How To Care For Your Oilskin Coat

Lea W

Posted on December 17 2020

How To Care For Your Oilskin Coat

For many generations, the oilskin coat has been an endearing part of the Australian tradition for farmers and stockmen alike. Despite the many changes brought by modernisation, many Australians still patronise the use of oilskin jacket due to its sturdiness and utility. Oilskin fabric is now even being made into a range of accessories, thanks to these same inherent characteristics.

Workhorse Drovers Jacket

So, what are oilskin coats made from?

The oilskin fabrics are made from 100% tightly woven cotton which is then soaked in a solution of special oils and waxes that guarantee protection from external stressors, including hail, rain, snow, and strong winds. It is also known as waxed cotton fabric.

The construction and treatment process that oilskin fabric undergoes contribute to its superior durability and longevity. Unlike synthetic fabrics such as nylon, oilskin fabric is remarkable and preferred by most people due to its natural texture and breathability factors.

Due to the treatment process that oilskin coats go through, expect an oilskin fabric to be heavier than traditional garments. The solution used in waterproofing oilskin fabric is made from ingredients, including gum, oil, and wax.

Oilskin coats are worth the investment. Due to their weather-proof and superior quality construction, their prices are higher than most outdoor apparel. Most Australians, especially those who use an oilskin coat in their trade don’t mind spending a little more than buying traditional clothes that are easily worn out with years of wear and tear. In comparison, oilskin coats are very sturdy in that with proper care and maintenance, they can last for years, even decades; hence giving you the most bang for buck. If you recently purchased an oilskin jacket at or are planning to buy yourself one, it’s important to educate yourself about proper care, which includes cleaning, storage, and regular maintenance.

In this article, we will give you crucial care pointers to ensure your oilskin coat can last a lifetime.

How do I take good care of my oilskin jacket?

Before we discuss pointers on proper oilskin coat care and maintenance, it’s important to get the correct sizing of your coat. When buying an oilskin coat, make sure to choose a size that fits well on you. This will avoid excessive stretching at the edges or seams to prevent the entry of water inside the garment.

When cleaning an oilskin coat:

  • Most oilskin coat manufacturers attach wash instructions inside the garment. Follow these instructions to the letter to avoid damage or premature deterioration of your garment.
  • Never wash your oilskin coat with hot water and detergent as they are known to remove the oil and wax component- ingredients that deliver the waterproofing capabilities of oilskin coat.
  • For a dirty oilskin jacket, you may get rid of dirt by brushing them off with a sponge soaked in cold water.
  • If the dirt or stains on your oilskin garment are impossible to remove using the sponge and cold water cleaning combination, it’s best to hand wash the garment in cold water.

If your oilskin jacket needs a comprehensive or deep clean, experts recommend using pure soap or a cleaning solution that is specifically formulated for oil and oilskin fabrics. After a thorough wash, it’s imperative to re-proof the coat. You may perform the re-proofing yourself using the right products or seek professional re-proofing services.

oilskin coat

How do you dry oilskin jacket after washing?

  • Rinse the coat well after cleaning. We suggest hanging your garment to dry.
  • You must hang the oilskin jacket in a well-ventilated area or outdoors. Make sure it is completely dry before storing inside the cabinet.
  • Never hang your oilskin coat directly over a radiator, naked flame, or artificial heat when drying.
  • Once completely dry, it’s advised to re-proof the garment for your oilskin coat to recover its water-proofing quality.
  • Never attempt to machine wash, dry clean, or iron oilskin coat. Uncontrolled agitation and excessive heat will damage the fabric and remove its protective qualities.

How to remove mould on an oilskin coat?

  • If you detect mould, use a soft-bristled brush to remove as much mould as you can.
  • Pat small amounts of vinegar on moulded areas of the coat.
  • Hand wash in lukewarm water using pure soap or oilskin detergent.
  • Never leave your jacket soaking on detergent for an extended period. Rinse excess detergent by hanging the coat outdoors and hosing down any soap residue.
  • Do not place in direct sunlight to prevent serious damage to the fabric.
  • Typically, an oilskin coat dries longer than regular apparel. Dry your oilskin jacket completely by way of air drying. It is imperative to dry the coat completely to get rid of the musky smell caused by mould invasion.
  • It is important to re-proof the coat after a thorough wash. The use of detergent in removing mould will also strip down the coat of its oil and wax components.

If your oilskin coat is completely covered in mould, soak it in lukewarm water with vinegar. The vinegar will not only disinfect the jacket but will eradicate mould infestation on your garment. To avoid mould from forming on your oilskin items, store them in a dry and well-ventilated space. Make sure to aerate your coat once by removing it from the cabinet or plastic bag periodically. 

How do I re-proof my oilskin coat?

When re-proofing your oilskin coat, you may use an oilskin re-proofer in spray form or wax tin. Oilskin re-proofing spray is perfect when for smaller items, including bags, dog jacket, or small areas of oilskin garments. Re-proofing sprays are even more convenient than using a wax tin. When using wax tin, you need to heat or melt the solution before use. Although oilskin and genuine leather may look identical, they aren’t! With this in mind, never use leather cleaning goods when cleaning or re-proofing oilskin coats. 

For more information about proper care and maintenance of your oilskin coat and other garments, you may refer to some of our other helpful entries online. If you’re looking for a superior quality coat, check out our vast collection of oilskin garments at Kakadu Traders. For enquiries, you may email us or message us on Facebook or Instragram!

More Posts