Can You Dye Waterproof Fabric? The Truth Revealed!

A question that many people find themselves asking today is, can you dye waterproof fabric? Whether you are looking to give your boat a new facelift or you are just looking to decorate your patio, there is a good chance that you have considered dye. Dye is an extremely versatile substance and works in several unique situations. Not only this, but it adds a kind of appeal to your items that you just wouldn’t get anywhere else. Whatever the situation is, there is simply no denying that dye is one of the best decorative substances in the world.

The truth of the matter is that waterproofing materials can be extremely tricky. This is especially true when it comes to dyeing them. Unfortunately, not all waterproof materials can be dyed. In fact, it is the waterproofing that prevents the dye from seeping into the surface. This does not, however, mean that all waterproof materials cannot be dyed. It just means that some can, and some can’t. That is exactly what this article is going to cover. So, the next time someone asks you can you dye waterproof fabric, you will know exactly how to respond.

Waterproofing Your Fabric

Now, just because you cannot get away with dyeing waterproof fabric it doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways around this. One excellent way around this is by first dyeing the fabric then waterproofing it. For instance, you cannot dye a waterproof shirt because the waterproofing material prevents the dye from soaking into the surface. Well, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t dye the shirt then waterproof it.

Many people that find themselves asking can you dye waterproof fabric take this approach and it is one that works. However, the important thing to remember is that there are several different methods in which you can go about waterproofing your fabrics. Understanding each and knowing what they bring to the table will better help you understand which method is best for you.

The Benefits Of Waterproofing Your Fabrics

Before you learn about the methods that you can use to waterproof your dyed materials, you really need to learn about the benefits of waterproofing them in the first place. Most experts will tell anyone that the cool thing about waterproof fabrics is that they are not only liquid-proof, but they are also stain-repellent. What does this mean? It means that you never have to worry about the fabric staining.

This is a feature that will come in handy when you are dealing with light-colored fabrics like whites and yellows. These fabrics are more susceptible to show stains as compared to darker colors like black and brown. With waterproofing capabilities, you will be able to take those fabrics and double their lifespan.

Take Advantage Of Waterproof Sprays

One of the best ways to waterproof your fabric is by simply taking advantage of waterproof sprays. However, this doesn’t mean that the entire process will be as simple as grabbing a waterproof spray and spraying it on your fabrics, In fact, the entire process is a bit more detailed than that. You will first need to make sure that you plan on doing the job on a day where the wind will be minimal. The wind will not only hinder the spray, but it could potentially blow dirt and debris into the pores of the fabric.

Speaking of dirt, you will also need to ensure that the fabric is clean. If the fabric cannot be washed, most experts would recommend simply brushing it off or vacuuming it. Once the fabric is dry, you will simply just begin the process by hanging up the fabric on a clothes hanger and coating it with the waterproof spray, ensuring that you are following the directions on the can to a tee.

Gore-Tex Material

If you’re still wondering, can I dye waterproof fabric? Gore-Tex is going to be your go-to fabric. Gore-Tex materials are utilized to make a broad range of items, such as footwear, clothing, coats, and gloves. This material is coated with a waterproof substance to prevent water and moisture from penetrating it. This creates a seal, which can make dying extremely difficult. However, there is a process that can be utilized to effectively dye Gore-Tex materials. Unfortunately, this process only works when dying from light to dark.

To effectively dye Gore-Tex fabric, the water must reach the boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit or 100 degrees Celsius. Once the water reaches the boiling point, you need to add a packet of powder dye and mix thoroughly. Follow the instructions on the back of the dye packet to determine the proper mixing method. Some brands will call for the powered dye to be mixed with water prior to being added to the pot of boiling water.

Place the Gore-Tex fabrics into the pot, leaving enough space for stirring. Basically, you need to avoid stuffing the pot because it will create an issue with stirring. If the materials cannot move freely through the boiling mixture, the coloring will not turn out even.

It is recommended to let the Gore-Tex fabrics stay in the mixture for up to one hour, stirring frequently. Once the time limit has expired, you will need to remove the material and place it in a pot of warm water. Remove the material and place it under warm tap water. Continue this process until the water runs clear.

The last step involves rinsing the material under cold tap water. It is not recommended to place the dyed Gore-Tex material in a dryer. Instead, hang it on a clothesline to air dry.

Synthetic Materials

Unfortunately, it is impossible to dye synthetic fabrics, apart from untreated nylon. Examples of synthetic materials include bioplastics, self-healing polymers, plastic composites, and reactive/smart polymers. All these materials can only be dyed in a commercial setting.

To dye nylon, you will need to follow a comprehensive process that utilizes an all-purpose dye or acid dye. Follow the steps below to dye nylon utilizing all-purpose dye.

  • Step 1 – Gather your supplies, a large stockpot, all-purpose dye, large stainless-steel spoon, white vinegar, tongs, and rubber gloves.
  • Step 2 – Fill the stockpot with tap water. Allow the water to reach the boiling point (212 degrees Fahrenheit). Once the water reaches the boiling point, pour in 1-cup of white vinegar and mix thoroughly. Monitor the temperature to make sure it is still at the boiling point before moving to the next step.
  • Step 3 – Pour in the dye (powder or liquid) and mix thoroughly. Wait about three minutes to recheck the water temperature. If it’s at the boiling point, you can move forward to the next step.
  • Step 4 – Place the nylon material into the stockpot and gently stir. Try to not slop the water over the edge of the pot because it may stain your stovetop. Do not stuff the stockpot full of fabrics because they need to float freely to achieve an even coloring.
  • Step 5 – Let the nylon fabric soak in the liquid for 30 minutes, stirring about every five minutes.
  • Step 6 – Utilize the tongs to transfer the material to your sink. Run under hot tap water for about 20 minutes or until the water runs clear.
  • Step 7 – Finally, run the material under cold tap water. You can also place the nylon in a pot of ice-cold water to cure the dye.


At the end of the day, you can easily see that waterproofing and dye are both tricky topics. Yes, there are some materials that can be dyed and there are some that can’t, so it really is going to come down to the types of materials that you are working with. Another thing to keep in mind when you find yourself asking can you dye waterproof fabric, is that there are sometimes alternatives out there. For instance, if you are dealing with one type of material that cannot be dyed it’s entirely possible that there is a material that you can substitute for your original material. The second chosen material might not have all the properties of your original chosen fabric, but it’s highly likely that they will be similar enough.

Related Questions

Does Damp Proofing Require Building Regulations?

Dampness can do a lot of damage to any property. This is exactly why all buildings and homes need to be damp proof. If dampness is left unchecked it can penetrate through the walls and floors and eventually travel to the main foundation of the building, where it will erode the structure. Not only this, but it can cause a plethora of health problems. Yes, damp proofing a home or building does require building regulations. That being said, it should be noted that these regulations can vary from region to region as well as different parts of the building.

For instance, most experts in the field will tell you that it is a requirement for all new buildings and homes to have damp proof courses to prevent rising dampness. In the walls, the damp-proof material should be installed at least 1.5cm above the ground level if the wall is external. The damp-proof material should also join up with a damp-proof membrane previously installed on the floor.

Is Damp Proofing Necessary?

It doesn’t take a building engineer to understand just how dampness can damage a home. Not only will it leave unsightly spots on your walls and floors, but it will eventually eat away at the materials as well as the foundation of the home. Also, you must consider all the potential health problems that dampness can cause. In fact, dampness is the leading cause of mold. So, if you see damp spots in your home there is a very good chance that mold isn’t far behind. If you want your home and building to withstand the test of time while serving its purpose for years, you will without a doubt need to make sure that it is damp proofed by a professional.

Recent Posts