how to clean a wax jacket

How to Clean a Wax Jacket

Wax jackets have been a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts and fashion aficionados alike for many years. With their water-resistant properties and iconic style, they are both practical and stylish. Over time, the dirt and grime that accumulate can affect the jacket’s appearance and functionality. While it’s important to generally maintain the jacket’s wax coating, it’s equally important to learn how to clean a wax jacket in a way to retain its luster and protective qualities.

Regularly hand wash a wax jacket using a mild detergent or treat stains with a damp sponge. If the water no longer beads on its surface, consider re-waxing. While professional cleaning can be effective, ensure the cleaner is familiar with wax jackets to preserve its features.

With that in mind here are those methods to clean a wax jacket in much more detail.

Gentle Hand Wash a Wax Jacket

Regular cleaning is essential for keeping your wax jacket in top shape. This method offers a safe way to remove surface dirt while looking to maintain the protective wax layer.

  1. Prepare a soapy mixture. Mix lukewarm water with a few drops of mild liquid detergent in a basin. Stir gently.
  2. Dampen a soft cloth. Dip the cloth into the mixture and wring out the excess.
  3. Clean the jacket. Gently wipe the entire surface of the wax jacket, focusing on visibly dirty areas.
  4. Rinse the cloth. Clean the cloth with fresh, cool water and remove excess moisture.
  5. Remove soap residue. With the damp cloth, go over the jacket to clear any soapy traces.
  6. Air dry. Hang the jacket in a ventilated area, ensuring it’s away from direct sunlight or heat.
  7. Inspect the jacket. Once dry, check the wax jacket for any missed spots or areas that might need more attention.
  8. Store properly. Ensure the wax jacket is fully dry before storing it in a cool, dry place to maintain its shape and quality.

Sponge Cleaning a Wax Jacket

Stains can be frustrting on a wax jacket that is otherwise quite clean. This technique focuses on treating specific stain spots without having to clean the entire jacket.

  1. Gather your supplies. Ensure you have a mild detergent, lukewarm water, a sponge, and a clean cloth on hand.
  2. Mix a cleaning solution. In a bowl, combine a small amount of detergent with water.
  3. Dampen your sponge. Soak the sponge in the mixture, squeezing out any excess liquid.
  4. Press on the stain. Place the damp sponge on the wax jacket stain, gently pressing down without rubbing.
  5. Repeat if necessary. If the stain persists, repeat the process a few times until it lightens or disappears.
  6. Rinse the treated area. Use a cloth dampened with plain water to blot and remove any detergent traces from the jacket.
  7. Air out the wax jacket. Hang the jacket in an area with good airflow to allow the cleaned spot to dry.
  8. Assess the results. Once dried, look at the treated area to see if the stain is completely gone. If remnants remain, you might consider professionally cleaning the wax jacket for best results.
  9. Maintain the wax coating. If the cleaned area feels less water-resistant afterward, you might need to apply a small amount of wax to restore its protective properties.

Professionally Cleaning a Wax Jacket

Sometimes, a wax jacket might need more attention than at-home methods can provide. This approach is about employing expert services to ensure your jacket is both clean and protected.

  1. Research specialists. Look for cleaners who have experience or expertise in handling wax jackets or outdoor apparel.
  2. Ask for referrals. Friends, family, or online communities might offer valuable recommendations based on their experiences.
  3. Speak to the cleaner. Before handing over your wax jacket, discuss any specific concerns, stains, or areas that require special attention.
  4. Ask about the cleaning process. Understanding the techniques and products they use can help ensure they won’t harm the wax coating.
  5. Drop off your wax jacket. Leave your jacket with the professional and ask for an expected pick-up date.
  6. Check the results. Upon return, inspect the wax jacket thoroughly for cleanliness and to ensure no damage occurred during the cleaning process.
  7. Seek guidance on re-waxing. Ask the professional if your wax jacket would benefit from a fresh application of wax, and if they offer that service.


How often should I clean my wax jacket?

Cleaning frequency for your wax jacket largely depends on usage and exposure to dirt. While it’s suggested to clean it at least once a season, if you notice that the jacket is accumulating dirt or losing its shine, it might be time for a gentle wash. Keep in mind that regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of your jacket and keep it looking fresh.

How do I know if my wax jacket needs to be re-waxed?

A wax jacket’s primary feature is its water-resistance. If you observe that water no longer forms droplets on the surface and instead seems to saturate the fabric, it’s an indication that the wax coating is wearing off. Another sign is a noticeable dryness or faded areas on the jacket’s surface, which can mean it’s time for a fresh coat of wax.

How do I clean a wax jacket without damaging the wax coating?

Maintaining the wax coating is essential for the jacket’s longevity. When cleaning, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive brushes. Stick to gentle methods that involve lukewarm water and mild detergents. It’s always best to follow any care instructions provided with your jacket or consult with the manufacturer for their recommended cleaning practices.

Is it safe to dry clean a wax jacket?

Traditional dry cleaning methods can be harsh on wax jackets, as the solvents used can strip the protective wax layer. Always check the care label of your jacket. If considering professional cleaning, ensure the cleaner is familiar with wax jackets and can guarantee the preservation of its protective properties.


Maintaining the cleanliness and integrity of your wax jacket is essential to its longevity and functionality. Whether you opt for a gentle hand wash, sponge cleaning, or professional service, it’s important to ensure the wax coating remains intact. Regular checks and timely re-waxing will keep your jacket looking fresh and serving its purpose for years to come.