A Partridge Insight: How to Clean the King of Waxed Cotton Jackets

how to clean a wax jacket

First of all, we'd like to welcome you into the Partridge Family and congratulate you on the addition of a wax jacket to your wardrobe. It's important to keep your wax jacket in good health, our jackets our timeless and we want to make sure you get the most out of them.

You've most likely had your jacket for a long while, it has seen you through some very dreary British weather, or maybe even experienced a few hay bales, cow pats or mucky gundogs!

The waxed jackets are long-lasting, and your coat probably looks in great condition but like a vintage car, care is needed to make sure you do not over-wax it before use. Little and often is better than one big coating. We delved into our 50-year experience and have formulated the perfect partridge solution to cleaning and caring for the king of waxed cotton jackets.

What you'll need:

  •     A sponge
  •     Water
  •     White wine vinegar
  •     John Partridge’s Waxed Cotton Dressing or the Waxed Cotton Reproofing Spray
  •     A lint-free cotton cloth (no microfibre)
  •     A coat hanger
  •     Some sunshine, air (a porch, garage, or clothesline outside), and a little bit of patience 
  • Some scrap cardboard to protect your surface when rewaxing


waxed jacket

The Process of Jacket Rewaxing

First and foremost, use a well-ventilated area. Secondly, do not get it dry cleaned, this will remove all of the wax, taking away the lubricant from the cotton fibres. When this happens the fibres begin to rub together and will eventually wear each other out leaving holes and tears.

If it is clean inside it means you can skip the process of sponging and drying, allowing you to go straight onto re-waxing the outer fabric.

To clean the insides, turn the coat fully inside out. For a ‘home-remedy' cleaning solution we suggest lightly infusing water with white wine vinegar. The vinegar helps remove dirt and odours. Use a sponge to gently dab away any dirt or stains, taking care to keep the sponge almost dry. There are plenty of biodegradable sprays you can use to help freshen a very dirty or ‘sweaty' lining, but under no circumstances should you get the lining too wet! The better cleaners use pine essence to both clean and freshen your lining. A good one is Dr Bronners Sal Suds.

Now, let the coat dry naturally away from any direct heat source. We recommend hanging it inside out and airing it. 

The spray wax recommended above is great, however wet wax in tins is best for our main wax jackets, especially the Landowner range.

If the outside of your coat is already dry you should try to get some hard wax, in a tin, to smear across the seams. Not only does this make the seams heavy weather resistant, but it also keeps them waxed. Bear in mind that it's the seams that get the most wear and tear - especially under the arm and at the cuff, but also on the elbow and the pocket. 

The spray gives a more “all over” look, rather than where the seams are highlighted. As such, a gentle spray over the seams first is suggested.

It should be kept in mind, that for most of the John Partridge jackets – we recommend using the ‘hard wax’ and doing this annually. Ideally, the spray wax is for those who keep on top of their coat care and will perhaps do quarterly or even for use on the dry wax products, such as the Derby cape etc. So if this is something that you would rather the professionals tackle, John Partridge offer a jacket rewaxing service

When using the spray wax, cover approximately an A4-sized area, then simply spray a light coating of wax over the coat. If it's dirty, go for the sponge option just to really work it into your jacket. If it's nice and clean, we'd suggest using a lint-free cloth.

As you're re-building the wax base make sure to keep an eye on how much you're putting on, some areas may dry out quicker than others. Think of your coat as a fine, classic car. Allow each thin layer of wax to work into the fabric before even thinking about adding a second or even third coat. And rather than "painting" the wax on, ensure you are rubbing it in.

The appearance of the waxed jacket is in your hands, and the finish is entirely down to when you feel it has a coherent finish.  Our recommendation is just enough so the fabric feels like silk as you run your hand over it. But, each to their own!

If you desire a "factory-finish" look, we recommend using a hairdryer to evenly blow cold air onto the jacket, but make sure to hold the hairdryer a good distance away from the jacket.

Cleaning and rewaxing your jacket should go smoothly, following our advice, but if you have any queries at all then please get in contact with us so we can help you every step of the way.

The Partridge Family