Scotchgard Auto Vs Scotchgard Fabric Protector – What’s the Better Option?

The good news is that Scotchgard is a tried and true brand for all of your fabric protector needs. The not-so-good news is that they have a wide variety of products that can be difficult to choose from.

Mainly because their descriptions are often very similar. They also seem to do pretty much the same thing. However, if you are looking to protect your automobile and indoor fabrics, you are in luck.

Because today we will be looking at Scotchgard’s line of indoor fabric protectors as well as their auto fabric protectors. Of course, these products are meant to be used in different settings.

So the better option will be dependent on what you actually need – indoor fabric care or auto fabric care. But what we really wanted to see is how well both of these product lines perform in their respective arenas.

Scotchgard Fabric Protector Overview


Scotchgard products hit shelves all the way back in 1956. They are part of the 3M family of products.

The line of indoor Scotchgard products is fairly comprehensive. They have something for your rugs, carpets, couches and even pet bedding.

However, it should be noted that Scotchgard Fabric Protector products largely protect against water-based stains only.

Scotchgard Auto Overview

The automotive line of Scotchgard products don’t have the same fabled history as their standard fabric protectors; but they offer similar protection.

The Scotchgard Auto line of products can also be used on the upholstery of other vehicles such as boats and RVs. Scotchgard Auto products also protect against mostly water-based stains.

What’s the Difference Between Scotchgard Auto and Scotchgard Fabric Protector?

The obvious difference is that Scotchgard Auto is intended for use on automotive upholstery.

That’s pretty much where the differences end as well. In terms of the formula, these two product lines are almost identical.

Quick Facts

Scotchgard Auto

Scotchgard Fabric








Auto upholstery

Indoor upholstery

Scotchgard Fabric Protector Products

Scotchgard Fabric Water Shield

Scotchgard Fabric Water Shield

Selling Points:

  • 5 ounce can
  • Protects against water-based stains
  • Retains breathability

What we really liked about Scotchgard Fabric Water Shield was the fact that it was effective on a wide variety of items. From ties and curtains to shoes and backpacks. It helps protect against water-based stains and waterproofs fabrics.

It has a bit of an odor when applied; but  it mostly disappears once it dries up. It takes a while to dry but will hold up for a good long while.

Overall Score: 94/100

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Scotchgard Rug & Carpet Protector

Selling Points:

  • Easy cleanup
  • 14 ounce can
  • Spray application

While this product won’t exactly clean existing stains, it certainly does make cleaning new stains much easier. It prevents water-based stains from seeping deep into carpet and rug fibers.

Best of all, it is effective on synthetic and high-pile carpets. It’s very easy to apply too: just spray it on the area you want to protect and let it thoroughly dry.

Overall Score: 93/100

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Honorable Scotchgard Fabric Protector Product Mentions

Scotchgard Suede & Nubuck Protector for shoes

Overall Score: 94/100

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Scotchgard Auto Products

Scotchgard Auto Carpet Water Shield

Selling Points:

  • Can be used on boats and RV’s too
  • Repels rain and snow
  • 10 ounce can

What surprised us about Scotchgard Auto Carpet Water Shield was that it worked really well on floor mats. Not all-weather mats mind you but still – even being subjected to mud and dirt, Scotchgard Auto Carpet Water Shield prevents staining.

It does an excellent job of beading up water on fabric auto seats too so it would be an especially good solution for anyone who lives in a particularly rainy area of the country.

Overall Score: 95/100

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Scotchgard Rug & Carpet Cleaner

Scotchgard Rug & Carpet Protector

Selling Points:

  • Lifts water-based stains
  • Protects against future stains
  • 14 ounce cans

Unlike any of the products we have gone over so far, Scotchgard Rug & Carpet Cleaner can actually lift light stains in addition to protecting against new ones. It can be used on virtually all rugs, carpet and upholstery.

And yes, that includes automotive upholstery. While it protects against new stains better than it cleans existing stains, it can be used on virtually any kind of non-dry clean only fabric too.

Overall Score: 94/100

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Who Has the Better Product Range?

In terms of water and stain protection, we actually noticed that Scotchgard Auto products provided tougher protection. Even for fabric mats in the trunk, Scotchgard Auto helps keep stains towards the surface of the fabric.

Which Brand Has the Safer Products?

Both of these product lines come from the same company. Moreover, they all have almost identical formulas. Therefore, they are all equally safe.

Did Scotchgard Get Discontinued?

Some of Scotchgard’s products used to contain chemical compounds that were found to be harmful to the environment. In response, Scotchgard changed the formulas of these products to be safer.

Is Scotchgard Toxic?

Today, Scotchgard products do not contain PFAs or PFOAs which were two of the chemical compounds that were condemned by the environmental protection agency as being harmful to the environment.

Which is the Best Product?

That’s tough to say because you would obviously use Scotchgard Auto products for your vehicles and Scotchgard Fabric Protector products for your indoor fabrics.

So it pretty much depends on what your needs are. However, we will say that we were thoroughly impressed with the tough stain protection of Scotchgard Auto products – particularly Scotchgard Auto Carpet Water Shield.

Scotchgard Fabric Protector Overall Rating: 94/100

Scotchgard Auto Overall Rating: 95/100


Final Assessment

Given its somewhat narrow scope of usage, we are still slightly more impressed with the performance of Scotchgard Auto products than Scotchgard Fabric Protectors.

What it comes down to is the fact that your car, boat, RV, van and other vehicles are likely to take more of a beating than your couches and indoor rugs.

For that reason and that reason only, we would hail Scotchgard Auto as the better option. But again, it really boils down to where you need water and stain protection.