Scotchgard FAQ

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Scotchgard is synonymous with shoe protectant and with keeping fabrics protected, but it is so much more. The durable fabric protector has long been a go-to for extending the life of household and apparel items. From crisp linen curtains to a pair of pricey leather boots, Scotchgard can offer protection from the elements, accidental liquid spills from family members or the occasional neglect from homeowners. While Scotchgard may be a household name, many users in homes around the world are using it incorrectly.

Scotchguard FAQ
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Good Coverage Matters

Whether it's a pristine pair of suede boots, detailed outdoor furniture rugs or slipcovers or plush pillows that cover an indoor or outdoor couch, Scotchgard can keep your favorite items perfectly preserved season after long season. It keeps out liquids as well as dust, dirt and debris that can gather on furniture, clothing, shoes, curtains and various household items. There are countless items on which you can use Scotchgard, from high chair covers to upholstered dining room chairs. The leather boot protector works well for larger outdoor items as well. Outdoor carpets, AstroTurf and some other faux grass installations can benefit from a layer of Scotchgard applied annually.

How to Prep Material

In order for Scotchgard to work properly, the material should be prepared. This will help the specialized spray to stick to the fibers and offer a long line of defense against liquids and dirt. Shake out and brush the material before going over it with a vacuum. For small items or those with nooks and crannies, use a crevice tool to get all of the errant dust that may have collected in these tiny spaces.

Once the material is as clean as it can be, hold the Scotchgard can at least six inches from the surface of the fabric. Shake the can well before use to give the solution a chance to mingle, particularly if it has been sitting for a long period of time. When spraying the water protectant, cover any surrounding areas that may be adversely affected by the overspray that is bound to occur. Scotchgard can leave a mark on windows or leave a damaging haze on plastic and wood decking. It can leave a mark on some plastics or woods.

Two light coats are enough for most items. Allow the item to dry between each application of Scotchgard. Avoid an overlap of wet coats by giving items plenty of time to dry. A small pillow should take about an hour, whereas a couch could take up to an afternoon. Reapply Scotchgard annually or as needed. Outdoor items may require seasonal application in both winter and summer.

The Science Behind the Shoe Protectant

Created in 1952 by the manufacturer 3M, the stain and water repellant quickly rose to favored ranks among home and commercial users. When sprayed correctly in even coats, the product adheres to each fiber on the surface of the fabric or material using perfluorobutanesulfonic acid. The water repellant spray creates a protective shield that helps liquid to bead up as soon as it hits the porous material. This fast-acting process doesn't allow the liquid to soak into the fibers and create a stain or ruin the integrity of the fabric.

Using Scotchgard on a regular basis with proper application can be the first line of defense in preventing rain from ruining outdoor cushions left out by mistake or preventing puddles or splashes of liquid from falling cups from marring leather or suede footwear. While Scotchgard is reliable, it isn't perfect. Standing liquid should be mopped up or wiped off items to keep them in good condition. If left too long on material, even that which has been covered in Scotchgard, liquids can cause permanent damage or staining.


Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at

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