Gone are the days when ugly stains and foul odor from spilled drinks soaked into upholstery would leave someone feeling defeated. When you would throw in the towel on ever having a pristine sofa thanks to your kids and sloppy four-pawed friends.
We now have fabric protectors that, when applied to your fabric items, safeguard them from spilled juice, potty accidents, and other liquidy messes. They create a protective shield on top of the fabric, blocking liquid penetration, which keeps things looking brand new year-round.
If you’ve chosen to take a protective stance towards your fabric furnishings, you might ask, what is the most recommended fabric protector? The most recommended fabric protector is Scotchgard.
Scotchgard is hands-down the best fabric protector for safeguarding upholstery, drapery, and even fabric shoes and bags. And perhaps you’ve come across Scotchgard Water Shield or Fabric Protector before, and can’t help but wonder, are these similar or two different products?
So then, what is the difference between Scotchgard Fabric Protector vs. Scotchgard Water Shield? The difference between Scotchgard Fabric Protector and Scotchgard Water Shield is that the former is the original fabric protector that was discontinued due to safety concerns, while the latter is the new formula.
Read on to learn exactly how this new formulation differs from the original and all tips and tricks you need to know when switching to this new formula.
What Is Scotchgard?
Accidents are inevitable around the home. It only takes a flinch or tipping over a glass or plate to have wine, coffee, or sauce splattered.
So when you think about how your dream recliner cost you an arm and a leg, you’ll do anything to safeguard the things you love. And by anything, we do not mean covering them up in plastic wraps and putting them away.
Or being super cautious and having everyone on guard. That is not living but constant worrying, which beats the purpose of why we buy this stuff; to enjoy it. Scotchgard offers a more practical solution.
What is Scotchgard? Scotchgard is a line of aerosols that protects your fabrics. These products, which are separate from cleaners, protect fabric items from dampness, stains, odor, and damage caused by rain, snow, mud, or accidental splashes of water or drinks.
When sprayed on clean and fresh fabric items, Scotchgard forms a clear protective waterproof layer that repels liquid particles and suspends them on top of the surface. This prevents them from quickly sinking into the weave and binding with the fibers to become stains.
So, in case of an accidental spill, the liquid will just slide down or form a pool you can easily wipe away dry. And the best part about Scotchgard is that it goes on transparent and does not alter the color or texture of the fabric. It is a topical treatment, so the fibers remain as flexible and soft as before the application.
The Scotchgard brand is an invention of 3M corporation and carries several different products for fabric crafts, automotive rugs, carpets, outdoor furniture, fabric crafts, and general fabrics and upholstery.
When talking about Scotchgard fabric protector, one of these two names comes to mind depending on how new you are to the product: Scotchgard Water Shield and Scotchgard Fabric Protector.
The two products always bring about confusion as many individuals do not know whether it is the same product. Others use the names synonymously.
Therefore, if you are buying the product based on advice or reviews from people who used it before 2019 when it was recalled, they are probably referring to the Fabric Protector. Water Shield, which is the current formula, is slightly different.
Let us see how the old and new compare.
Scotchgard Fabric Protector
Scotchgard Fabric Protector was the initial formula that was super effective at combating liquid spills and blocking stains in fabric and upholstery.
Its main constituents were surfactants that are hydrophilic and oleophobic. These compounds not only repelled liquids, stopping them from soaking into fabric, but also prevented staining by deterring particles from binding to the fibers.
It repelled all liquids and slurry, and was a powerful and effective shield against both water-based and oil-based or protein-based stains. The fabric protector was also versatile and worked on many fabric types without discoloration, yellowing, or stiffening.
The greatest downside of Scotchgard Fabric Protector was the toxicity of its ingredients. Despite drying quickly without leaving an odor on the fabric, the fumes produced during use were quite intense.
It is also established that the PFAs and PFOs it contained didn’t break down readily and stayed in the environment longer, posing a health and ecological risk.
- Excellent water repellent
- Effective stain blocker
- Fast drying
- Easy application
- Contains toxic chemicals
For human safety reasons, the production of Scotchgard Fabric Protector ceased, and a new formula, Water Shield, was invented to take its place. So, if you’ve been having a hard time finding your favorite fabric protector and stain blocker, now you know why.
But does the Water Shield hold the same expectations as the original fabric protector? Let’s find out.
Scotchgard Water Shield
Water Shield is the fabric protector currently available for fabrics and upholstery. Like its predecessor, it is an effective water repellant that seals fabric, locking out water and other water-based liquids or dirt, so cleaning up is a breeze.
It is versatile and works well on all washable fabrics like cotton, linen, polyester, rayon, nylon, and acrylic. Even the delicate ones like silk and wool are not excluded.
The new formula does not alter the feel of your fabric and is transparent. You won’t notice it there. It can go on dresses, coats, shoes, bags, and upholstery, as long as they are made from washable fabric.
Scotchgard Water Shield in the red can is intended for indoor protection. There is a different product for outdoor use. It is in a green can known as the Heavy Duty Water Shield for tents, patio furniture, etc.
The best news of all is perhaps that the Water Shield formula is not composed of C8, PFOA, and PFOs and is, therefore, friendlier and less toxic to inhale.
But the gentleness of the Water Shield is a trade-off for stain blocking abilities. The absence, or rather removal, of surfactants from the formula means Water Shield will only waterproof fabric but is powerless against oil-based dirt.
When applying the Water Shield, ensure there is as much ventilation as possible because its fumes are pretty intense at first.
The other pain point when using the Water Shield is that it takes forever to dry. You may have to wait for up to 24 hours before your sofa, or other upholstery dries, which is significantly a long time for an item that is part of daily living.
- Superior water repellant
- It does not contain PFAs
- Easy to use
- It does not guard against all stains or oil-based liquids
- Very long dry time
- Has an odor that does not dissipate quickly
- Darkens fabric a bit
How To Use Scotchgard Water Shield
Using Scotchgard is such a breeze because it comes in a simple spray can. It is no different from spray painting if you’ve done that before.
- Ensure the item is fresh and clean, and check that it is washable and colorfast. Water Shield is ineffective on leather, suede, and fabrics marked X on the care label.
- Next is to protect nearby surfaces from the fabric protector. It is common for overspray to go to unwanted areas, so you want to cover the walls behind furniture, wooden legs and armrest for upholstered chairs, lamps, and anything within the vicinity.
- Shake the can for about 30-60 seconds. Holding it about a foot away, spray the fabric. Use sweeping hand motions, and it’s ok to overlap.
- Let the first coat dry, usually in 2-4 hours, before reapplying a subsequent coat. This time lightly. Apply a minimum of three coats.
- Let the fabric dry overnight. Please make sure no one, including pets, uses it; sitting, touching, stepping on it, and other forms of contact can result in exposure to toxic chemicals.
- You can accelerate the drying rate and increase ventilation of fumes by opening windows and doors or using a ceiling fan to improve air circulation.
- The fabric protector wears out with time so reapplication is necessary every 6-12 months or after a DIY or professional deep cleaning.
Remember to always test a small inconspicuous part of the fabric before spraying the entire item.
So, is the new Scotchgard Water Shield any good? Yes. Scotchgard Water Shield does what it says it does; waterproofing fabric.
It bars water-based liquids from penetrating and staining the fabric. This gives you ample time to grab a towel and clean up the mess hassle-free. The product works on all washable fabrics without altering their texture.
It may not measure up to Scotchgard fabric protector as a stain blocker due to missing key ingredients that preceding formula contained. Notwithstanding, it is for your good and that of the environment.
Therefore, if you need an effective fabric protector that keeps your upholstery water/rain/snow proof; or protects your favorite dress, fabric purse or shoes at a party from accidental spills, Water Shield will meet your expectations.
It is worth a shot at protecting your investments, and we’ve linked a review and demonstration below of a Scotchgard-ed sofa against an unprotected sofa when different liquids are poured.
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