How do you clean waxed cloth?

yoshmysteryoshmyster Member Posts: 19,103 ✭✭✭

I got a jacket with either mold or mildew and the silly thing basically states to knock the dirt and blot with cold wet rag. Don't say squat how to clean it. All the how to on youtube also don't mention cleaning just re-waxing. I got half a mind to go to the coin-op car wash and use the pressure washer or go to the laundry mat and mess up their machine.

So do I just wax it like Daniel-san and let the silly thing stink? Strange garment.


  • Flying Clay DiskFlying Clay Disk Member Posts: 34,472 ✭✭✭✭
    Just lay it on your driveway and hose it off and scrub it down with a brush if need be.  Then re-wax if need be.
  • Butchdog2Butchdog2 Member Posts: 845 ✭✭✭
  • notnownotnow Member Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭
    Try laquer thinner and a brush.
  • RugerNinerRugerNiner Member Posts: 12,619 ✭✭✭
    I will list some cleaning and care tips for you below:

    Your oilskin can be cleaned using a dry brush to remove any dirt. If it needs to be washed, use water only and allow it to air-dry. You can also dilute a small amount of dawn dish soap with water to remove any tough stains. Make sure to never fully submerge your oilskin in water, and do not put it in the dryer. To remove sweat, odors, & mildew you can mix 1/3 vinegar with water. Apply this solution with a spray bottle while brushing the coat with a stiff brush — you can also put the solution in a bucket and use your brush to apply the solution from the bucket. Be sure to scrub all oilskin areas that you can reach — both sides of the fabric when possible. We also recommend re-oiling your oilskin once a year to maintain its waterproof qualities. To do this, we recommend using our duck back dressing.

    Periodic application of Duck Back Reproofing cream to the seams, friction points, and any dry areas will prolong the life and waterproof nature of your coat.
    1) start with a clean, dry coat and a warm (hot) day
    2) place coat in the sunshine for several minutes to allow it to heat up so it feels warm and supple to the touch. Do not leave unattended fabrics, extended exposure to sunlight will sun-bleach the fabric.
    3) warm up the Duck Back dressing by putting the jar in the sun or in a pan of hot water
    4) apply dressing sparingly to the coat using a clean cloth — a little extra to the seams and friction points
    5) the sun will spread the dressing evenly and quickly through the coat fabric
    6) a hand-held hair drier can be used to work the dressing into the cloth if you are reproofing when it is not hot and sunny

    Outback Trading Company


    Keep your Powder dry and your Musket well oiled.
    NRA Lifetime Benefactor Member.
  • ChrisStreettChrisStreett Member Posts: 3,715 ✭✭✭

    +1 on the above, especially the hair dryer fix to work the wax into seams, etc. I’ve been doing this with a Filson jacket for over 20 years. It’s a lot of work but the end result is worth the effort.

    "...dying ain't much of a living boy"-Josey Wales
  • yoshmysteryoshmyster Member Posts: 19,103 ✭✭✭

    Yeah I wet a toothbrush and went to town but it's not coming up. maybe it's a "dry" spot where the wax wore off? I saw a similar jacket for sale on ebay that looked like it went in the wash and it kind a looked cool. All distressed and all. Maybe I'll re-wax it and what ever the "stain" will become "patina" under the wax. There was something in the pocket that may have been the source of the discoloration on the outer shell. I'll have to take a toothbrush with rubbing alcohol to what's left of crud. Most of it came off with hot water soak and a brisk rubbing with a wet rag. The trippy bit was the pocket uses some space age fine mesh that repelled the water. Maybe I'll try the Dawn with baking soda as an abrasive and a toothbrush first.

    notnow - I'll pass on the lacquer thinner. If you were serious and not trying to jack with me.

    RugerNiner - Dawn is a new one. Gentile enough for baby ducking from an oil spill. I'll try that on the shell after I get the tin of wax. The "how to" is similar to the instruction from the garment manufacturer. So basically if it stinks the best I can do is hose it down and hope that will dilute the stink. Turn it inside out and take a cold shower with it on.

    My problem is finding a place warm enough that the wax won't solidify instantly on the jacket. I wonder if I can take the coat in to a sauna with a tin of wax? 

    So the tin of wax all the same or must I buy the jacket's recommended house brand?

  • Flying Clay DiskFlying Clay Disk Member Posts: 34,472 ✭✭✭✭
    Yosh...don't use alcohol! 
    I was actually speaking from experience as I have several waxed canvas garments.  Seriously, here's what you can do.
    1. Take a scrub brush (not a toothbrush), but a full blown scrub brush.  Lay the jacket out on a smooth surface outside.  Wet it down and SCRUB!  You can use a little detergent, but I never have needed it, just put some elbow grease into it!  SCRUB!  Scrub util the areas on the jacket look uniform in color (remember, the wet areas will always be darker than any light areas).
    Basically, you're getting all the gunk off it in this step.  Mildew does not need a solvent, it just needs scrubbing.
    2. Hang the jacket up on a hanger in your garage or basement to dry.  Let it dry all the way.  Now, check the wax coating.  If it's worn off it will look like raw canvas.  If it's not, it will look, well, "waxy".  If the jacket needs additional wax go to step #3.
    3. Get a hair dryer.  Apply some of the wax to a section of the coat and then warm the spot with the hair dryer.  The wax will melt.  Rub the wax into the areas which need wax.  If the whole thing needs wax, then just keep going until you do the whole thing.  Get the material hot enough to melt the wax and rub it in.  When the wax dries it should look 'oily', but not necessarily 'waxy'.  Note - It's going to make a mess, so do it outside or somewhere where you don't care about the floor below.  It will drip.
    Waxed garments are fantastic garments for weather!  I have an 'oilskin' duster which will withstand virtually anything except being inside it when it gets even remotely warm outside.  Oilskin hats the same way. 

  • yoshmysteryoshmyster Member Posts: 19,103 ✭✭✭

    Flying Clay Disk - I used the alcohol on the tough moldy spots in the pocket. I was careful not to get it on the cloth. I think I got most of it. Enough that it's not bothering me.

    I was questioning notnow's lacquer thinner suggestion.

    Scrub brush, huh? Like for cast iron? The jacket isn't one of those Australian "duster". The outer cloth I got issues with is lighter in color. Maybe the wax is worn off?

    I got Barbour's Thornproof Wax in a can (I got two just in case one wasn't enough). I watched folks use bars of wax. That looked like hard work. Like rubbing bars of soap on car windows hard. I plan to melt the wax in a pot of water and sponge it on like how the waxer from Barbour does it. I need a warm day or need to do this in the kitchen with the oven on and the door opened. That reminds me I need to go to Harbor Freight and buy a cheap tarp for the floor. I got most of the stuff to do the job. Now I just need a hot day.

  • Flying Clay DiskFlying Clay Disk Member Posts: 34,472 ✭✭✭✭
    Scrub brush - Like the stiff bristle scrub brushes you use to clean your floor, or bathtub, or boat if you have one.  Just a regular old 'scrub brush' with nylon or natural bristles.  Definitely do NOT use any kind of a wire brush!  You can get them at any grocery store.
  • yoshmysteryoshmyster Member Posts: 19,103 ✭✭✭
    Just wanted to make sure your scrub brush and my scrub brush were the same since I seen some folks on youtube using a brush like for shoes. The soft ones for buffing. I suppose this is another project to fill my time.
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