Instructables

Easy waterproof clothing, and about anything else in your world.

Picture of Easy waterproof clothing, and about anything else in your world.
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Water proof about everything.

Needed ingredients.

1. Mineral Spirits
2. 100% clear silicone caulking.

Empty container to mix in and a stir stick.

I used about 1/4 of the silicone tube and the quart of mineral spirits.  If I had more mineral spirits I would have thinned it more.

It's a hindsight thing, pour in the amount of mineral spirits then add silicon until it's almost as thick as water.

A drill with a stirrer makes it a lot easier because it takes a while to break down the caulk.

(edit)  I have found that mixing the Silicon and Mineral Spirits in a plastic water bottle works best.  Put in the ingredients, screw the lid on and shake.  If the bottle has one of the popup drinking spouts, just open it up, squirt out a trail, then use a brush to spread it around.  It will still cure in the bottle so use it or lose it.

Don't use an expensive brush, (I have found that if you work the brush as the silicon on the bristles cures, the brush will still be good for water based paints.  The bristles are sealed so any paints slide right off.  i have not tried oil based apints with a siliconed brush, but silicon is not paintable.

I painted the mixture on an apron as a test.  It did not change the color, nor the texture of the fabric.  Doesn't seem to have added any weight either.

I had plenty left over, so the 2'X4' piece of Luan I used to paint the apron got a coat as well. 

It soaked in almost immediately, so i flipped it over and did the other side as well.

After curing for 2 days, i poured water on both the board and the apron.

The water beaded and ran off.

I still have about a pint left.   (here kitty kitty)

Mineral spirits is not kind to all things, so make sure the material won't be harmed and have fun.

Should be good for all outdoor stuff including patio furniture.

Since the silicone soaks into the fabric and fills the voids and coats the threads, this will probably extend the life of whatever fabric you use it on.

SAFETY NOTICE!  No open flames or smoking.

Enjoy.
Tiggercookies3 months ago

I love that you posted this. But I was wondering is there anyway you could be used in a spray bottle. I have a lot of fabric that news weather proofed for ouroutdoor area and I don't really want to spend an entire year hand painting all of it I'm going to try it on a few scraps first to see how well it works. I was just wanted somebody had already attempted the spray bottle

GrumpyOldGoat (author)  Tiggercookies2 months ago
I have often thought about using a pump sprayer but not sure it could be cleaned adequately to to use it a second time.
I don't know if the mineral spirits would eat the innards to prevent a second use either.

Maybe a cheap 1 qt hand held pump sprayer would be the best to start with so you're not out that much if it doesn't clean well.

If you want to give it a try and post your results back here it would be greatly appreciated by all of the users.

We like new ideas and methods for anything fun.
joeybombstyle5 months ago

Anybody have any idea what kind of effect this has on denim?

GrumpyOldGoat (author)  joeybombstyle5 months ago

It seals it.

Depending on the viscosity of your mixture it will seep into the areas between the threads and lock them in place removing the wear from the threads moving against each other and prolonging the life.

I have one pair of Wranglers that a spill on the front of one leg 5 years ago protected the color from fading nad/or washing out.

skeezell7 months ago
Do you happen to know if lexel will work as well?
GrumpyOldGoat (author)  skeezell7 months ago
I do not know the brand name "lrexel".

Is 'lexel' the Silicon or the thinning agent?
Sorry! I meant Lexel. Its an alternative to silicone caulk.
GrumpyOldGoat (author)  skeezell7 months ago
Try it and let us know. Even if it fails or needs different mixtures.

I'm always up for improvements and new stuff.
Divemaster7 months ago
Interesting instructable. I have a question for you Grumpy. In Greece I can't find Minerall spirits, but I can find white spirits. Wil I get the same waterproofing results by using white spirit instead of Mineral spirits. Thanks in advance.
GrumpyOldGoat (author)  Divemaster7 months ago
The only thing I can say is try it and see.

You may try a paint store instead of a mass marketer just to ask.

I have no idea of what, or why, they name stuff differently than what (I consider) the normal name.

Like "aluminium" instead of the (correct) "Aluminum".

I think that when it crosses our borders it changes slightly to become an entirely different metal with different names.
Soose9 months ago
Thanks so much for this idea and for making it so easy to follow. :)

I'm hoping you have accumulated a little more data on your waterproof apron since posting this Instructable. I'd like to try this on a fabric project -- if it's safe and durable for my application. The fabric would need to be safe for skin contact, be washable, and hold its waterproof quality through many washes.

I am full of questions:

Is it safe to wash your waterproof fabric in the machine with other clothes once the silicone has cured? (Is it going to ruin other non-treated fabrics or the washing machine?)

How would the fabric respond to detergents in the wash?

Does the waterproof property wear off over several washes?

Does the silicone make fabric more - or less -- flammable?

How quickly does a quart of this cure as you apply it?

Could you just soak a thin piece of fabric in a bucket of the solution?

Or, could you apply with a paint roller instead of a brush?

I was searching to see if people can be allergic to silicone (like some are allergic to latex)? There was mention of medical grade silicone and then industrial grade which is what the caulk would be. (Reactions to medical grade seem rare, as silicone is used to coat many medical devices like needles. Seems there might be reactions to it in a liquid state but on your fabric it would be cured and I am not considering eye contacts or injection like implants. With commercial/industrial, the allergies are actually to any contaminants. But the caulk does say 100% silicone and the mineral spirits would evaporate. So that seems safe. ) Here's the link I was reading: http://www.wisegeek.org/what-are-the-signs-of-an-allergic-reaction-to-silicone.htm

Can you or anyone add anything on durability now that it's been some months, and safety? Thanks!
GrumpyOldGoat (author)  Soose9 months ago
1: I have no idea how many times you would even need to wash it in a machine unless you are getting it greasy, in which case, all bets would be off since I cannot try every type of grease or oil, much less every brand and type of detergent that you might use.

2: Usually a water hose will rinse off most of the dirt I get on my apron.

3: There are better coatings you can use if fire is involved..

4: Curing time is totally dependent on the humidity, ambient temperature and how thick, or thin, you mix the solution.

5: I have dipped some cloths, haven't tried a roller yet, but I would choose a thin nap so the solution doesn't get trapped the the roller fabric.

As far as any allergic reaction, I haven't noticed anything yet after numerous times of getting my hands and fingers dipped into the solution.

The apron I started with is still waterproof.

I hope this helps.
Thanks. I didn't form some of my questions well.

About washing, I meant to ask if silicone-impregnated fabrics hold up to detergents and remain waterproof in the wash with detergents.

I've tried spray-on waterproofing (I think it was Scott 3M?) on a rain coat which did not last thru even one wash, and for that matter, the last spray-on waterproofing did not even repel water from a very light weight rain jacket before I washed it. This silicone looks very promising.

But I know silicone is very hard to remove once it's on something, and I wouldn't want the detergents causing the silicone to come off the fabric somehow in my washing machine to ruin it, or transferring to other items in the wash.

And about curing, I meant should I mix smaller batches so it doesn't start curing or set up in the bottle or pail before brushing on.

Fire isn't involved, I just had flammability in mind since another waterproof fabric I ran across in the store was "PUL" - which has a polyurethane coating on it - and that, I believe, is used in infant diaper covers. Thinking of infants made me wonder about flammability.
GrumpyOldGoat (author)  Soose9 months ago
100% pure silicone pretty much resists anything that does not chemically attack it.

It is not paintable because most paints do not dissolve even the surface.

You keep trying to wash something that naturally repels most of the things you would wash off. A garden hose flushes off my apron when it gets BBQ sauce on it.

Your biggest worry would be the dryer, which I would not recommend.

As to the batch size, I have learned that a good quality water bottle, aquafina or such, add the mineral spirits and the silicone, put the lid on tight and shake it up.
Works quick, dissolves quicker than trying to stir it in. Choose your viscosity and the amount needed for the project.
Rain jackets and trench coats unfortunately get grimy. While I wasn't expecting the original waterproofing to last thru the wash, I was expecting the replacement spray-on waterproofing agents to actually waterproof -- but they haven't!

Washing and drying is a necessity for my current project. :( Back to square one. But I see lots of other possibilities that don't require drying for this silicone. I guess I'll try it on something like your apron first. This should do great for outdoor furniture slip covers! And as a wood sealer, outside, long as it doesn't need painting.

Thanks also for the link which led to an online copy of the old book “A Fortune in Formulas, first published in 1907." I've been searching for that particular book on industrial and home formulas for years after reading a reprint copy belonging to a friend. Seems it's in the public domain. http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/006165736
Too long to print (around 900 pages!?) but if I can download the pdf's, I'm going to make a c.d. of a couple of the different versions thru the years, as when they edited and reprinted, they updated and discarded some old formulas.

Thanks for the help! :)
rimar20001 year ago
Very useful info, thanks for sharing.

Years ago I read that soaking the cloth with soapy water and then in aluminium sulphate solution, the cloth is waterproof. Your recipe seem more easy.
GrumpyOldGoat (author)  rimar20001 year ago
From the deep dark reaches of a wrinkled old brain comes the vague memory of which you speak, but I think that had heat reflective properties that would keep a person warm if wrapped around them.

Like you said... years ago.
http://opensourcetextiles.org/2012/07/23/waterproof-and-water-shedding-fabric/

BTW, NeverWet is not an option
GrumpyOldGoat (author)  rsfluffy9 months ago
THANKS!

That website looks like a good place to spend time studying.
lraquet1 year ago
Are there any other names for mineral spirits or is there something that will do the same job because i cant find any in things like homebase
Is it just white spirit?
rsfluffy lraquet9 months ago
yes it is
GrumpyOldGoat (author)  lraquet1 year ago
The only other name I have found for Mineral Spirits is "Stoddard Solvent" named after one of the inventors.

Where do you live?

And have you searched the internet locally for more information?
This is something that the campers will need more TENTS come to mind. This will make raincoats able to keep water out and not only "rain" Excellent idea I will now have to get the stuff here in South Africa as a lot of words have a different meaning.
wouldn't it work on an umbrella that wasn't stopping raid as well as it used to, also?
GrumpyOldGoat (author)  mkslocomb9 months ago
It should.
GrumpyOldGoat (author)  KROKKENOSTER1 year ago
I can think of uses in all walks of life like camping, boating, hiking, windbreakers and other light jackets, bandanas...

Even a bedsheet waterproofed and put in the trunk for emergency use.
jojo78711 months ago
Nice project. Me, being my idiot self wasn't paying attention when I was squeezing the caulk in and put in 3/4 of the tube. Still worked great though.
GrumpyOldGoat (author)  jojo78711 months ago
I slipped mommas hand mixer out of the house....

she wanted a new one to replace it with, but it was well worth it.

I have learned that the thickness is adjustable to the project.

Thanks for using the idea.
So the guy misspelled a word, tomato tomoto. This is exactly what I was looking for with my 65L pack. Most of the 65L packs that I've found have some kind of lining....unless they have MOLLE, PALS, or MALICE on them. Thanks for the useful info GOG! +1 from me
I'm just glad that others found it useful.
shebat1 year ago
mineral spirits aka mineral turpentine depending on the country you live in.
mineral spirits is the cleaner/thinner for oil base paints so it ought be easy enough tio find almost anywhere
This is a really good idea but... ... people need to be aware that the interior use Silicone caulk is likely not UV resistant so it will degrade in the sunlight relatively quickly (weeks or months.) You should expect to reapply it.

Of course, a jury rig almost by definition is not intended as a permanent or even durable solution.
GrumpyOldGoat (author)  shannonlove1 year ago
The 100% Silicone I used has the following characteristics.

9.8 oz Clear Silicone Window and Door Caulk
100% silicone
Permanently weatherproof
NAHB research center green approved
Unlike acrylic, silicone is: permanently waterproof, flexible, shrink, and crack proof
Non-paintable
Adheres to most wood, metal, vinyl siding, drywall, plaster, glass and plastic
Typical uses include windows, doors, siding, trim, molding, baseboards, vents, around wires/pipes and other attic/basement applications

It also has a 50year expected life span.
Ooooo, snifty!

Forget what I said then. I'm probably a little sensitive having been surprised by UV rot more than once. People forget that just because plastics are not biodegradable does't mean that they aren't degradable at all. I know better and still catches me. 
GrumpyOldGoat (author)  shannonlove1 year ago
No Worries My Friend. I was not offended.

The Instructables concept relies on second guessing and peer reviews to keep the projects safe and reliable.

If it isn't 100% silicone, then all bets are off.
CaseyCase1 year ago
"Silicone" not silicon. Thanks.