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Best Overall: Otter Wax Fabric & Canvas Wax at Amazon
"It's non-toxic and has neither silicone nor petroleum in it."
Best for Outdoors: Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent at Amazon
"Works on tents, boots, hunting apparel, backpacks, boat covers, and more."
Best for Suede: Scotchgard Suede & Nubuck Protector at Amazon
"Helps easily repel both water and oil on suede and nubuck."
Best for Leather: Chamberlain’s Leather Milk Formula No. 3 at Amazon
"Easy to apply, restores leather to like-new condition, and keeps it protected from water."
Best for Down: Grangers Wash + Repel Down 2-in-1 at Amazon
"Will give your down jacket or sleeping bag another season."
Best for Delicates: Scotchgard Fabric & Upholstery Protector at Amazon
"Safe to use on delicate or dry-clean-only fabrics."
"You get a boot and shoe cleaner, suede and fabric water repellent, a brush, and an eraser."
Best for Big Jobs: StarBrite Waterproofing Spray at Amazon
"A great way to extend the life of expensive and often-used gear."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Otter Wax Fabric & Canvas Wax
This Portland, Ore.-based company is disrupting the chemical-based waterproofing industry with all-natural bars of fabric wax. And although it might not be the right pick for a base camp in Everest, it’ll do just fine to use on things in your everyday life: your trendy new canvas bucket hat, backpacks, and denim. Best of all, there’s very little guilt involved with this bar, as it's non-toxic and has neither silicone nor petroleum in it. Just rub the bar into the dry, clean fabric, then smooth out the wax to create a seal and let it dry for at least 24 hours. Keep in mind that there will be some effect on the material, with a little more of a distressed look, and it’ll be best to use a brush to clean the piece, rather than a washing machine — so it might be better for your canvas market tote than your designer jeans.
Best for Outdoors: Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent
Made for pretty much anything in the outdoors, this industry leader in waterproofing spray makes a water repellent that works on tents, boots, hunting apparel, backpacks, boat covers, and more. Just be sure to start the waterproofing process a good 48 or more hours before you actually need the item to be protected: it'll need at least 24 hours and up to 48 to dry, with three to four hours’ drying time between each coat. If you plan to spray a tent, the can will cover an area of 540 square feet (though multiple layers of the spray might be necessary). Just keep it away from little ones: although the product description says it's odor-free, there tends to be a bit of an odor while the spray is still wet, and it should go away once the item is dry.
Best for Suede: Scotchgard Suede & Nubuck Protector
Uggs and other suede boots may be soft and cozy, but without proper protection, they'll get stained and soggy after the first bit of snow or rain. And they’re a little high maintenance, as this type of leather needs a different product than what you’d normally use on smoother leather. Enter Scotchgard: this product helps easily repel both water and oil on suede and nubuck. Rather than layers of coverage, you just need one coat of this before you let it dry. That being said, you’ll need to reapply the spray every six months (or as the repellency wears off). Cans will cover about two pairs of heavier boots or four pairs of lighter shoes, so plan your purchase accordingly.
Best for Leather: Chamberlain’s Leather Milk Formula No. 3
Chamberlain’s line of leather products is highly regarded, and this water repellant and protector doesn’t disappoint, either. It's easy to apply, restores leather to like-new condition, and keeps it protected from water — meaning a gust of wind isn’t even going to soak through. The formula is a non-sticky cream that’s easy to apply and deeply conditions leather with natural oils and waxes, melting into the material. Plus it’s also great if you just have old leather that needs a boost — it can cover scratches and scars on leather. Not only can you use it on jackets, gloves, and boots, but it works on leather sofas and other indoor objects, too. One word of warning: it’s not safe to use on suede and nubuck. A bigger, 12-ounce size is available, too.
Best for Down: Grangers Wash + Repel Down 2-in-1
You won't have to take your down coat to the dry cleaner with this genius cleaning product that'll save you time and money — and give your down jacket or sleeping bag another season, no matter if it’s down or synthetic. Just use it like regular detergent, and it’ll give your expensive items a safe wash, plus add lift back into the down. It’s also Bluesign certified, signaling that it’s an eco-friendly product. It'll do its job, but should you not love it, Grangers offers a money-back satisfaction guarantee. Use about one capful to clean a sleeping bag — just keep in mind that the bottle is small, so if you’re going to wash a full load of down jackets and sleeping bags, you might want to grab a couple more.
Best for Delicates: Scotchgard Fabric & Upholstery Protector
If you have a silk scarf or bomber jacket that needs waterproofing, or a dry-clean-only jacket that needs to be able to stand up to rain, Scotchgard has a spray that the company says is safe to use on delicate or dry-clean-only fabrics. The application is one-step — you don’t have to constantly go over the material with different coats — and it dries quickly, too. Just keep in mind the size of the task at hand: one bottle will cover a couch or five jackets. And, if you give your items a wash before putting them in storage at the end of the season, you’ll want to use the waterproofing spray again the next time you wear them. Note that it’s not safe for leather.
Best Kit: Gear Aid Revivex Suede & Fabric Boot Care Kit
If you’re splurging on a pair of expensive winter or fall boots, it’s worth a little extra money to protect them so they stay both intact and looking great for a few years to come. Consider this kit from Gear Aid a lifesaver: you get a boot and shoe cleaner, suede and fabric water repellent, a brush, and an eraser that makes scuffs disappear. It works on nubuck, suede, leather, and waterproof-breathable fabrics, including Uggs and Bearpaw boots as well as light-colored shoes — it’s a dream at getting out stains, even ones that have set in. The products all work together to make beat-up items look new again, saving you a little extra cash as you get another season or two out of them. Users report success with a variety of shoes, from Birkenstock sandals to Merrills and Guccis.
Best for Big Jobs: StarBrite Waterproofing Spray
If you have a few boat covers to waterproof — or if you have a family’s worth of jackets, backpacks, and boots to get through — this massive jug of waterproofing spray might be your best bet. It doesn’t just waterproof the fabric, it protects it against stains and UV rays, too, making this spray a great way to extend the life of expensive and often-used gear. Although most customers use this for big projects at home (porch awnings and boat covers), the formula works safely on canvas, nylon, Sunbrella fabrics, cotton, polyester, and leather, so you also might get some use out of it back home for a car cover or patio umbrella cover. Just keep in mind that this jug doesn’t come with a spray nozzle.