Best fabric protectors for your car 2019
Which fabric protector spray best holds back stains from car seats and carpets best?
While leather upholstery is often seen as the top choice for premium car trim, many people still prefer fabric – it’s softer, warmer and grippier. But it’s also easier to stain, which is where these fabric protectors come in. They form a hydrophobic layer over the fabric, meaning liquid simply beads and rolls off rather than soaking in. We’ve tested eight to see which is the best.
How we tested them
A section of car seat fabric was mapped out for each spray. Then we applied our test products according to the manufacturers’ directions, with some requiring multiple coats or needing to be left to ‘cure’.
We then tested their hydrophobic qualities with cola and hot coffee and rated their resistance to greasy butter stains. How well the sealant works is paramount, but we also looked for products that didn’t leave a smell or alter the feeling of the fabric.
Ease of application is important, and finally, we looked at value for money, with prices taken from a range of sources.
The Dodo Juice offers the best protection, denying Gyeon’s Q2 Fabric Coat a third win. The Gyeon is still effective and easy to apply, so takes second spot. In third is Scotchgard’s Multi-Purpose; it provides good protection and is simple to put on.
- 1. Dodo Juice Supernatural Fabric Sealant
- 2. Gyeon Q2 Fabric Coat
- 3. Scotchgard Multi-Purpose
Dodo Juice Supernatural Fabric Sealant
Price: around £13Size: 500mlRating: 5/5
UK-brewed Dodo Juice products often perform strongly in our tests, and Supernatural Fabric Sealant is no exception. Even after a single spray coat it fared well on our donor car seat. For full protection, the brand recommends brushing or rolling the liquid over three or four times; this felt like overkill, but it did the trick. While a light misting should cover three or four cars, one bottle is best for ultimate protection. Nothing we threw at this sealant seemed to trouble it.
Gyeon Q2 Fabric Coat
Price: around £34.95Size: 400mlRating: 4.5/5
Impressive results as ever from our reigning champ but, while it’s able to match our winner in terms of protection, it’s more than twice the price. Gyeon says two heavy spray coats an hour apart are required for full protection, although the product does have a strong smell, which hangs around for a while after application. Far from a poor result, but the Dodo Juice spray is able to offer the same level of protection for less.
Price: around £5.99Size: 400mlRating: 4/5
We’ve found Multi-Purpose works better than Scotchgard’s auto-specific variant, and still gives decent protection for a low price. Application is easy: just put on a thin coat and leave to cure overnight. Scotchgard Multi resisted our three test stains well – both liquids beaded quickly, leaving plenty of time to mop them up, while butter didn’t leave a greasy stain, either. A reduction in price since our last test – from some outlets listed on the 3M site – makes it an even better buy.
Colourlock Waterproofing Leather and Textile
Price: around £13Size: 500mlRating: 3.5/5
Aerosol sprays are particularly easy if you’re doing a large area, and this generously sized can makes application a breeze. Once cured, it provides good protection – repeated applications of cola just rolled off, but our coffee eventually soaked through, so we’d recommend keeping hot beverages away. Still, it resisted a greasy stain, and the initial strong smell faded away quickly.
G3 Pro Fabric Protectant
Price: around £10.50Size: 500mlRating: 3/5
This reasonably sized spray bottle is good value, and offers decent protection. Application is easy – it requires just a light coat and drying overnight. Once on, liquids beaded off initially, but protection soon became ineffective; this isn’t a particularly durable coating. It also smells rather strong and, while it’s a minor complaint, we prefer a transparent bottle to see how much product is left. Nobody wants to get halfway through an interior treatment and run out.
Price: around £10.99Size: 236mlRating: 3/5
American brand Bickmore sells its products on Amazon UK, where the description suggests it’s ideal for vehicle upholstery. In reality, the small pump spray nozzle is better suited to clothing, shoes or hats than the trim in most car interiors – you’d spend a long time spraying. Protection is reasonably effective once it’s on, although it’s better with liquids; while hot coffee and cola beaded off very well, we were left with a greasy stain from the butter.
Muc-Off Fabric Protect
Price: around £9.99Size: 400mlRating: 2.5/5
Three coats are required per application, so the low price doesn’t make the Muc-Off such great value as some products here. Protection isn’t anything to shout about, either, with coffee soaking right through, and cola only taking a few applications to penetrate. It did resist a greasy stain, and it doesn’t smell bad or change the feel of the fabric. But there are better options available for this price, and some aren’t quite so involved to apply.
Fabsil Universal Protector
Price: around £7Size: 600mlRating: 1.5/5
Halfords should really offer a better fabric protection spray than this Fabsil. While it’s highly rated for use on tents, we found it not very effective on car upholstery. Coffee and cola soaked through almost instantly. Out of curiosity, we added an extra coat to see if it would make a difference, but this brought only a slight improvement. There are better options to be had elsewhere, so keep Fabsil for the tents and purchase another option for your car seats.
Now that your seats are safe, why not look to protect your bodywork with the best car wax and polish?