How to Waterproof a Raincoat

So, my August sustainability goal was to look through my clothes and to sell, recycle, give away, or make over what needed to go.  (I’m still working on the selling part, but I bagged up a lot of things that don’t fit anymore.) One of the things I have that I know needs a makeover was my raincoat.

I got this raincoat six years ago in New Zealand while I was WWOOFing and it served me really well.  It’s not very stylish, so I mostly wear it and bring it on hikes, camping and for working in the rain.  This happens more than you would think in my life. However, I’ve been noticing for a year that it doesn’t keep me as dry as I would like. So, I decided I could do something about it.

Like all sustainability goals I feel like half the battle is just gathering the materials you need to change your old way of doing things (like trying to get composting).  Here are some of my other sustainability goals too by the way.

Every time I would see a sale on raincoats I would think, oh yeah, I need a new one!  Only to remind myself, I already have one, it just needs new waterproofing.

To do this I gathered these materials:

  1. Raincoat
  2. Bucket
  3. A Drop Cloth
  4. Waterproofing NikWax – I got this at the Sports Authority for $15 dollars.
  5. Watch
  6. Paper Towels

Then I followed this process:

  1. Rinse the (already clean) raincoat in water in a bucket
  2. Lay flat on the drop cloth
  3. Spray coat with waterproofing
  4. Wait two minutes
  5. Wipe off excess waterproofing
  6. Flip coat and repeat steps 2-5 on the other side
  7. Hang up raincoat and allow to fully dry.

Yes, it was that easy. Now I just have to wait for it to rain to test the raincoat out.  Also, were there probably more sustainable ways to do this (like not using harsh chemicals or paper towels)… uh, probably.  But I’ll look into that next time.  For now, I feel pretty good that instead of buying more clothes, I found a way to reuse and improve something I already had.


Author: Beth M

I love new ideas & information, connecting people, and discovering New England adventures.

2 thoughts on “How to Waterproof a Raincoat”

    1. Haha! Totally true and the whole point of this project. Not sure if you’ve noticed but there’s a whole DIY culture devoted to fixing up, repairing or simply making a host of things that you can buy cheaper, easier, and with less glue on your fingers and woodshavings on the floor.

      BUT, there’s the thrill of learning new skills, attempting to keep stuff out of the waste stream, and also bragging about your hard earned lessons!

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