jacket or backpack.
How do I get rid of the smell?
The only disadvantage of using this method is that it smells. Yes, even if you use odorless mineral spirits. This should not be a problem as long as you can leave your stuff outside or in a well ventilated area. However, if you’re about to embark on a flight, this might be a problem due to the mineral spirits smell.
Patience is key here. After a few weeks, the smell will eventually disappear. You can speed up the process by adding essential oil into the mixture.
Method 2: Use candle wax
Another interesting homemade waterproofing alternative involves using candle wax. Unlike the first method, you can use this one to waterproof natural fabrics such as cotton as well.
What you’ll need:
- A candle
- A hairdryer
Take a candle, heat the wax just a tiny bit using the hairdryer and then rub it all over the surface of the objects you want to waterproof. Alternatively, you can also heat the surface of the respective objects first, and then rub the wax. The heat will melt the wax allowing you to apply it more easily. Make sure you apply a nice coat around the edges.
Next, take a hairdryer and use it to dry the wax coat for about 10 minutes or more until the wax has melted into the fabric. Let the wax coating dry for about 5 to 7 hours and you’re ready to go.
- Make sure the wax strokes don’t overlap. You can use your fingers to even it out. If the wax gets cold and sticky and difficult to apply, heat it again.
- This method may effect the color of the fabric in time. More specifically, the area that you wax may become darker.
Method 3: Use Linseed oil
The third method listed in this guide is another natural waterproofing solution, just like solution number 2.
What you’ll need:
- Linseed oil
Make sure to use an equal quantity of beeswax and rosin. For example, if you pour 2 cups of linseed oil, add 2 oz. of beeswax (60 ml) and 2 oz. of rosin (60 ml). Again, if you pour 4 cups of linseed oil, also add 4 oz of beeswax and 4 oz. of rosin.
To create this mixture, you need to heat the beeswax and rosin until they are completely melted. Make sure the two substances have completely mixed together. You can either place the beeswax and rosin in the oven at 250 degrees (ideally) or mix them directly over a gas burner. If you choose the second method, you need to constantly stir up the ingredients.
Next, boil the linseed oil separately. Then, mix the two solutions together and stir for 5 minutes. Once the solution has cooled down, you can start to apply the first coat to the items you want to waterproof. For best results, apply two or three coats.
You can make your own DIY waterproofing solutions. You can fix mineral spirits and silicon caulk and make your own silicone-based waterproofing solution. If you prefer less toxic solutions, you can use candle wax or linseed oil.
If you have any questions of suggestions, feel free to comment below. And by the way, if you tried out other DIY waterproofing methods, do list the steps to follow in the comments.
Updated in October 2021 to add additional information.