Oilskin Care Instructions

Wearing Swanndri oilskin gear is a durable, breathable and comfortable way to stay dry. It’s made to look after you when you’re out in the elements. But so it can keep doing that for a long time, it’s important that you look after it a little too.

General care & storage

  • It all starts when you’re choosing your oilskin. Make sure it’s the right size, as over-stretched seams can let water in and compromise the quality of your garment.
  • Always store in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area. A porch is better than a musty closet. Damp, enclosed spaces and plastic coverings encourage mould.
  • Don’t stitch through or cut the outside of the fabric – talk to us first!
  • And most importantly, clean lightly and re-proof regularly.

Cleaning

Your Swanndri oilskin is made to deal with a bit of dirt. That said, keeping it clean is an important part of caring for its protective coating. It’s not a chuck-it-in-the-washing-machine-after-every-wear kind of deal. It’s more hands-on.

  • First things first: washing machines, drycleaners, irons, starches, detergents and hot water are not your friends. They remove the oil and wax which are a vital part of your garment’s waterproofing protection.
  • If your oilskin gets a bit dirty, simply brush it off or sponge it with cold water.
  • If your oilskin gets very dirty, hand wash the whole thing in cold water then give it a good chance to dry.
  • If your oilskin somehow ends up looking like it’s been submerged in mud, hand wash in cold water but add a dash of oilskin detergent. (Note that it will need to be re-proofed after this, as the detergent removes your garment’s protective coating).
  • Always rinse well after washing and hang up to dry in a well-ventilated area – no dryers, radiators or fires. Just good old fresh air.

Removing mould

If your oilskin has been stored in a damp environment for a prolonged period, it may have small areas of mould particularly in the natural fabric creases. Don’t panic! It is easy to get rid of mould on oilskin by following these simple steps:

  • Start by brushing off as much of the mould as possible. Sponge isopropyl alcohol onto any persistent patches.
  • Quickly hand wash in warm water (not hot!) with a dash of oilskin detergent.
  • Rinse thoroughly and hang out to dry. Give it time – and keep it out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources.
  • Re-proof as per instructions.

Re-proofing

Over time, the protective coating on an oilskin naturally wears and dries out. Regular re-proofing will not only help keep you dry, it’ll make your oilskin last longer. Like polishing your favourite pair of leather boots, we reckon there’s a simple pleasure to be found in this ritual of looking after things that have looked after you. Here’s how it’s done.

  • Brush or sponge off any excess dirt from your Swanndri oilskin.
  • Rub re-proofing product into your garment with a lint free clean cotton cloth or a soft brush if it’s very dry.
  • Pay particular attention to seams and areas that experience the most wear.
  • NB: for Swanndri oilskin products, we recommend using British Millerain Waxed Cotton Dressing, available here.
  • After re-proofing, hang out in the sun on a hot day or use a hairdryer on a low setting to dry the new wax, then leave to cool.
  • Repeat monthly if you’re wearing your oilskin often, or every six months if it’s not getting much use.

 

Check out the video and see how it's done:

 


Are you curious about the history of oilskin and why it's still a popular option for outerwear to this day? Read more over on our blog – Swanndri Journal: The History of Oilskin