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Can Faux Leather Get Wet The Essential Guide to Make Faux Leather Waterproof

Last Updated: April 14, 2024

Can faux leather get wet without suffering damage? Yes, it can, to some extent. And if you aren't careful, your vegan leather products may ruin. 

Synthetic faux leathers offer built-in water resistance, making them a practical choice for everyday use. However, conditions like prolonged exposure or a heavy downpour could pose risks in natural vegan leathers. 

Throughout this article, we’ll explore how different qualities of faux leather interact with moisture, practical tips for when it does get wet, and maintenance steps to ensure your faux leather stays in prime condition—even when facing the elements.

Key Takeaways

  • Faux leather is generally considered water-resistant, particularly high-quality polyurethane (PU) based versions, but it can be vulnerable to a heavy downpour which may weaken its integrity, natural vegan leathers, even more so.
  • The water resistance and durability of faux leather largely depend on the material used, its quality, and the effectiveness of protective coatings that can wear over time.
  • Regular maintenance, such as cleaning with a mild soap, applying moisturizers like baby oil, and using water-repellent sprays, is key to preserving the condition and water resistance of faux leather.

Unveiling the Water Tolerance of Vegan Leather

Illustration of faux leather material with water droplets

The interaction between vegan faux leather and water is both interesting and pragmatic. While synthetic faux leathers are crafted to emulate the luxurious feel of genuine leather, bringing with it a reputation for being a durable companion against moisture, eco-friendly vegan leathers suffer from what makes them sustainable.

Sustainable, eco-friendly materials are designed to wear down and decompose over time, that is, without taking precautionary measures to mitigate the wear. So the question really is...

How much water can the sustainable kind of faux leather really handle? Unraveling the mystery, we find that synthetic faux leather is generally considered capable of standing up to the occasional spill or light rain without having to add anything to it.

However, the level of water resistance varies among different types of faux leather.

The secret lies in the quality of the material and its coatings; high-quality synthetic polyurethane (PU) based faux leather, for instance, boasts enhanced waterproofing capabilities, proving that with synthetic leather, you often get what you pay for. However, only properly treated eco-friendly faux leathers will survive to stand the test of time. 

Still, while it’s equipped to handle a drizzle with grace, a torrential downpour may prove to be a formidable foe, potentially compromising the integrity of your cherished faux leather items, regardless of its material.

The Nature of Faux Leather Waterproofing

The water resistance of faux leather primarily stems from its unique composition. Crafted from a blend of plastic and fabric, synthetic faux leather inherently possesses a degree of water resistance.

Materials like polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), fortify its defenses, forming a non-porous, smooth surface that hinders most water penetration. These petroleum-based plastics boost the water resistance of synthetic faux leather, adding to its overall allure. Still, as vegans with a leafy mind, we aim to support the manufacture of earth-friendly wearables.

The problem is that water is a natural solvent, meaning it breaks down other natural materials rather easily. Our solution?

Support brands that put intense focus into building eco-friendly waterproofing products.

The result? An Earth sustainable vegan leather that holds its own against the elements, with a completely waterproof finesse that you can be proud to wear. Still, the best thing to do is avoid moisture altogether.

Situations Where Faux Leather May Get Wet

The unpredictability of life means that your faux leather items can get wet in numerous ways. Here are just a few scenarios where your vegan leather companion may get its feet wet:

  • Caught in an unexpected rainstorm
  • Raindrops sneak through an open car window
  • Drink spill during a lively dinner
  • Splash from a passing car
  • Faux leather shoes stepping into puddles
  • Bags resting on damp surfaces

Life’s little accidents can lead to unexpected moisture meetings. Despite our best efforts, we cannot always protect our faux leather items from getting wet.

Dissecting the Durability of Faux Leather When Exposed to Moisture

Illustration of protective coating on faux leather

Assessing the durability of faux leather when exposed to moisture requires understanding its composition and adding protective layers. The longevity of this material is a dance between the quality of its composition and the quality of the waterproofing. 

With the right care, high-quality faux leather can last for years, its natural fibers shielded from the ravages of moisture by a vegan, eco-conscious coatings that, while less malleable than genuine leather, starts out as a stalwart barrier against water.

However, moisture can be a relentless foe, potentially weakening the bond between the leather’s outer layer to its fabric core. Add to that the lack of breathability, which traps moisture and hinders its evaporation, and you have a recipe for potential breakdown over time.

Water Resistance on Vegan Leather Types

Upon exploring faux leather, it becomes clear that not all variants offer the same level of quality and durability. The water resistance of your faux leather jacket is going to differ from your sofa. The chart below suggests how biodegradable various vegan leather materials are and their sustainability.

Faux Leather Type



Water Resistant


Leafy Souls Score


Micronappa / Microsuede

Vegetable Polyurethane (PU)

Recycled plastic

Pineapple leather (Piñatex)

Apple leather

Cactus leather

Grape leather

MulbTex Paper Pulp

Cork leather


High-grade polyurethane (PU) synthetic materials are easy to acquire and require the least maintenance of the bunch. Their materials create an almost impenetrable non-porous film that water dares not cross. 

And while it may be tempting to choose these options as your first alternative to animal leathers, it's essential to understand that these PU-based warriors too, are the enemy of vegans with a leafy mind for the planet.

We can surmise that without any coatings, the materials at the bottom of this chart are most susceptible to breaking down. That's why it's essential to coat the more biodegradable materials in an earth-friendly protective vegan wax or spray. 

The Role of Protective Coatings

Illustration comparing water resistance of faux leather and real leather

Imagine a shield, invisible yet impenetrable, enveloping your faux leather in a protective embrace. This is the role of protective coatings like candelilla wax, berry wax, or modified polysiloxanes sprays (biodegradable sprays). 

The thickness of such coatings can be the deciding factor in just how much water resistance your faux leather item can muster.
However, these protective coatings, despite their initial strength, are not indestructible. Over time, and by design, they wear away, leaving the door ajar for moisture to creep in and do its damage.

Maintenance Tips for Wet Faux Leather

When faux leather has been exposed to harsh conditions and shows signs of wear, it needs your careful attention and care. Caring for wet faux leather is akin to nurturing a plant; it requires attention, a gentle touch, and the right conditions to thrive. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Start with gentle detergents and warm to tepid water for a hand wash or a delicate machine cycle.
  2. Ensure no soap residue is left behind to desiccate the material.
  3. Remember, faux leather should always be kept away from hot water and dryers, as it doesn’t enjoy hot baths or blow-drying.

Instead, opt for the natural air-drying method, patting the surface with a clean cloth to whisk away excess moisture. When it comes time to tuck your faux leather items away, choose a cool, dark place where they can rest, flat and filled, away from the risks of fading or deformation.

Immediate Steps After Exposure to Water

As soon as your faux leather item gets wet, immediate action is crucial. Act swiftly and with purpose, using a clean, dry cloth to dab the droplets away, soaking up moisture without inflicting harm. This is not the time for rubbing or scrubbing; a gentle blotting motion is your ally in preventing water from making itself at home.

Should a spill occur, haste is your friend; clean up the liquid before it can weasel its way into the surface and set up camp as a stain.

Long-Term Care Strategies

To ensure the longevity of faux leather, regular maintenance is vital. Here are some tips to help you keep your faux leather in good condition:

  • Use a mild natural soap and a damp cloth to clean any stains or spills.
  • Apply a small amount of plastic-free conditioning cream to moisturize the faux leather and maintain its suppleness and sheen.
  • Regularly apply water-repellent sprays to protect the faux leather from moisture.

By following these maintenance tips, you can keep your faux leather looking great for years to come.

Proper drying and storage are the cornerstones of preserving faux leather’s integrity; hang it to dry, keep it cool and dark when not in use, and always be prompt in addressing any stains or color transfers.

Making Faux Leather More Water Resistant

Illustration of applying waterproofing cream on faux leather

Enhancing the water resistance of your faux leather items can be quite gratifying. By employing the right waterproofing creams, sprays, sealants, and conditioners, you can build upon the natural defenses of your vegan leather treasures. 

The act of applying these products not only maintains but rejuvenates and extends the life of your faux leather items. It’s the ritual of reapplying treatments like waterproofing sprays that ensures your faux leather continues to repel water with vigor.

Choosing the Right Waterproofing Spray

The quest for the perfect waterproofing spray for faux leather is a careful selection process. Look for a concoction that agrees with your chosen material, is kind to the earth with natural ingredients, and suits the level of protection you seek. 

Price, ease of application, and frequency of reapplication are other considerations to weigh on the scales when choosing your guardian against the rain.

Always bear in mind to test your chosen protective product on an inconspicuous area of your faux leather to prevent potential discoloration or other unintended results.

Applying Waterproof Treatments Properly

Correct application of waterproof treatments is the linchpin in ensuring your faux leather’s longevity. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Shake the spray bottle like a maraca to mix its contents well.
  2. If you’re waxing, choose a product that’s friendly to your leather's fibers.
  3. Follow the manufacturer’s guidance like a map to buried treasure, laying down an even spray or wax layer.
  4. Wipe away any excess to avoid splotchy coverage.

Once applied, grant your faux leather the time it needs to dry naturally, without the artificial warmth of a heater or the sun. A simple water test can serve as the seal of approval for the effectiveness of your waterproofing efforts. 

And as with any good defense strategy, update your tactics regularly, reapplying treatments every few months to ensure your faux leather remains as resistant as ever to the whims of the weather.

Navigating Through Myths: Can Faux Leather Survive a Downpour?

Our exploration of faux leather dispels myths and reveals the truth. It’s a common belief that faux leather, much like a superhero’s cape, is impervious to all manner of moisture. However, this is an exaggeration that can lead to soggy disappointment. 

The truth is, while faux leather can brave a sprinkle or even a light shower, heavy rain is a different beast altogether—one that can seep into seams and weaken the fabric.

The blend of fabric in some faux leathers may soak up more water than others, further highlighting the need for preventative measures in the face of storm clouds.

Understanding the Limits of Faux Leather in Heavy Rain

While faux leather has some minor level of water resistance on its own (depending on the material), it is not designed to withstand complete submersion. This distinction is crucial, especially when dark clouds loom on the horizon and you’re carrying a vegan leather bag.

However, there are preventive measures you can take to protect your faux leather items from heavy rain. A spritz of water-repellent spray can serve as a trusty sidekick, repelling droplets and keeping your items dry despite a passing shower.

For those times when the forecast promises more than a light sprinkle, consider donning a water-resistant cover over your faux leather jacket or bag, a simple yet effective armor against the deluge.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does water damage faux leather?

Synthetic Faux leather is water-resistant due to being made from polyurethane, so water typically won't damage it. However, other vegan leathers that are more biodegradable will require a regular application of conditioning sprays or waxes.

Is faux leather OK in the rain?

No, faux leather is not waterproof, so it is not a good choice for use in the rain. If it gets wet, it may not dry quickly and could become damaged.

What can ruin faux leather?

Avoid using hot water, high-heat dryers, and harsh cleaning chemicals on faux leather, as they can cause shrinking, come apart, and ruin the material. Instead, wipe down the garment to remove excess water and allow it to air-dry.

Can I use a hairdryer to dry faux leather?

Generally not, using a hairdryer on the hot setting to dry faux leather is not recommended as the heat can damage the material, causing it to warp or crack. If you want to use a hairdryer on its cold setting, that may work as long as there isn't noticeable heat. It's best to let faux leather air dry naturally at room temperature.

How often should I apply waterproofing treatments to faux leather?

You should apply waterproofing treatments to most faux leathers every 2-3 months to maintain optimal water resistance. It's also advisable to follow the recommendations of the treatment product's manufacturer.


As we wrap up our look into sustainable faux leather care, it’s clear that faux leather’s water tolerance is a tale of quality, composition, and vigilance.

Preventative care, regular maintenance, and the tips we covered above are key to keeping your faux vegan leather pieces protected. With the right knowledge and care, your faux leather can dance in the rain and live to tell the tale.

About the author, Leafy Souls


This is the staff-writer's account for Leafy Souls' blog.

We aim to make ethical consumerism simple with helpful guides, tips, and recipes to inspire you to make the best decisions.

And, you can trust us to select, test and present to you the most beautiful vegan apparel and accessories, to help you look (and feel) your best.

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