The Best Way to Waterproof a Cotton Hat


Treatment with a wash-in or spray-on waterproofing solution serves as the best way to give most cotton hats water-wicking properties. Often available at retailers that sell outdoor apparel, these commercial products create a temporary bond that repels moisture. Although various brands of waterproofing solutions operate on the same principles and share similar application methods, the products do vary. To be on the safe side, always read and follow any instructions or warnings the manufacturer provides.

The Science of Waterproofing

  • Commercial waterproofing agents often take the form of liquid elastomers, or polymers that have elastic properties. Essentially, when the waterproofing liquid comes in contact with the cotton fibers of your hat, it fills in the spaces between those fibers to prevent water from penetrating. Instead of soaking the fabric, water that comes in contact with treated cotton beads and rolls off the surface. Because of their elastic nature, these agents keep the fabric flexible even when it's treated.

Wash In or Spray On

  • To begin the waterproofing process, always start with a clean hat to increase adhesion. If you have a washing machine-safe cotton hat, you can simply add a commercial cotton waterproofing treatment to the cycle in the amount recommended by the product's manufacturer. You can, of course, spritz a spray-on waterproofer onto the surface of the hat, using a damp sponge or cloth to help even out the application. Waterproofing agents that contain fluorocarbons require heat activation, which you provide by tossing your hat in the dryer. If you use a fluorocarbon-free product, you can air-dry your hat to set the treatment.

Keeping It Waxy

  • If you have a hat made of waxed cotton, also known as oilskin, the waterproofing process varies a bit. Because this textile has already been treated with wax, it repels water from the get-go. However, oilskin's waxy finish wears off over time and with use. When this happens, you must re-waterproof your hat with a wax-based reproofing cream or spray. The sprays work much like other waterproofing products, but the cream must be warmed and massaged into the fabric. In general, waxed cotton hats and other garments need re-waterproofing about once per year, but exposure to the elements accelerates the need. You should deal with shiny or uneven spots on the hat more often.

More to Soak In

  • Waterproofing agents are synthetic chemical products, so always check the label to ensure that the product is safe to use on cotton and on clothing. Because it bolsters the elasticity of cotton fibers, the application of a waterproofing treatment may actually strengthen the fabric, increasing its resistance to tearing. Though normally long-lasting, these treatments wear off after a certain number of washings. Longevity varies depending on your hat's exposure to the elements and per individual product.


  • Photo Credit Alexey Klementiev/iStock/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet



You May Also Like

  • How to Waterproof a Cowboy Hat

    When you buy a cowboy hat, you're not only making a purchase for something to protect your head, you're making a fashion...

  • Leather Hat Treatments

    A leather hat is durable and shady, but it is not invincible. ... Waterproofing your leather boots will maintain the quality and...

  • How to Shape a Straw Hat

    Protect the shape of your straw hat by spraying it with a waterproof spray. This helps protects your hat if you get...

  • How to Waterproof Satin

    Waterproofing your satin items will prolong their useful lives and make them easier to clean. ... 21 Hat and Hair Combos. View...

  • How to Waterproof Cotton Fabric

    How to Waterproof Cotton Fabric. There are few things as uncomfortable as walking home soaking wet in the rain. ... The Best...

  • How to Waterproof Fabric

    You should not use waterproofing spray indoors because the fumes are very strong and dangerous if inhaled. ... shoes or hats. If...

  • How to Waterproof a Canvas Bag

    How to Waterproof a Canvas Bag. ... the best way to deal with it is to tape them down using an acid-free...

  • How to Make My Own Felt Hat Stiffener

    Many hats, from fedoras to cowboy hats, are made from felt. After the hat has been worn a few times and exposed...

  • How to Waterproof Canvas Shoes

    How to Waterproof Canvas Shoes. ... 21 Hat and Hair Combos. View Photos. Election Fashion by Check It Out. Pony Up:...

Related Searches

Read Article

This Is the Beauty Routine of a Romance Novelist

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!