Product Care & Instructions

How do I care for my Oilskin garment?

The following care instructions will help to prolong the life of your Oilskin garment. 
Before you purchase one of our coats or jackets, please ensure the correct size is selected to avoid excessive stretching at the seams that may allow water to penetrate.


  • Follow the washing/care instructions attached to the inside of the garment
  • Do not wash with detergent or hot water as this removes the oil and wax which are crucial to the Oilskin’s waterproofing qualities
  • When the garment gets dirty, brush off dirt or sponge down with cold water
  • When garment is extremely dirty, hand wash in cold water

If the garment requires a complete clean, we recommend using our Wool/Oilskin Detergent or pure soap (please note, the garment will require reproofing if it is washed using soap or detergent as these will wash out the waterproofing qualities):

  • After washing, rinse well (we suggest hanging the garment outside on clothesline and hosing down)
  • Hang in a well-ventilated area until completely dry
  • Do not hang on radiators, expose to naked flame or use artificial heat to dry
  • Once completely dry, the garment will require reproofing with our Re-proofer Wax
  • Do not machine wash, dry clean, starch or iron


  • Firstly brush off as much mould from the garment as you can.
  • Sponge diluted vinegar onto the affected areas.
  • Hand wash in luke warm water using our Oilskin/Wool Detergent or a pure soap.
  • Do not soak your coat.Rinse off as much of the soap as you can and hang it out to dry using a strong coat hanger. Keep out of direct sunlight.
  • Hose down any excess soap and air your coat. It may take some time airing your coat out to completely remove the musky smell.
  • Once you’ve cleaned your coat the soap may have stripped most of the oil out of the coat so it will need reproofing. When reproofing your Oilskin garment please refer to the reproofing instructions as listed above on this page.

If the garment is completely covered in mould, you can wash the whole coat in diluted vinegar and water. This will get the vinegar right through the whole coat to help kill off the mould.
Please note, always store your oilskin garment in a dry well ventilated area. Do not place in a cupboard or plastic bag for long periods of time, otherwise it will become mouldy.


With wear over time, the oil and wax on the Oilskin fabric will naturally dry out. We recommend regular monthly checks to prevent dryness and promote longevity. At Burke & Wills we offer two types of reproofing products for Oilskin care:

Oilskin Re-Proofer (Spray)
• For reproofing of small products (i.e. hats, bags and dog coats) or small sections of larger Oilskin garments
• No heating required
• Can be sprayed directly on the product
• Easy to apply

• For reproofing entire Oilskin garments
• One 400g tin will reproof one Riding Coat (our longest coat)
• Wax compound needs to be heated and melted before use
• Use only genuine Burke & Wills Reproofer as substitutes may harm our garments 
• Do not use any leather care goods to treat your Oilskin garments as the Oilskin has different properties to leather

Directions for use:

The Burke & Wills Reproofer Wax (tin) is an oil/wax compound that needs to be heated up by placing the tin in hot water (with the lid off) as this will liquefy the dressing (essential for easy and effective application)
  • Place the garment on a flat surface
  • Using the foam applicator or a sponge apply the wax, paying particular attention to vulnerable areas such as shoulders, neck seams and places subject to friction (e.g. pockets and creases in sleeves and knees)
  • • After reproofing, hang the garment out in the sun on a warm day or use the heat of a hair dryer on a low setting, spreading the heat evenly over the coat (this is recommended to achieve a factory finish)
  • • After drying, place garment on a strong hanger and leave to cool


• Always store your Oilskin garment in a dry, well-ventilated area
• Do not place in a cupboard or plastic bag for long periods of time as it will become mouldy
• If your Oilskin garment has become mouldy, we recommend hanging it under full sun for a couple of weeks 
• If garment is still mouldy, hand wash with pure soap and reproof
• The oil and wax proofing on your garment keeps you dry but can also rub off on other fabrics, furnishings and garments, so be careful when wearing or storing your coat and do not place next to porous surfaces
• Do not stitch through or repair the outside of the fabric unless absolutely necessary
• If repairs need to be made, please make sure the area is reproofed after repairing to prevent leaking


To gain maximum performance from your Burke & Wills swag, please follow the below simple guidelines.


1.     To season your swag, unpack your swag and remove the mattress, poles and any other hardware. Immerse the swag in water, completely soaking and wetting it down in all areas. This can be done in a bath tub or outside using a hose. Once soaked hang the swag outside and allow to dry thoroughly. Repeat this process a second time. This process allows the seams to properly seal by expanding and contracting multiple times, subsequently this process removes any pin holes caused by the stitching process resulting in the canvas being more water resistant.

2.     Once the swag is totally dry place the mattress inside the swag and now your swag is ready to use.

3.     Roll up the swag and fasten tight. Store in a dry place preferably in a Burke & Wills PVC Swag bag (optional) until required for use.

4.     Avoid setting up your swag under trees, near water or camp fires.

5.     Set up your swag on level ground in a sheltered area, facing away from the wind or rain direction.

6.     Bend poles into clips and ring and pins without using excessive force.

7.     If your swag has a top spreader pole, ensure you extend the pole fully and clip down firmly.

8.     Using the cords (supplied with most models) tie the cord ends to a secure item like pegs, a rock or bull bar.

9.     To further secure your swag we recommend you peg down each corner of the swag through the ring pins.

10.  Ensure the top of the swag is kept stretched so the water can run off.

11.  Weather permitting leave any ventilation windows or covers open to assist with ventilation. Failure to keep the swag ventilated may cause water to condensate inside the swag from body perspiration during the night and may be mistaken for the swag leaking. The importance of adequate ventilation is critical in keeping your swag dry and comfortable.