Waxed Cotton Care
How To Look After Your Waxed Cotton Garment
Waxed cotton coats are a much loved staple of the British country scene, but if you've never had one of your own you may want to know a little more before making a purchase...
What is origin of Waxed Cotton clothing?
Waxed cotton is, as the name suggests, cotton impregnated with a paraffin based wax, woven into a cloth. Widely used from the mid-19th century to the present day, the product, which originated in the sailing industry in Scotland, became widely used by many for waterproofing. Early mariners noticed that wet sails were more efficient than dry sails, but due to their weight slowed the vessel down. From the 15th century, mariners applied fish oils and grease to their heavy sailcloth, out of the worn remnants of which they cut waterproof capes to keep themselves dry, the forerunner of the fisherman's slicker and the modern waxed cotton coat. The result was efficient sails in the dry, lighter sails in the wet, and drier happier sailors. Courtesy of Wikipedia - read more
What is Waxed Cotton?
Waxed cotton, or oilskin, is a fabric with a long tradition. It is made by weaving cotton yarn into a strong canvas fabric, which is then treated with a wax / 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.
Caring for Your Waxed Cotton
Generally speaking people seem to prefer their waxed cottons with a little wear and tear - rather like a comfortable pair of old jeans. But, your jacket will reward a little occasional maintenance with a longer life span - much as a pair of leather shoes benefits from an occasional polish. The simple process of reproofing your jacket will bring back its original water and wind -resistant finish and protect the fabric from wear. As well as prolonging the life of your waxed cotton, reproofing will improve the fabric’s colour and help to prevent wear along the seams of your jacket.
How often will I need to reproof the Jacket?
This will largely depend 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, much less so if the jacket is only worn occasionally, and keep free from mud and dirt. If you notice that the coat appears to be drying out due to exposure to the elements, this 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 a good indicator to reproof those specific areas. It is not necessary to reproof the entire garment, simply address the areas that seem to require it - typical areas being the shoulders, elbows and seat.
How easy is it to reproof a jacket?
It is a relatively simple process, 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