Does Scotchgard Ruin Fabric? Best Scotchgard For Each Fiber


All your clothes, shoes, and precious belongings are at risk of damage from the elements. Wind, water, rain, soil, and the like. So what to do about it? Do you fear that Scotchgard could impose greater costs on all the beautiful things you invested in? 

Will it ruin the fabric of that Ottoman couch you bought after much deliberation and coveting? 

Used properly, and with all necessary safeguards in place, Scotchgard will not ruin the fabric. You need to use the right variety for the specific fabric you set out to clean. 

This can be quite a hassle. This is why this article has made things easier for you. It has explored all you need to know about using Scotchgard, the possible pitfalls, and words of caution. 

This article is your go-to manual for protecting fabrics, be they on your sofa, skirt, or socks!

What is the difference between Scotchgard water shield and a fabric protector? 

The Scotchgard Water Shield and Fabric Protector are the old and new versions of fabric protection sprays. The Scotchgard Fabric Protector was the original formula to prevent long-standing stains on fabric and upholstery. 

But this product was recalled in 2019 due to concerns over some of its components. PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl compounds) in the aerosol cans were the main irritant. These synthetic organic compounds are feared to linger on your furniture even after the product dries. 

Prolonged exposure has been linked to adverse health impacts such as hormonal imbalances, infertility, metabolic dysfunction, and even a compromised immune system. These compounds may also be carcinogenic. 

So the product was reformulated, although the exact composition remains undisclosed. The new version of the fabric protectant spray is the Scotchgard Water Shield concoction. 

Can Scotchgard be used on any fabric? 

There are different Scotchgard varieties for different classes of fabric. It can be used on items of daily utility such as bedspreads, pillow covers, tablecloths, sofas, bags, and coats. These should be made of any washable fabric including cotton, nylon, acrylic, wool, and silk to name a few. 

There are also specific Scotchgards for fabrics that need extra gentle care. There are formulas for delicate fabrics used for arts and crafts and also stronger variations for rigs, carpets, and stain removal. 

Can you Scotchgard suede and leather? 

For suede cushions, furniture or shoes, use only the Scotchgard Suede and Nubuck Protector. Otherwise, the suede may become brittle, dry, and prone to breakage. 

To prevent leather goods from damage, use only the Scotchgard Leather and Vinyl Protector or the Scotchgard Built-In Protection Leather. 

The Scotchgard Sun and Water Shield is also a great option for leather, canvas, and suede outdoor furniture, tarpaulin, and awnings. It protects against the same sunlight-induced discoloration, fading, and peeling. 

Can you Scotchgard rugs and carpets? 

There are specific products for rugs and carpets. The Scotchgard Rug and Carpet Protector are apt for carpets that need to be professionally steam cleaned. Once they are steam-cleaned bi-annually, you can apply the Scotchgard lightly on the surface. 

It soaks into the carpet fibers, to ensure that stains remain only on the surface. For carpets, throw rugs, or car floor mats that can be washed or cleaned in water, use the Scotchgard Rug and Carpet Cleaner. 

These will be marked W or WS by the manufacturer. Don’t use the cleaner on carpets or rugs that are meant for dry-cleaning or steam-cleaning only. 

It prevents penetration of oil, mud, and soil, which retain cleanliness for longer. Use the Scotchgard OXY Spot and Stain Remover for Carpets and Fabric for spot treatment of stains. 

Can you Scotchgard shoes?

You can use the Scotchgard Fabric Water Shield for your canvas shoes. So sneakers, loafer, slip-on, and any canvas material footwear is safe.

For leather and suede shoes reserved for special occasions, use the Scotchgard Leather and Vinyl Protector or the Scotchgard Suede and Nubuck Protector respectively. These are also useful for high-end shoes or heels that cannot be cleaned with water without damaging them. 

For rough-use leather shoes used for hiking, extreme or adventure sports or just good-old rough-housing sports games, use the Scotchgard Sun and Water Shield. This can be used for most outdoor shoes for use on difficult terrain.

It protects against the harsh effect of sunlight, water, rocks, scrapes and scratches, and the like. 

Can you Scotchgard fabric chairs? 

Use only the Scotchgard Fabric Water Shield on fabric chairs or other upholstered furniture. This product can be used on fabric chairs which can be water washed. 

If the chairs are marked with an X, this means they cannot be wetted with water or solvents. But if not, fabrics like nylon, polyester, silk, and cotton can be buffered with this product. Do not use this on chairs made of leather or suede. 

For outdoor fabric chairs or patio chairs, you can use the Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield. This product is meant for more hardy fabric, which can weather harsh conditions. This includes outdoor furniture made of leather or suede. 

For fabric chairs in your vehicle, use the Scotchgard Auto Water Shield. Ensure you take off any plastic coating from the fabric seats before application. 

Can you Scotchgard velvet? 

You may use the Scotchgard Fabric Water Shield. It is gentle enough to be used on velvet shoes, purses, and garments. Keep in mind that these need to exclusively be machine washable or water washable. Dry-clean only velvet will mangle this temperamental fabric. 

With water-washable velvet, you need to be extra careful about the technique of application. Apply the Scotchgard from at least 6-8 inches away from the velvet item. Spray a very light layer on. Do not overdo the protection as it can cause matter velvet which looks very uneven. 

The same washing rules apply for Scotch Guarding velvet furniture or upholstery. Either hand-steam it gently or use a soft-bristled brush to remove dirt. It is always best to consult with the retailer when buying your velvet furniture. 

Some velvet is so fragile that it might look crushed if Scotchgard is used on it. But a mix of fabrics like velvet, rayon, pooluster, and others may not react as badly. So do your research and understand your furniture’s composition before your Scotchgard. 

Never use the Scotchgard Fabric and Carpet Cleaner on velvet rugs, throws, or carpets. 

Can you Scotchgard sunbrellas?

Sunbrella fabrics cater to a wide range of utilities including marine sports, upholstery, and outdoor equipment. The same fabric is used to make raft sails, canopies, bedsheets, curtains, drapes, and of course sunbrellas! 

Sunbrella is formulated to be resistant to mold, mildew, stains, and water. But because of its unique properties, the company recommends using a specific fabric protector. 

For Sunbrella fabrics you should only use the 303 High Tech Fabric Guard brand. This brand is meant to prevent any abrasion to the material. 

What fabrics can you Scotchgard? 

Scotchgard can be used on all kinds of fabric including wool, polyester, satin, sherpa, cotton, denim, linen, nylon, and neoprene. We do not recommend using Scotchgard on jute or microfiber furniture.


You can use Scotchgard on all wool except for white wool and cashmere). Ensure that you apply a smidge on the fabric to test for colorfastness. If there is no pigmentation you can apply Scotchgard to the entirety of the item. Never apply Scotchgard on Persian or Oriental carpets made from wool. The intricate work will be destroyed by color-leaching. It may look more dirty and patchy than before.

The table below provides you with all the key information about common fabrics and proper Scotchgard etiquette! 

Recommended products:

  • Fabric Water Shield for wool clothes, sweaters, socks, scarves, etc. 
  • Fabric Crafts Water Shield for woolen crafts
  • OXY Spot and Stain Remover for Carpets and Fabric for blankets, cushions, sofas, pillows, and more. 


This is a very strong and versatile fabric. It doesn’t pill, tear or damage easily. This means it can be subjected to machine washing, rough use, and many other functions without worrying about losing money. So Scotchgard can be used without any issues. Polyester can be cleaned with all Scotchgard products 


Satin is a synthetic meld of any of the base fabrics such as silk, nylon, rayon, and cotton. If the material tag indicates the satin is washable, then it can also have Scotchgard applied to it. In the rare cases where the fabric is very fragile, the manufacturer would have labeled it as X-coded. 

In this case, solvent-based protectors like Scotchgard can’t be used.  Keep in mind that because of the nature of satin, the Scotchgard can protect it from grime and dust. But it may not be 100% waterproof. 

Recommended Products

Almost all the Scotchgard products are recommended for Satin fabric and upholstery except the Rug and Carpet Protector, the Suede and Nubuck Protector, and the Water and Sun Shield varieties. 


This fabric is a combination of acrylic and polyester. But it looks and feels like fleece or sheepskin. It is very easy to manage and maintain. Its component fabrics don’t soak up too much water, so Scotchgard can be applied to this material.

All Scotchgard cleaners or protectors except Rug and Carpet Protector, the Suede and Nubuck Protector, and the Water and Sun Shield varieties are recommended for this fabric and upholstery. You can also use the OXY Spot and Stain Remover for Carpet and Fabric if you want to rub out some stains in a specific area.


Pure cotton or cotton blends with rayon, polyester, and linen usually do not wear and tear much when Scotchgard is applied to them. 

All Scotchgard cleaners or protectors except Rug and Carpet Protector, the Suede and Nubuck Protector, and the Water and Sun Shield varieties are recommended for this fabric and upholstery


Essentially, denim is just cotton or a cotton-synthetic fabric combination that is woven in a twill weave style. This makes it more durable and thickset. It should be washed infrequently since it can fade.  But since it can be machine-washed and tumbled dried, you can use Scotchguard on it as well. Denim is easy to care for and prevents staining. 

You can use the following varieties for your denim jeans, overalls, and coats: 

  • Scotchgard Fabric Water Shield 
  • Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield 
  • OXY Spot and Stain Remover for Carpet and Fabric


Linen is a more robust and long-lasting fiber compared to cotton. It is more hard-wearing, yet it is equally breathable, airy, and soft. It can be washed thoroughly with water either by hand or in a machine. They easily stain and quite deeply, which makes Scotchgard very useful. But Scotchgard provides only short-term protection. It may need to be repeated once in a while. 

Only the Scotchgard Fabric Water Shield can be used for linens, that too only for table linens specifically. Consult your local branch or the seller of your linen furniture to see if you can apply Scotchgard on linen upholstery. Watermarks show up easily and can ruin the look. Do a test patch to see if there is any discoloration or changes in texture. 


Burlap or jute is quite coarse, being naturally harvested. It cannot be washed with water since the material absorbs all the liquid used and any moist particles as well. There are specially created protectants for natural fibers that you can use. 

None of the Scotchgard products work for jute. They will tarnish the golden hue and the threads will begin to unravel and shed. 


This artificial fiber made from petroleum is water-resistant, easy to wash, and cheap to buy. It repels any mold and fungus as well, making it great for use in humid environments.

Almost all the Scotchgard products for fabric, carpets, clothes, and upholstery can be used for nylon. This includes the Rug and Carpet Protector, which tells you how tough this fabric is. The only exceptions are the Scotchgard products for suede and leather which are designed specifically for these materials. These could cause deterioration and gradual shrinkage in nylon products. 


This synthetic rubber can be used anywhere ranging from swimsuits, athletic gear, and padding or sealant for cushions and file cabinets. It is resistant to water and also to damage from a range of solvents. It can be machine-washed in the delicate mode. It is better to hand-wash neoprene so that the fabric isn’t twisted, This could shorten its lifespan. 

Although not mentioned on the official site, the properties of neoprene seem amenable to be topped with Scotchgard. Having said that, it may not be formulated for neoprene products and may be less effective. You may have to apply it at regular frequencies. But it’s quite sure to not abrade or chafe your neoprene items. Consult with your retailer before using Scotchgard on your neoprene items. For the moment, if you must use it, stick to the Fabric Water Shield.


Microfiber has not only made cleaning more effective, it is more affordable for furniture as well. It is made from a blend of polyesters, polyamides, polypropylene, or some combination of two of them. Depending on the combination, they are more or less simple to clean and maintain. With polypropylene, the mix can also withstand stronger solvents. 

You can use the following Scotchgard products for microfiber furniture 

  • Fabric Water Shield: For sheets, towels, and smaller items
  • Rug and Carpet Protector: For mats and microfiber or microsuede furniture.

One drawback of microfiber is that it absorbs a lot of water. It soaks in moisture and the moisture stains show quickly. The fabric also tends towards pilling and yellowing in such cases. To be on the safe side, use the Scotchgard on a small swatch of fabric and wait for any streaks or darkening blotches.

Can you Scotchgard boucle? 

Boucle is a tricky fabric when it comes to cleaning, removing stains and of course deciding whether or not to use Scotchgard. Boucle fabric can be made from different combinations of existing fabrics such as wool, linen, cotton, and nylon. 

The first step is to check your boucle fabric composition and the washing instructions. If it is labeled X it may not be able to be machine washed or hand-washed either. Water may cause irreversible damage. 

So you may have to use a dry cloth and soft bristle brushes to remove stains. And obviously, Scotchgard is out of the question. 

But many boucle fabrics consist of wool and nylon mixes. This makes for a more resilient and rather sturdy chair or sofa fabric. It may not do very well with water, in which case you will have to ask the seller if Scotchgard is safe. 

If it is, you can lightly spray the Scotchgard after gently wiping the fabric with a little water and detergent. If you use Scotchgard without prior consultation, it may ruin the components within the fabric. 

The next time you spill chili cheese fries on your expensive lounge chair as you binge-watch your favorite series- be sure to thank us! 


Anand Srinivasan
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