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How do you apply fabric spray?

Applying fabric spray is a simple process that can help protect and improve the look and feel of various fabrics. Knowing the proper techniques for applying fabric spray will ensure you get the most out of these helpful products. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about using fabric sprays effectively.

What is Fabric Spray?

Fabric spray is a liquid product that can be applied to fabrics like clothing, curtains, furniture upholstery, and more. Fabric sprays are designed to provide different benefits depending on the type of spray used. Some common fabric sprays include:

  • Wrinkle release sprays – Help relax wrinkles and creases in fabrics
  • Stain repellent sprays – Create a protective barrier to prevent stains
  • Water repellent sprays – Cause water to bead up and roll off fabrics
  • Odor eliminating sprays – Destroy odors and leave fabrics freshly scented
  • Flame retardant sprays – Inhibit ignition and slow fabric burning

Fabric sprays work by forming a thin chemical coating over the fibers in fabrics. This coating provides the desired effect like stain protection or wrinkle release. The coating remains effective through several washings before needing reapplication.

Choosing the Right Fabric Spray

With the variety of fabric sprays available, it’s important to choose the right product for your needs. Consider the following when selecting a fabric spray:

Intended Use

Think about how you plan to use the fabric item being sprayed and what benefits you want from the fabric spray. For curtains and tablecloths, a stain repellent spray can be useful. For clothing prone to wrinkles, a wrinkle release spray makes sense. Choose a spray that matches your intended use.

Fabric Type

Certain fabric sprays work better with specific fabric types. Check the spray bottle or packaging to see what fabrics are recommended. For example, some sprays are formulated for use on cotton, while others are intended for silk or synthetic fabrics.

Washable vs. Dry Clean Only

Some fabric sprays are designed for washable fabrics, while others are made for dry clean only items. Using a dry clean only spray on washable fabrics can lead to premature wear. Opt for a washable spray formula for clothing, towels, linens, and other machine washable textiles.

Odor Neutralizing Ability

If odor removal is your priority, verify that the fabric spray you choose is designed to effectively eliminate odors. Check product descriptions for confirmation that a spray has odor neutralizing capabilities.

Flammability Reduction

For items like curtains around stoves, fireplace covers, or other fabrics near heat sources, choose a spray that reduces flammability. Flame retardant sprays can significantly slow burning if fabrics ignite.

How to Apply Fabric Spray

Once you’ve selected the right fabric spray for your needs, it’s time to apply it. Follow these steps for best results:

Prep the Fabric

Start by laying out the fabric on a flat, clean surface or hanging it up if spraying curtains or other hanging textiles. Check for stains or odors and pretreat or launder fabrics if needed so spray is applied to a clean item.

Read the Instructions

Be sure to read all directions on the spray bottle or packaging. Some sprays require shaking before use while others advise testing on an inconspicuous area first.

Apply Evenly from 6-8 Inches Away

Holding the bottle 6-8 inches from the fabric, apply an even, light coating using steady back and forth motions. Mist over all fabric surfaces, not just one side.

Let Dry Completely

It’s crucial to let the spray dry fully before using the fabric. This allows the protective coating to set. Drying times vary based on the formula but are usually 1-2 hours.

Reapply as Needed

For ongoing effects, reapply fabric spray every few washes or as directed. For a quick touch up between washes, spot spray just soiled or wrinkled areas.

Tips for Applying Fabric Spray

Follow these tips when using fabric spray to maximize performance:

Test First for Colorfastness

Spray a small, hidden section of fabric first to check for potential discoloration or staining, especially on silks or delicate fabrics.

Spray in a Well-Ventilated Area

The chemicals in fabric sprays can be overpowering in enclosed spaces. Open windows or go outdoors when possible while spraying.

Wear Gloves to Avoid Skin Contact

Direct contact with fabric spray residue on your hands can cause irritation for some people. Wearing gloves reduces risk.

Remove Accessories First

Take off any removable hardware, buttons, trims, or embellishments on clothing or furnishings before spraying to prevent damage.

Avoid Rubbing or Touching While Wet

Let spray dry fully before wearing clothing or putting furnishings back in use to prevent transferring wet product.

Store Sprays Upright and at Room Temperature

Heat and freezing can degrade fabric sprays over time. Store in cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Common Questions About Fabric Sprays

If you’re new to using fabric sprays, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How long does fabric spray last?

Fabric spray coatings typically remain effective for 3-10 washes. Higher quality sprays tend to last longer. Reapply after washing items.

Do fabric sprays wash out?

The protective coating provided by fabric sprays does eventually wash out over repeated laundering. Reapplying restores the benefits.

Can you use fabric spray on upholstery?

Yes, upholstery fabric spray is designed specifically for use on couches, chairs, ottomans, and other upholstered items.

What’s the difference between stain repellent and water repellent spray?

Water repellent sprays cause water to bead up and roll off fabric. Stain repellents create a barrier to block spills and stains from absorbing.

Should you wash clothes after using fabric spray?

It’s best to let items sprayed with wrinkle release or stain repellent dry and set before washing. For odor eliminating sprays, laundering immediately is recommended.


Applying fabric spray allows you to improve the performance and appearance of all types of fabrics easily. Follow the application tips covered here to get the most from stain repellents, odor eliminators, water repellents, and any other fabric spray products you choose to use. With the right spray and proper technique, you can keep your clothing, furniture, curtains and more looking and feeling like new.