Best fabric protectors for your car 2022

Which fabric protector spray best holds back stains from car seats and carpets?

Ceramic coatings are well established when it comes to protecting your car’s paintwork, but now they’re making an appearance in the world of fabric protection, too. 

We tested nine of these protectors on car seat fabric and put them through the same battery of test spills, hoping to see the substances bead away so that they could be easily mopped up.

How we tested them

A car seat was divided into sections with each fabric protector applied to the manufacturer’s directions. Some required more than one application, others an overnight cure, or needed to be brushed into the material. 

We then tested how well their coatings worked with hot coffee, cold cola and greasy butter, leaving them on the surface for a few moments before attempting to mop up the mess with a microfibre cloth. 

Alongside how well each product protected, we took into account ease of application, including the type of spray and the method. We also assessed if the fabric protectors left a smell, or if they affected the feel of the material. Finally, we checked value for money.

Verdict

Dodo Juice’s new Fabricadabra works just as well as our previous winner from the company. It provided flawless results and takes another well deserved win for Dodo Juice, while second place goes to Sam’s Detailing.

  1. Dodo Juice Fabricadabra
  2. Sam’s Detailing Fabric Protectant

Reviews

Dodo Juice Fabricadabra

Dodo Juice’s massive bottle dwarfs those of competitors, at 1,000ml for one of the lowest prices. Some, but not much of that advantage is lost in the extra coat Dodo Juice recommends, with both requiring brushing or rollering into the fabric. 

That’s not a tough task, though, nor does Fabricadabra have a particularly chemical smell. Once applied, it matches the pricier protector. Neither boiling coffee nor fizzy cola could penetrate the coating, and there was lots of time to mop up spills before they soaked in. 

There were no greasy marks left from the butter, either, and the fabric felt and looked the same before and after application. Good value and great results mean it’s easy to keep Dodo Juice in top spot for now, but if ceramic coatings begin to drop in price that may change.

Buy now from Ultimate Finish

Sam’s Detailing Fabric Protectant

An excellent performance from this good-value protector. Its coating didn’t hold up quite as long as our winner’s, especially where boiling coffee was involved, but there was still lots of time to soak up the spill. 

It doesn’t smell too strongly, either, and application requires just a single coat and time for it to soak in, which is as easy as it gets. The fabric didn’t feel any different after application and looked just fine once we’d cleaned up our testing liquids.

Buy now from Sam’s Detailing

Angelwax Enigma Shield

Not to be confused with the cheaper (but less advanced) Angelwax Shield, Enigma Shield is easy to apply, requiring one coat to be brushed into the fabric with a soft brush and left to dry. 

Once applied, it performed as well as we’ve ever seen from a fabric protectant. Hot coffee and fizzy cola instantly beaded off the fabric and didn’t soak in, and butter could be wiped off without leaving a greasy stain. The protection lasted long enough for us to soak up the liquid from spills without any mad hurry – a great result.

The sticking point, however, is the price, which looks even higher next to the Dodo Juice. A great product, but we struggle to justify the extra cash.

Buy now from Ultimate Finish

Gyeon Q2 FabricCoat

It’s very difficult to argue with the results Gyeon’s FabricCoat offers. It requires two coats an hour apart, and leaves a strong chemical smell for several hours, but once applied, it’s nearly untouchable, with liquids beading off instantly and reliably. 

Yet its price is a sticking point, with a number of its competitors being available for less than a quarter of the cost.

Buy now from Amazon

Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield

  • Price: around £10 
  • Quantity: 400ml
  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Contact: 3m.co.uk

We’ve never been impressed with Scotchgard’s auto-specific fabric spray, so we opted to sample the Heavy Duty version. Application is straightforward, thanks to the aerosol dispenser, and one can will easily treat a large car, because saturating the fabric isn’t recommended. This protector struggled with hot coffee, which it made a vain attempt to bead but soon soaked in. Yet cold spills were shrugged off with impunity. Worth the small price premium over its sister product.

Buy now from Amazon

Scotchgard Fabric Water Shield

  • Price: around £9 
  • Quantity: 400ml
  • Rating: 3 stars
  • Contact: 3m.co.uk

This spray recorded a similar result to the Scotchgard Heavy Duty, which is perhaps to be expected. Its instructions ask for two light coats rather than the Heavy Duty’s one. That means despite the cheaper price, the can won’t go as far. As with its brother, cola beaded off instantly and butter could be removed without leaving a greasy mark, but hot coffee proved too much for the coating to handle, and it soaked in. There’s enough protector to coat a whole car, and it doesn’t smell awful either, plus the light coating dries quickly.

Buy now from Amazon

Nilco Fabric Protector

  • Price: around £10 
  • Quantity: 500ml
  • Rating: 3 stars
  • Contact: nilcouk.com

Nilco's protector comes in a chunky aerosol can that made application a breeze. The firm recommends two coats for improved performance. It smells rather strong at first, but the chemical odour soon fades and Nilco’s Fabric Protector didn’t change the feel of the fabric. It performed reasonably well with cola, which beaded off, and the butter didn’t leave a greasy stain. But hot coffee seemed to be its limit: it beaded for a moment, then soaked in.

Buy now from Amazon

Renapur Protector

  • Price: around £15  
  • Quantity: 200ml
  • Rating: 2.5 stars
  • Contact: renapur.com

This dinky 200ml bottle works out quite costly. It seems to be more intended for suede or nubuck shoes, but does claim it can protect all kinds of fabric. Results were mixed: we found cola beaded off perfectly time and time again, but the Renapur put up no resistance to hot coffee and there was a greasy stain left after we cleaned off the butter. It’s almost totally odourless, so if you’re really sensitive to chemical smells you might want to give this a try.

Buy now from Amazon

Furniture Clinic Carpet and Upholstery Protector

This product targets household furniture rather than automotive fabrics, claiming one bottle is enough to cover a three-seat sofa. But from our results on the car seat material we wonder how useful it would be. Cola, the least challenging of our stains, beaded for a minute, but soaked in before we had a chance to mop it up. There was no resistance to hot coffee, and a greasy stain was left by the butter. It’s not great value, so perhaps worth keeping for household items.

Buy now from Amazon

Most Popular

“Mid-sized electric cars are way beyond the financial reach of most mums and dads”
Opinion - electric car prices
Opinion

“Mid-sized electric cars are way beyond the financial reach of most mums and dads”

Mike Rutherford thinks the industry needs to face the fact that a lot of people can’t afford a brand new factory-fresh car
16 May 2022
Best electric cars to buy 2022
Best electric cars
Electric cars

Best electric cars to buy 2022

There are more electric cars than ever to choose from, so we've picked some of the best you can buy in the UK now
28 Apr 2022
Tipo 184: on the road in the Mazda MX-5 based kit car
Tipo 184 kit car front
Features

Tipo 184: on the road in the Mazda MX-5 based kit car

Inspired by classic Grand Prix racing cars, Darren Collins has created a model that faithfully recreates the originals, but with a twist - it’s actual…
11 May 2022