How to Waterproof Clay Pottery?

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Clay pottery refers to the process of making pots, vessels, decorative objects, etc. with clay being modeled, dried, fired, and glazed. Specifically, in cooking, the usage of clay pots has proved to be beneficial for health. But no matter for what purpose you are going to use clay pots, you need to waterproof them to make them long-lasting.

Clay pottery items usually absorb water and eventually deteriorate if it does not have any water-resistance property. So, apply a waterproof coating on your favorite coffee mug that someone special might have gifted you or the cooking pot that you use to make delicious dishes and protect them from getting damaged.

Here, in this article, we are going to discuss every aspect of the waterproofing of clay pottery items. We assure you that in the end, you will have a clear idea to start waterproofing your pots. So, let’s get started!

Importance of Waterproofing Clay Pottery:

There are some benefits of waterproofing clay pots that we have discussed below. Read them to know why you cannot afford to avoid waterproofing your favorite clay potteries.

  • Cleanse the impurities present on the pot’s surface:

If you have crafted clay cookware to make great food or if you want to use clay pots to reserve drinking water, then having clean and impurity-free utensils is an utmost necessity. So, by waterproofing your clay pot, you can easily remove all the impurities present in the clay body, and make it food and drink-safe.

  • Increases the durability of the pots:

One of the most significant benefits of waterproofing clay pots is that it makes them highly durable. Waterproofing reduces the chances of deterioration of clay pottery. It increases the durability and longevity of the clay wares and makes them last long for many years.

  • Prevents leakage issues:

Waterproofing the clay wares used for cooking will prevent oil seepage from the body of the pot, which will, in turn, avoid causing an oil smear and smudge on the surface on which the utensil is kept.

  • Keeps the beauty intact:

Waterproofing decorative clay pots and sculptures will reduce aging and fading of their colors due to harsh weather conditions to a great extent. It will also prevent water leakages and seepages through the body, thereby keeping the beauty of the pottery intact.

  • Sun protection:

When we put clay wares outside in the sun, the heat causes the clay to expand, but due to the porosity of the clay pot, water seeps out and cools the clay. This rapid expansion and contraction of the clay body cause it to crack and break. Thus, if you waterproof the surface of the pots, then it will reduce the occurrence of this expansion-contraction process to a great extent.

What Waterproofing Materials Can You Use?

Well, various materials can be used to waterproof clay pots. Here in the table, we have enlisted some of the materials that are mainly used and highly recommended for waterproofing your pottery.




Cooking WaresCoconut oil/ Sesame oil/ Olive oilThe surface sealant is like a barrier that forms a protective coating outside the pot. It has a high waterproof ability.
Water/ Rice BrothSince coconut oil or sesame oil is widely available in any household, they are mostly used to waterproof pots.
Decorative Earthen PotsAcrylic or Ceramic PaintsPaints are mostly used as sealants in decorating flower pots and showpieces.
Surface sealantThe surface sealant is like a barrier that forms a protective coating outside the pot. It has high waterproof ability.
Penetrating sealantThis type of sealant is directly used in the clay before giving shape to the pots. It is adequately mixed with the clay dough to increase its strength in preventing water.
Pot sealerThis material can be utilized both inside and outside the pottery items before applying paints. It helps the paint to stick onto the pot’s surface adequately without forming any air bubbles.

How to Waterproof Pottery Items to Use Them for Eating Purposes?

There are mainly two popular methods to waterproof earthen cooking pots. You can opt for any of them, depending on the available materials at your home. Both of the processes are easy to perform, and you can do it anytime.

Method -1:

In this method, we will tell you some of the easy steps to waterproof your clay pots and make them food-safe.

Step 1: Cleansing

Right after crafting your clay pot, you need to wash it thoroughly in water to remove any dirt or contaminants present on it. Remember, you must clean both the interior and exterior of the pots. You can also use a scrubber if needed.

Step 2: Soaking

Next, fill water in the pot up to its brim and leave it to soak overnight, preferably for 24 hours. Soaking helps the pot to lose the smell or taste of raw clay.

Step 3: Oiling

After 24 hours of soaking the pot in water, you should rinse the pottery again and dry it with a towel. Once you have done so, get some coconut oil or sesame oil and coat the entire pot thoroughly both inside and outside. Also, make sure to spread the oil all over the clay pot, including its handles and rim. Try to use your fingers to oil the pot. However, remember not to apply much pressure or force on the clay body while oiling it.

Step 4: Heating on Stove

Now put the clay pot on a stove and heat it on low flame for 2 minutes. After that, raise the flame and heat the pot again for about 5 minutes. Then put off the stove and let the pottery piece cool. Once the pottery comes back to normal room temperature, fill it with water and let it soak overnight.

Step 5: Repeating the entire process again

Repeat this whole process for at least 3 days to get the pot finally ready for cooking. Don’t skip any instructions. Complete every step for 3 days consecutively.

Though in this second process, you will have to perform almost similar steps, additional material is used here. Follow the steps below to learn this easy way to waterproof your clay pot.

Step 1: Cleaning

Firstly, wash the pot meticulously with water to remove all the dirt and impurities, if any.

Step 2: Soaking Overnight

Next, take a big bowl and fill it with water. Immerse the pot into it and make sure that the entire pottery vessel stays submerged underwater. Let the clay pot soak overnight.

Step 3: Drying under Sun

The next day, take the clay pot out of the water and rinse it thoroughly with fresh water again. Then, rub it with a towel and leave the pottery under the sun for some time. Keep it under the sun until it gets completely dried.

Step 4: Oiling

Once the clay pot gets wholly dried up, take some amount of coconut oil or sesame oil in your hand and spread it on the entire surface. Grease the pot completely, both from the inside and outside.

Step 5: Rice Water

Prepare some rice water (boil rice and get the water out of it) and pour it into the oiled pot. Make sure the rice broth is boiling hot. Leave the clay pot overnight in this way. The next day, heat the rice broth contained pot, first on low flame, and then finally rinse the pottery piece and dry it.

Congrats! You are done with waterproofing your clay pot.

How to Waterproof Pottery Items to Use Them for Decorative Purposes?

There are different types of clay pottery that we use to decorate our homes and surroundings. Whether it’s a flowerpot or showpiece, we need to waterproof each one of them to make them last longer.

So, let’s have a look at the ways we can waterproof clay potteries that are used for decorating and other purposes. Here are some of the useful materials that do a great job in waterproofing clay pots.




Liquid RubberPaint typeTo waterproof your clay pottery piece, you need to paint it at least 5-times for a built-up finish with an effective sealer. Make sure to leave the item idle to dry for at least 15 minutes after every coating. Once you complete coating the pot with a sealer 5 times, let it sit for 24 to 48 hours.
Glaze Spraying, dipping, and paint typeYou can perform glazing on the clay body by giving it a coat of the glazing mixture. You can also insert a mix of salt and soda directly into the kiln at a high temperature to produce a salt glaze. Moreover, you can dip the clay pot in a glazing mix or spray glaze onto the item using a sprayer.
Color PaintBoth spray and paint types.First, you need to make sure that the item you are waterproofing is clean and dry. We would suggest you use a pot sealer before applying the paint to the clay pot. Once you have painted the item, both inside and outside, let it dry completely. Then look for any uneven spot left on the pottery and coat it. Finally, once it dries up, again paint the item thoroughly for one last time. After that, let it sit for 24 to 48 hours.
SealerBoth paint and spray type.To waterproof your clay pottery piece, you need to paint it at least 5-times for a built-up finish with an effective sealer. Make sure to leave the item idle to dry for at least 15 minutes after every coating. Once you complete coating the pot with a sealer for 5 times, let it sit for 24 to 48 hours.
Spar VarnishSpray typeIt is an oil-based sealer known to be used to waterproof things. Once you have cleaned and dried the clay pot, coat it with spar varnish both inside and outside. Give the clay item at least 5-coatings, then put it in a box and let it air-dry for about 10-12 hours.

Tips to be Followed During Waterproofing Clay Pots:

So, now, are you thinking of starting to waterproof your clay pots? Here are some useful tips for you to waterproof your clay pottery items, including cookware and decorative pieces.

  • When you are heating earthen cookware on the stove during the process of waterproofing it, always use a silicon potholder or a piece of cloth to hold the pot. You should never try to hold it with steel holders.
  • Whenever you are heating the clay vessels on the stove, try to keep the flame low or medium, not high.
  • While cleaning the clay vessels, do not use any kind of soap or detergent because it will soak into the clay and may leach into your food.
  • You can use hot water with salt or baking soda to wash and clean the earthen vessels. Use a stiff brush to scrub them.
  • After washing your clay pottery items, always make sure to dry them properly; otherwise, they may crack or craze.
  • Before applying any kind of paint, always use a pot sealer. If you are looking for an effective sealant, then we would suggest you opt for Flex Seal Spray Rubber Sealant. This liquid rubberized pot sealer dries up quite quickly and works well for almost every clay type.
  • Place a plastic sheet, newspaper, or drop cloth and then put the clay pot on it to start the process of waterproofing. You can put on gloves to keep your hands clean and dry.
  • You should start painting from the bottom of the clay pot with a paintbrush and move upwards gradually. Keep stroking horizontally & don’t leave any gaps.
  • Firing the pot in a kiln following a proper timing and temperature range is very important. An ideal firing process can help the paint, sealant, and glaze to lock onto the clay piece correctly and create a durable waterproofing layer.


We all love earthen pots for cooking, gardening, decorating, and gifting people. Clay pottery pieces are not only attractive but also extremely useful. However, these items need our special attention to hold their beauty and usefulness intact. And in this regard, waterproofing ensures that the clay pots stay safe from any damage caused by external agents. Also, a waterproofing layer enhances the beauty of these products.

You can show your creativity by painting your earthen pots and decorating them with new ideas. Waterproofing can be fun if you really enjoy the process. It’s a vital step that you need to take to keep your favorite clay pottery item protected and renovated.

Happy Sculpting!

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