Is Vegan Leather Waterproof? – Dispelling the Doubts

When it comes to sustainable fashion and ethical choices, vegan leather has been gaining popularity as a cruelty-free alternative to traditional animal leather.

However, one lingering question continues to intrigue consumers and enthusiasts alike: Is vegan leather waterproof?

In this blog, we’ll delve deep into the nuances of vegan leather, uncovering the truth behind its water-resistant properties.

Is Vegan Leather Waterproof Infographic

Is Vegan Leather Waterproof?

Vegan leather can be waterproof, but it depends on the material used to produce it.

Some vegan leather options are naturally water-resistant, while others may require additional treatments to become waterproof.

Polyurethane (PU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) vegan leathers may have some water resistance due to their plastic composition. They can absorb water if exposed to heavy rainfall or submerged in water for an extended period.

Plant-based vegan leather alternatives like pineapple leather (Piñatex) and cork may possess natural water-resistant properties, but they are not completely waterproof either.

Source: Canary and Co YT Channel

Should I Avoid Getting My Vegan Leather Products Wet?

While vegan leather tends to have higher waterproofing abilities than traditional leather, avoid getting it excessively wet whenever possible. Here’s why:

  • Water Resistance, Not Waterproof: Vegan leather can resist water to some extent, but it’s not completely waterproof. Excessive exposure to water can still lead to absorption and damage over time.
  • Material Integrity: Prolonged exposure to water can affect the integrity of vegan leather, causing it to warp, stretch, or lose shape.
  • Potential Staining: Some vegan leather materials may be prone to staining when exposed to water, especially if they have not been treated with water-resistant coatings.
  • Drying Time: Vegan leather may take longer to dry than traditional leather and improper drying can lead to mold or mildew growth.
  • Maintenance: Regular exposure to water can accelerate wear and tear on vegan leather products, requiring more frequent cleaning and maintenance.

Waterproofing Methods

There are several methods to waterproof vegan leather, also known as faux or synthetic leather.

Waterproofing vegan leather can help extend its lifespan and protect it from moisture damage. Here are some common methods for waterproofing vegan leather:

1. Waterproof Sprays

Specially formulated waterproof sprays are available in the market that can effectively waterproof vegan leather.

  • Choose a product suitable for synthetic materials like PU or PVC.
  • Before applying the spray, clean the vegan leather with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris.
  • Then, spray an even coat of the waterproof spray over the surface of the vegan leather and let it dry completely. 

2. Wax-based Products

Wax-based products can also be used to waterproof vegan leather.

  • Beeswax or paraffin wax can create a protective barrier on the surface of the vegan leather, repelling water and moisture.
  • To apply wax, melt it and use a clean cloth to rub it onto the vegan leather in a thin, even layer.
  • Cover the entire surface and pay extra attention to seams and edges.
  • Use a hairdryer on low heat to help the wax penetrate the material, and then buff the leather with a dry cloth to remove any excess wax.

3. Silicone-based Sealants

Silicone-based sealants can provide a waterproof coating to vegan leather.

  • These sealants are available in spray or liquid forms and can create a water-resistant barrier on the surface of the material.
  • Clean the vegan leather thoroughly before applying the silicone sealant.
  • Use a clean cloth or sponge to apply the sealant in a thin, consistent layer.
  • Allow it to dry completely before exposing the vegan leather to moisture.

4. DIY Waterproofing Solutions

  • If you prefer natural or homemade methods, you can create a DIY waterproofing solution using ingredients like coconut oil, vinegar, or a hair conditioner.
  • These ingredients can condition the vegan leather while providing water resistance.
  • Mix the desired ingredients in a bowl and apply the mixture to the vegan leather using a clean cloth.
  • Let it sit for a while to absorb into the material before wiping off any excess.

5. Professional Waterproofing Services

  • If you want a more permanent and professional waterproofing solution, consider taking your vegan leather items to a professional or shoe repair shop.
  • They can treat the material with commercial-grade waterproofing products and techniques for long-lasting protection against moisture.

Vegan Leather vs Traditional Leather

Here’s a comparison table between vegan leather and traditional leather:

Feature Vegan Leather Traditional Leather
1. Source Plant-based materials (e.g., PU, PVC) Animal hides (cow, sheep, goat, etc.)
2. Waterproofing Generally High Moderate to Low
3. Breathability Varies; often less breathable than leather Generally more breathable than vegan leather
4. Durability Varies; can be durable depending on quality Generally highly durable
5. Cost Varies; often cheaper than traditional leather Generally more expensive
6. Environmental Impact Typically lower; depends on production methods Higher due to animal farming and processing
7. Texture Mimics leather texture, but varies widely Natural texture with unique variations
8. Maintenance Easier to clean and maintain Requires special care and conditioning
9. Allergies Less likely to cause allergies Some people may be allergic to animal hide

How to Take Care of Vegan Leather

Taking care of vegan leather is relatively easy compared to traditional leather, as it is not made from animal products.

Here are some tips to help you keep your vegan leather items in good condition:

  1. Regular Cleaning: Wipe your vegan leather items with a damp cloth to remove dust or dirt. For tougher stains, use a mild soap and water solution to clean the surface gently.
  2. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners on vegan leather, as they can damage the material. Stick to mild soaps or cleaners specifically designed for use on faux leather.
  3. Avoid Excessive Heat and Sunlight: Exposure to heat and sunlight can cause vegan leather to fade or crack over time. Store your items in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight when not in use.
  4. Be Gentle: When cleaning or handling vegan leather, be gentle to avoid scratching or damaging the material.
  5. Use a Protectant: Consider using a protective spray or cream designed specifically for vegan leather to help maintain its appearance and protect it from stains or water damage.
  6. Storage: When not in use, store your vegan leather items in a breathable storage bag or a cool, dry place to prevent mold or mildew from forming.
  7. Avoid Tugging or Pulling: When using vegan leather items like bags or wallets, avoid tugging or pulling on the material, as this can cause stretching or damage. Be gentle when opening and closing zippers or clasps.
  8. Handle with Care: Treat your vegan leather items to prolong their lifespan. Avoid overstuffing bags, sitting on wallets, or putting excessive weight on them to prevent damage.

Source: MERSi YT Channel

Alternatives to Vegan Leather

Several alternatives to vegan leather offer sustainable and cruelty-free options for those looking to avoid traditional leather products. Some of the popular options include:

1. Cork Leather

Made from the bark of cork oak trees, cork leather is lightweight, water-resistant, and durable.

It has a unique texture and is a renewable resource since the trees are not cut down during harvesting.

2. Pinatex (Pineapple Leather)

Made from the fibers of pineapple leaves, Pinatex is a sustainable and biodegradable alternative to leather.

It has a similar texture to traditional leather and is often used in fashion accessories and footwear.

3. Mushroom Leather (Mylo)

Mylo is a material made from mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms.

It has a similar look and feel to leather and can be produced in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

4. Recycled Plastic Leather

Some companies produce synthetic leather from recycled plastics, such as PET bottles.

While not entirely eco-friendly, it helps reduce plastic waste and can offer water-resistant properties similar to traditional leather.

5. Recycled Leather

Recycled leather is made from scraps and leftovers from the leather industry, ground up and reformed into sheets.

While it’s not entirely vegan, it reduces waste and can offer a more sustainable option for leather-like products.


With advancements in technology, vegan leather can now be made waterproof, providing a durable and versatile option for various products like bags, shoes, and jackets.

By choosing vegan leather, not only are you making a fashion-forward statement, but you are also contributing to the protection of animals and the environment.

Embracing vegan leather as a waterproof solution allows us to merge fashion with ethics and sustainability, creating a brighter and more compassionate future for fashion and our planet.

Resources Consulted

James Chiles

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