The 5 best fabric protectors to safeguard everything from outdoor furniture to shoes

By Katie Decker-Jacoby

It's easy to fumble your food or spill a drink and stain that pristine rug or couch. Similarly, walking through mud or in an unexpected downpour can ruin new shoes fast. But with fabric protectors, you don't have to throw your hands up in defeat. Instead, be proactive and protect your belongings before accidents even occur. 

In general, fabric protectors are meant to prevent spills from quickly absorbing into materials. Some heavy-duty fabric protectors can even shield your outdoor furniture, clothing, and gear from the elements, while others are specifically designed with shoes and tricky materials like suede and leather in mind. 

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Scotchguard Fabric Water Shield
This fabric protector even works on dry clean-only fabrics like silk and wool.
Amazon

What we like: Dries clear and odorless, repels water-based spills, can be used on many interior surfaces, can also be used on clothing and shoes 

This fabric protector from Scotchguard takes rank because it can be sprayed on a wide range of surfaces. You can use it on upholstery, curtains, pillows, backpacks, luggage, and even shirts, dresses, suits, outerwear, and canvas shoes. 

But you should note that this product is for indoor use only and isn't heavy-duty enough to protect outdoor furniture. Just one 13.5-ounce can cover an average-sized couch, two chairs, or five jackets. And if you're worried about how it applies, the fabric protector dries clear and odorless. All you have to do is spray from six inches away and let it dry. For the best results, be sure to reapply after each time you wash the fabric. 

$9.98 from Amazon
Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield Lead Image
You can even apply this fabric protector to canvas tarps and boat covers.
Amazon

What we like: Endures weather, works on outdoor materials, reapply seasonally 

Whether you're heading out into the backwoods or you expect your patio furniture to face serious downpours, consider this heavy-duty fabric protector. You may be wondering how this heavy-duty fabric protector differs from one that's meant for outdoor furniture. The distinction is that this heavy-duty one is formulated to keep your clothes and outdoor gear drier for longer. An improved formula builds an even more durable water barrier.

Spritz this on heavy outerwear, rain gear, umbrellas, patio furniture, outdoor gear, backpacks, luggage, canvas tarps, boat covers, and more. It also works on a wide range of materials, including polyester, nylon, polypropylene, cotton, leather, and suede. 

Drying clear and odorless, one can covers 60 square feet of light nylon or 20 square feet on heavier fabrics. For even more protection from the elements, you can apply a second coat. Just make sure to allow for the recommended two to six hours of drying time.

$10.48 from Amazon
Cadillac Shield Water and Stain
You only have to wait 30 minutes for the product to dry.
Amazon

What we like: Specifically great for shoes, can be applied to various surfaces, won't darken colors, short drying period

There are several fabric protectors that are suitable for shoes, but this one from Cadillac guarantees it will waterproof your shoes. Although it does also work on other surfaces and materials, it's best for protecting suede, nubuck, leather, nylon, polyester, canvas, and synthetic fabrics. You can spritz this on all colors without fear of accidentally darkening them, and it also protects seams and leather soles.

Aside from defending your shoes against rain, puddles, and other water damage, it also repels dirt, grass, oils. To get the most out of this fabric protector, you'll want to apply it regularly on dry and clean fabrics. There's only a 30-minute drying period, and then you repeat the process for a quick one-hour application process. Bear in mind that this fabric protector is not compatible with patent leather or vinyls. 

$9.99 from Amazon