DetailingWiki Newsletter
    Get free and automatic updates on new articles
    We respect your privacy. No data is used for anything other than sending the newsletter!


How to fabric protection

Written by:

Fabric protection is used to increase the lifespan of fabric by repelling as much dirt and stains as possible. It is commonly used on convertible roofs, seats, floormats and carpets. Fabric protection is most often done by applying a liquid.


Difference in fabric protection

In general, you could make the categorization between sealants and coatings. Although the coatings are not strictly based upon a ceramic component, it could be considered as a form of processing the product. One product might only need air to dry, another will need to addition of heat from an external source.
For example: some products are sprayed upon the surface, then just left to dry. They would generally be considered as sealants. Other products need to be dried with a hair dryer or paint dryer (application of heat from an external source) to dry. These would generally be considered as coatings. In real life terms, the difference lies in their durability and expected longevity. Coatings are often stronger and longer lasting then sealants.

Note that the use of the term “sealant” or “coating” might not be technically correct, seeing as both product are based on the use of polymers, which would make both sealants. The use of a ceramic component (SiO2, Si3D, SiH4 etc.) is very rare, which is the common factor to define a coating.


As above, the most common difference is the form of application. This list will give a very general idea of application. Read the label or check with the manufacturer to know how your products is best applied.

  • Make sure the fabric you are working with is perfectly clean with no residues left
  • Spray the surface with the product
  • *Spread the product with a brush or roller (this also helps to saturate the fabric)
  • After a few minutes, wipe the surface lightly with a clean MF towel
  • Either let the fabric dry naturally, or use an external heat source (this could be a hair dryer, or a paint dryer with increased distance)
  • Make sure the fabric has ample time to dry before it is exposed to dirt, liquids or other forms of contaminations

* = optional step, depends on product

How to know if it works

The form of protection has an Hydrophobic effect, which basically means that it appears to repel water. This will not always work the same with other liquids, because there can be a difference in surface tension. A cleaning liquid will have a very different surface tension, and will probably not beads on protected fabric. To test wether the protective layer is still present, it is advised to clean the fabric (by vacuum or dry MF towel) and drop a few drops of water on the fabric. If the water is instantly absorbed, the protection may have failed.
Note that the level of contamination/dirt in the fabric can have a negative effect on the performance of the protective layer.

Different related articles

  • What are wiper marks
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    Wiper marks are surface imperfections in the direction and line that windscreen wipers move. Simply put, these are marks in the glass caused by the movement of the windscreen wipers. They can affect your vision and are difficult te remove....
  • Finish Kare Products Inc
    Finish Kare is a detailing products manufacturer that started out creating mold release products. The step into car wax for protective purposes was a small change that was easy enough to make. The brand now offers a small range of cleaning, polishing, protecting and perfecting surfaces for both car and marine detailing....
  • Different types of leather
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    There are a few different types of leather-like materials that can be used in a vehicle. Although many fabrics look and feel like leather, it might not be real leather. Fake leather is a commonly used product in regular priced vehicles and can be known via a few different names....
  • A guide in detailing Steps
    There are many different steps you can take while detailing. A maintenance wash has different steps than a deep-clean wash or a 3 stage polish. In this guide I will give a very general idea on the order of those steps. More in-depth articles regarding every step will follow. This articles serves to give people a quick overview....
  • What is waterless wash
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    Waterless washing is a technique in which no water is used to clean the surface. The product for this technique has high lubricating properties, good cleaning agents and leaves little to no residue. It is not always as good as a regular wash, and is not suited for highly contaminated vehicles....
  • How to clean tyres
    Paintwork gets cleaned very frequently, but tyres not so much. Everybody who knows the word “detailer” or “valeter” probably knows how to safely remove contaminants from the surface of a vehicle. Even when glass is dirty, you’ll quickly see the streaks and your fingers will be itching to reach for the glass cleaner. Most parts of a vehicles gets cleaned frequently, and we have all kinds of products that help us keep our cars/bikes looking sparkly clean....

Links to this article

There are no external links to this article. Yet.

Stay up to date with our free newsletter
Always be the first to know about new updates, articles and other informative content.
Don't miss out, opt in!
We respect your privacy. No data is used for anything other than sending the newsletter!