Faux leather is a great way of pulling off the leather look without the leather price tag, but what kind of protection does it have from water? Not all faux leather is made the same — and protecting it from moisture is just as important as protecting any investment. I will discuss whether faux leather is waterproof and some ways to prevent water damage.
Faux leather is mostly waterproof, but it depends on the material it’s made from. Faux leather made from plastic is generally waterproof, while those made from cotton or wool may not be. Synthetic leather sprays, creams, and conditioners can help waterproof faux leather.
If faux leather is made from plastic, waterproof it is necessary? What are the different ways of faux waterproofing leather, and how often should it be done? Let’s dive into the water-resistant properties of faux leather and the factors that matter most.
Is Faux Leather Waterproof?
Faux leather is made up of synthetic materials, including plastics, making most faux leather waterproof. The material is non-porous; therefore, it is highly resistant to liquids. Over time and with repeated exposure, however, faux leather can be damaged by water.
What We’ll Explore
- Clearing up Myths & Misconceptions
- Do I Need to Waterproof Faux Leather?
- Waterproofing Faux Leather Table
- Is Faux Leather More Waterproof Than Real Leather?
- Faux Leather Waterproofing Techniques
- My Personal Research on Waterproofing Faux Leather
- Helpful Insights About Waterproofing Faux Leather
- Key Takeaways
Clearing Up Myths & Misconceptions
A common misconception around faux leather is that because it’s made primarily of plastic, it’s completely waterproof. The truth is it is mostly waterproof, but it can be damaged by water — especially with repeated or prolonged exposure.
Many also believe that waterproofing is unnecessary because faux leather contains plastic. However, waterproofing faux leather really is the best choice because the coating doesn’t last forever.
Another myth regarding faux leather is that its polyurethane coating lasts forever, contributing to its waterproof nature. The fact is that polyurethane coating will wear out with use and over time, contributing to water damage and the faux leather breaking down.
Do I Need to Waterproof Faux Leather?
According to graduate student, Yogesh Kumar Satish Kumar of Michigan Technological University, faux leathers based in silicone and muskin are strong and waterproof. However, not all faux leather is made the same; some are more waterproof than others. Those made with natural fibers are more likely to require waterproofing to protect materials like cotton and wool materials usually require.
Faux leathers made with synthetic fibers, on the other hand, generally don’t require waterproofing, but it’s still a good idea to protect the item. Therefore, knowing how faux leather is made is important in determining whether waterproofing is needed. Also, knowing what type of environment the faux leather will be used in (humid, wet, outdoors, etc.) affects whether waterproofing is needed and how often.
Faux leather is generally water-resistant because it is either made of polyurethane (PU) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or coated with some type of plastic.
Waterproofing Faux Leather Table
|Faux Leather Waterproofing Technique||How it’s Used|
|Spray-on sealant||Sprayed on faux leather to repel water|
|Waterproofing cream||Applied by hand, cloth, or brush to create a barrier that repels water|
|Leather conditioner||Applied by cloth to moisturize and create a water-repelling barrier|
Is Faux Leather More Waterproof Than Real Leather?
Faux leather tends to be more waterproof than real leather due to significant differences in composition. Real leather is tanned and treated to be durable and water resistant, but it is animal skin and can absorb water. Faux leather is made from synthetic fibers and interwoven with substances like cotton, wool, or plastic fibers.
Because of the plastic fibers and polyurethane coating, faux leather has more waterproof qualities than real leather. This doesn’t negate the need for waterproofing faux leather because polyurethane coatings break down with age, and faux leather is not completely impervious to water.
Faux Leather Waterproofing Techniques
There are four different ways of waterproofing faux leather, each with its merits. Let’s explore each one and its effectiveness.
Synthetic Leather Spray for Waterproofing Faux Leather
There are several synthetic leather sprays for waterproofing faux leather. These work by filling the pores in fabrics and creating water droplets, preventing the faux leather from getting wet. Synthetic leather spray works well on boots, shoes, jackets, purses, and more.
Be sure to clean the item thoroughly, then protect the zippers from the spray to prevent them from sticking. The suggested use is once per month for average usage, and follow all manufacturer’s instructions for testing and use. Some synthetic leather sprays include:
- Kiwi Select All Protector
- Cadillac Shield Water and Stain
- Angelus Mink Oil
- Liquiproof LABS Premium Protector
Synthetic Leather Cream for Waterproofing Faux Leather
Synthetic cream for waterproofing faux leather works in the same method as sprays, but their application is by hand, cloth, or brush. Waterproofing cream works great on all faux leather items and only needs to be reapplied every few months.
The faux leather item should be cleaned thoroughly before the synthetic leather cream is applied and then air dried. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for testing and use. Some brands of synthetic leather cream include:
- Nikwax Waterproofing Wax Cream
- Aquaseal Leather Waterproofing Cream
- Logical Leather Waterproofing Cream
Synthetic Leather Conditioner for Waterproofing Faux Leather
Synthetic leather conditioner works the same as cream and spray in terms of how it creates a barrier for water, plus it hydrates the faux leather to keep it looking great. It also needs to be reapplied every few months, but it has extra features like keeping the faux leather supple and color preservation.
Clean the faux leather item thoroughly, apply the leather conditioner, let it sit for a few minutes, remove any excess with a clean cloth, and air dry. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for testing and use. Some synthetic leather conditioner brands include:
- Lexol Leather Conditioner
- Leather Honey Leather Conditioner
- Weiman Leather Cleaner and Conditioner
My Personal Research on Waterproofing Faux Leather
I asked my friends and family whether they owned any faux leather items and if and how they waterproofed those items. Here is a table representing the percentages of their responses and what I learned from the poll about waterproofing faux leather.
|Faux Leather Waterproofing Technique||Times Selected|
|Leather waterproofing spray||18%|
|Leather waterproofing cream||13%|
|Vaseline (not recommended)||9%|
|Don’t own faux leather items||14%|
|Didn’t know they were supposed to waterproof faux leather?||9%|
Check out this video from Oxhorn on applying Kiwi Boot Protector waterproofing spray to leather boots.
Helpful Insights About Waterproofing Faux Leather
Does water ruin faux leather?
Faux leather is mostly waterproof but can still be ruined by water. It’s generally recommended to regularly waterproof faux leather using conditioners, sprays, and creams that seal the surface of faux leather. These products can be used periodically to provide protection and help stop water from ruining faux leather.
Does faux leather waterproof spray work?
Faux leather waterproof spray does work very well for repelling water, but it does need to be reapplied periodically to maintain that barrier. Waterproofing sprays provide protection from moisture and stains and will keep your faux leather looking clean and new.
Is faux leather water-resistant?
Faux leather is generally water-resistant because it is either made of polyurethane (PU) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or coated with some type of plastic. Plastics are generally water-resistant and waterproof due to the non-porous, smooth surface texture on their outer layer, which helps prevent water from penetrating the material.
Can you waterproof synthetic leather?
Yes, synthetic leather can be waterproofed using leather waterproofing cream sealants, sprays, and conditioners. These provide a waterproof barrier between the surface of the synthetic leather material and water or moisture. Synthetic leather may need to be waterproofed periodically to maintain its water resistance.
- Faux leather is mostly waterproof but benefits from waterproofing.
- There are several different ways to waterproof faux leather.
- Waterproofing faux leather should be done regularly.
Faux leather may be made of plastics, but this doesn’t fully protect it from water damage for the item’s life. With products like synthetic leather sprays, creams, and conditioners available for waterproofing and other leather care, there are choices to protect your faux leather items. So show your faux leather items some love and waterproof them!