How to Restore Water Resistance to Outdoor Fabric

Item # X-HT-300070

Many outdoor fabrics, like Sunbrella®, are water resistant naturally. But over time, after washing and being pelted by rain, some of that water resistance starts to wear away. One question we get asked a lot is: “Can I restore water resistance to my outdoor fabric?” The answer is: yes, you can! We’ll show you what product to use and when and how to apply it.

303 Fabric Guard will restore water repellency to fabric

You can bring back the water resistance to your outdoor and marine fabrics with a spray-on treatment. Our favorite is 303® Fabric Guard. This product will restore water repellency, protect against stains and provide UV screening without affecting the color, feel or breathability of the fabric. It is safe to use on boat covers, awnings, patio cushions, grill covers and more. In fact, using 303 Fabric Guard on Sunbrella will restore your fabric to 85% to 90% of its original water repellency. And it's for more than just Sunbrella. You can apply Fabric Guard to most synthetic and natural fibers. 303 Fabric Guard should not be used on vinyl, zippers, plastics, rubber, fiberglass or imitation suede, however.

How do you determine when and if your fabric needs to be treated? The best way to tell if your outdoor fabric needs its water repellency restored is to do a quick test. Flick a small amount of water onto the fabric and watch how the water reacts. If the water soaks into the fabric almost immediately, your fabric needs to be re-treated to restore its water repellency. To be diligent with your fabric, you can run this test every couple of months. You should also always re-treat your fabric after a thorough cleaning.

How to Apply 303 Fabric Guard:

  • Thoroughly clean your fabric and let it dry completely before applying 303 Fabric Guard.
  • Test the colorfastness of the material by spraying the Fabric Guard in an inconspicuous area and wiping the area while wet to see if the color transfers.
  • In a well-ventilated area — you should preferably be outside — spray overlapping swaths until the fabric has been evenly misted (two light coats works better than one heavy coat). Be careful to avoid overspray on zippers and clear vinyl as the Fabric Guard will harm these materials. You can tape off zippers and cover vinyl windows with towels to protect these materials from overspray.
  • Allow to air-dry and cure for 8 to 12 hours, depending on weather conditions. Your fabric will dry best in the sun on a hot day.
  • After your fabric is completely dry, mist it with water to test. Water should bead up on the fabric.
Water beads sit on top of a water resistant Sunbrella fabric

Do you use 303 Fabric Guard or a similar product to restore water repellency to your outdoor and marine fabrics? Leave us a comment and share your experiences!