A Detailed Guide on How to Reproof Oilskin Coat

Lea W

Posted on December 02 2020

a detailed guide on how to reproof oilskin coat

Oilskin coats are an investment. With proper care and maintenance, an oilskin coat can last for many, many years. They are the perfect addition to any outfit and highly versatile as they can be worn across all seasons. Its water repellent properties are major selling points and reproofing guarantees greater integrity, ensuring years, even decades of use. Owners of oilskin coats should understand the importance of reproofing as this process is crucial in that the water repellent properties of oilskin jacket diminish over time. Reproofing not only extends the waterproofing agents, but also makes coats look and feel brand-new.


So, what is MicroWax Oilskin? 

Oilskin was developed by sailors who discovered that treating sails with a combination of linseed and whale oil bears excellent protective, water-repellent properties. Technology has indeed come a long way since the sailors first developed the oilskin process. Today’s oilskin process has the ability to keep wearers dry amidst heavy rain and thunderstorms, while providing added integrity to withstand daily use on land.

What is to be expected from brand-new oilskin coats?

  • At the onset, your oilskin coat will feature a light oil residue on its surface. This is normal and a result of the manufacturing process. The oil surface will dissipate with daily wear. You can expedite the drying process by using a hair dryer.
  • Care must be taken, so that the garment does not come in contact with other fabric materials or other leather items, until the oil surface has completely evaporated.

How do you clean an oilskin jacket?

  1. Soak in a tub of cold water. You may also hang the coat outside and hose down.
  2. Use a stiff brush to remove debris.
  3. Rinse the jacket/coat with cold water.
  4. Let the coat dry naturally- in a place with excellent air circulation and in indirect sunlight.

How do you reproof an oilskin coat?

For proper reproofing, you need to conduct periodic application of reproofing cream along the seams, at friction points, and any dry areas. Implementing this process will extend the life and water-repellent nature of your coat.

  1. Ideally, reproofing is to be done on a warm day.
  2. Place the coat in a sunny area for several minutes. This will allow for the coat to heat up, so that it feels soft and supple to the touch. Remember to warm the jacket for just a few minutes. Do not leave it unattended for an extended period. Extended sun exposure can result in bleached fabric.
  3. Warm up the reproofing cream by putting the container directly under the sun or place the covered container in a pan of hot water.
  4. Apply the dressing sparingly across the surface of the coat using a clean white cloth. Place a little extra along the seams and friction points.
  5. The sun will naturally spread the reproofing cream evenly and quickly through your jacket.
  6. You may use a hand-held hair dryer to assist in the absorption of the cream into the cloth. This can be done when the weather is milder climate.

How do you reproof an oilskin jacket using wax?

It is recommended to reproof oilskin every 3 to 10 years or depending on how frequent you use your coat. You don’t need a large amount of reproofing oil or dressing to re-oil a full-length coat.

  1. Remove all dirt and debris from the coat. Use a wet cloth or hand wash cloth in cold water. For cleansing, you may use a mild soap or an antibacterial detergent.
  2. Hang the jacket to dry naturally.
  3. Heat the reproofing container in hot water until the wax turns to liquid. Ideally, the hot water level should only be 3cm lower than the tin can.
  4. Apply the wax directly onto the garment using a soft cloth, sponge, or paintbrush. Make sure to apply thicker coating to the shoulders, neck, and seams of the jacket.

After waxing the coat, you may use a hair dryer on a low-warm setting to even out patches. This will enable the wax to penetrate deeper into the coat for a long-lasting finish. You may then hang the garment in a warm place and allow it to dry naturally.

Other care instructions for oilskin coat and other garments

  • If your coat becomes stiff, apply another layer of re-proofer to make the fabric more supple.
  • Proper storage is critical to ensure the longevity of oilskin coats. Clean and dry the jacket according to instructions above. Make sure to hang dry the coat naturally before storing away in the closet. Make sure to store the coat in an area with excellent air circulation.
  • Mildew appears on the coat as a result of storing while wet. An insufficiently dried coat or in a high humidity environment can lead to the development and growth of mildew. In this case, use a vinegar and water solution. Using a spray bottle, apply the white vinegar solution with a stiff brush. Make sure to scrub all oilskin areas on both sides. Hang the jacket up, hose off, and allow it to naturally dry.
  • During periods of non-use, always roll your oilskin coat and place it in a clean, dry place, and away from direct sunlight.
  • Do not use hot water, harsh soaps and cleaning detergents on your coat. 
  • Never wring, spin, or tumble dry oilskin jacket.
  • Never iron or dry clean.
  • Never stitch anything to the exterior part of the garment without resealing stitches.

If you want to know more care instructions for oilskin coats and other leather products, shop online at Kakadu Traders. Reach out to us through our Instagram or Facebook accounts. We would love to hear from you!

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