The DIY Designer: How to waterproof and repel stains on fabric


Authored By rainonatinroofblog

I have a secret.

A dirty little secret.


If you have visited my blog before, you may have toured my dining room. If you looked closely, you may have realized that you never really saw the chairs that well-specifically, the chair cushions.

See, the thing is … well … they were gross. In fact, they were borderline disgusting.

Most of it is thanks to the 2-year-old who has had more than one food mishap on the seat-thus why I hadn’t reupholstered them. I didn’t want to spend all that time and money on them when the circus would have them destroyed in 2.0 seconds flat.

At fabric stores, I drooled over potential options-impatiently waiting for the day when my dining room chairs could shine once more.

And then, I found the miracle tool. The one tool that would make my chairs shine again. The tool that would waterproof my upholstery and repel stains on it-Thompson’s Fabric Seal spray.

This could quite possibly be one of the easiest, yet most valuable DIY projects of all time-for me and my circus of a 2-year-old, anyway.

Because I was reupholstering my chairs, I applied the spray after I had cut out the squares of fabric and before I put them on the chairs. However, you can totally apply the spray over an already-upholstered piece or pillow. 

Simply give each piece a coat of the fabric seal. You may want to do a test spray on a small piece of the fabric first to make sure it doesn’t change the color. (Mine was fine-no color change.) You are spraying this on the RIGHT-side-up of the fabric, not on the back.

You don’t want to saturate the pieces-just give them a nice, even coat. Let them dry for four hours, then give each piece another coat. Let it dry for four more hours, but wait 24 hours before exposing to moisture. At the end of the 24-hour period, test to see whether you need more coats. Do this by flipping some water on the fabric.

See those little bubbles of water? That means the fabric is sealed. If it weren’t sealed, the water would have seeped into the fabric. If the water doesn’t “bubble,” give the fabric another coat.

It took almost two cans for me to seal six pieces of large-sized square-cut pieces of fabric.

After I reupholstered my cushions, I tested out the stain and spill repellent-ness of the fabric seal.

I took Coke and poured a little on one of the cushions.

See that bubbling? It repelled the liquid! I used a paper towel to soak up the Coke. Afterward, there was no stain in sight.

It is recommended that you reapply the seal after any cleanings and annually.

This wonder product can be found at Lowe’s and on Amazon.

Right now, I’m in the process of using this spray on the fabric on my porch and deck. What about you? What are your favorite products to seal, waterproof or clean fabrics?

Jenna LaFevor rants on at Rain on a Tin Roof about DIY projects, junk d├ęcor, thrifty finds, crafty creations and other decorating dilemmas. She went to UTC, where she got a teaching degree that now collects dust. When she isn’t trying to keep her kid from climbing out of the circus ring or making sure her husband’s shirts are taken to the dry cleaners so she gets out of ironing, she can be found with a paintbrush in one hand and a cheap beer in the other. But if you’re buying, she’ll have a cosmopolitan. You can email her at [email protected]; or you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter @raintinroofblog or at her blog. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not or its employees.