Waxed cotton coats and clothing are a much loved staple of the British country scene. That’s clear from just taking a walk and looking at what people are wearing. However, if you've never had one of your own you may want to know a little more before making a purchase - such as the best methods of waxed cotton care.
What is Waxed Cotton?
Waxed cotton, or oilskin, is a fabric with a long tradition in the UK. It is made by weaving cotton yarn into a strong canvas fabric, which is then treated with a wax and oil mixture, according to the manufacturer's formula.
The impregnating of the fabric creates a barrier that is highly resistant to wind and water, while maintaining the desirable breathable quality of the cotton. This makes it perfect for tackling the great outdoors.
The Origins of Waxed Cotton Clothing
Waxed cotton clothing are garments impregnated with a wax that is then woven into a fabric used to create clothes. It’s been a popular choice since the mid-19th century. It was discovered in Scotland, with the sailing industry looking for something that would protect against the rain and ocean while being breathable.
Before this time, fish oils and grease were added to sailcloths, and patches of old or worn out sails were used to make cloaks to keep sailors dry and warm in the harsh conditions. Over time, this technique evolved into what we have today. As our techniques have improved, we see more clothing styles and garments using this technique for our outdoor adventures.
How To Look After Your Waxed Cotton Clothing Item
Like all pieces of clothing, caring for waxed cotton garments will ensure it lasts longer while looking its best. Especially when you start to invest in higher quality clothing, you want to look good and feel at your best on your next countryside adventure.
We’ve picked out a couple of ways that make it easy to look after waxed cotton garments, allowing you to enjoy them for longer than you might think.
Generally speaking, people seem to prefer their waxed cotton clothing to show a little wear and tear - rather like a comfortable pair of old jeans. That said, your jacket will reward a little occasional maintenance with a longer lifespan - much as a pair of leather shoes benefits from an occasional polish.
Caring for your waxed cotton clothes includes a simple process of reproofing your jacket to bring back its original water and wind-resistant finish, while protecting the fabric from wear.
As well as prolonging the life of your waxed cotton, reproofing the garment will improve the fabric’s colour and help to prevent wear along the seams of your jacket. No one wants a leaky jacket, after all.
How Often Will I Need to Reproof the Jacket?
How often you need to reproof a jacket largely depends upon how often you wear, and how rough you are, with your jacket.
If a jacket is worn frequently in arduous conditions, it will need regular reproofing. On the other side of this, reproofing the jacket is needed less often if the jacket is only worn occasionally, and kept free from mud and dirt.
If you notice that the coat appears to be drying out, this is likely due to exposure to the elements and is an indication that it may be time for a quick application of wax. Uneven colour, shiny or dry areas - or where moisture no longer beads on the surface - are good indicators to reproof those specific areas.
It is not always necessary to reproof the entire garment, simply address the areas that seem to require it. Typically, these areas include the shoulders, elbows and seat.
How Easy is it to Reproof a Jacket?
It is a relatively simple process to reproof a jacket, rather like polishing a pair of shoes, but on a slightly larger scale.
In order to reproof your jacket you will need to acquire a good quality reproofing wax like
Before beginning, make sure the jacket is clean. Any dirt left on the surface will clock the reproofing agent and when it falls away, leaves untreated areas. Clean well and leave to dry before the next step.
Once ready, apply the reproofing agent:
Find Out More About Waxed Cotton Clothing
Once done, and the proofing agent has settled, you’re ready to use your jacket again and brave the British weather on your next outdoor adventure!
It doesn’t take long to keep your favourite waxed cotton clothing in the best condition, so a little time here and there can do wonders for your favourite garments and save you money. Keep an eye on your jackets after each trip you make into the countryside and you’ll stay warm, dry and fresh.