Filson 101: How to Re-Wax a Filson Jacket

green tin of filson oil finish wax sits on top of brown jacket

How to maintain maximum water repellency from your oil finish cotton clothing.

Our waxed cotton clothing is built for years of rugged use in the great outdoors. When re-waxing is needed, use only Filson’s Original Oil Finish Wax. It has a proprietary blend of paraffin wax and softening oils that are an exact match for the original factory-applied waxed finish. Do not be tempted to use beeswax or other waxes, as they will not blend with the existing wax in the fabric, and do not create the surface tension required to maximize water resistance.

Follow these simple instructions to re-wax your Filson garment:

1. Clean all dirt and debris from garment. Waxed cotton can be hosed off and allowed to dry at room temperature before re-waxing. If dirt is dry and caked onto the garment, a stiff nylon-bristled brush works well to remove the debris. Be sure to pay special attention to the seams as these areas can trap mud and dirt.

brushing seams of re-oiled jacket

2. Lay clean garment on a flat surface. A shop table covered in a blanket or towel will give you room to work. These are the items that you will need. If you don’t have a heat gun, a hair dryer will suffice.

re-waxing items on top of coat

3. Working at room temperature, apply and even coat of wax to the fabric.
One technique that works well is to cover the surface with dots of wax, then rub them in a circular pattern until they are all blended. Being intentional to spread the wax evenly at this stage will make the resulting finish much more uniform.

4. Use a heat gun (or hair dryer) to melt the wax into the fabric.
Keep the heat gun moving slowly, working over the entire surface. The wax will turn shiny as it liquefies, and will disappear as it soaks into the fabric. Another option if a heat gun or hair dryer is not available is to hang the garment in the sun and let it “bake” for several hours. This method will result in a softer finish as it allows the softening oils to meld with the fibers.

applying wax to pocket of jacket
applying wax to pocket of jacket

5. Heavy-use areas, especially at the seams, can benefit from occasional touch-ups. Under extremely heavy use, areas of the garment subject to abrasion and flexing can lose some of their finish, and therefore some of their water repellency.

waxing seams of pocket on jacket
waxing seams of pocket on jacket
removing excess wax from coat

6. If applied too heavily, wax will not absorb. If this happens, continue to apply heat, take a paper towel or a shop rag and wipe off the liquefied wax. This will remove the excess and redistribute it into areas into which it can absorb, with no harm done to the garment.

7. For best results, re-wax your garment at least every two years under normal use. Hard use such as working in mud or having the garment in heavy rains often will require more frequent re-waxing. A good indicator that it may be time to re-wax your garment is the fabric being significantly lighter in color or when water fails to bead on the surface. If your garment looks like this jacket below, it is time to be re-waxed.

jacket that needs re-waxing
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