How to retreat an OilCloth Hat

Thread starter #1
I have a few oilcloth 'outback' style hats. I want to know how to retreat them to add back the waterproof properties and help in blocking the crown to get it back in shape.

Can anyone help me out and point me to what to use and how to use it?
Filson Tin Cloth Wax- $10.00

These instructions are included in an envelope with every small "sample" can of wax:

"HEAVY-USE AREAS CAN BENEFIT FROM OCCASIONAL TOUCH UPS. Filson's famous "Tin" fabric is actually a special cotton duck woven to our own unique specifications. And it is almost indestructible. Our Oil Finish makes this material highly water repellent and yet very breathable and pliable for long comfortable wear."

"Garments made from this fabric are designed to take years of hard wear in stride. However, under extremely heavy use, critical areas of the garment subject to constant abrasion and continual flexing can lose some of their finish, and therefore some of their water repellency. By giving those areas a little extra protection from time to time with Filson's Original Oil Finish Wax, you can maintain water repellency that's as good as the day you bought the garment. Re-proof as often as necessary."

"1. For best results, re-proof in warm conditions. If in sub freezing temperatures, it may be necessary to stand tin in hot water to soften wax." (Instead of standing the tin in hot water to soften it, use a blow dryer or heat gun to melt the wax until it is nearly liquid and then apply small amounts before it cools. NOTE: Our new softer wax formula does not need to be melted.)

"2. Brush all excess dirt from the area to be treated. Wipe clean with a soft cloth and cold water. WARNING: Use clean cold water only. Do not use soap or detergents."

"3. Apply wax generously with a clean cloth. Use light short circular strokes to work wax well into the affected areas--usually seams, creases, and high flex areas."

"4. Use a hairdryer to blow dry evenly over application for a real "factory" finish. Hang garment overnight in a warm place, away from open flame." (The wax cools and hardens quickly, sometimes leaving a visible smear of cooled wax on the surface. Blow-drying the fabric after application melts any excess wax into the fabric, eliminating the tacky surface.



Senior Member
Great info and link, Nitro!

This time of the year is a great time to do it down here too, you can omit the blow dryer part! Put it outside in the truck, and it will melt in JUST fine! (Make sure to put something under it though so that oily wax don't melt into your seat!).
Thread starter #4
Thanks Nitro. I completely forgot about my Filson hat. I think I have some of their wax in that tin some where around here.

Does anyone know the more 'traditional' ways of treating oil cloth? I've read about using linseed oil but I'm not sure that was meant for wearable oilcloth garments. Anyone know? :huh:


Staff member
Smoke, let me do a little diggin` in some of my literature. Either linseed, OR boiled linseed oil was used as a waterproofer for canvas in the past. I`ll see what I can find out.


Senior Member
Outback Hat

As you have an Aussie style hat look to them for answers. They market some of the finest oilcloth garments in the world under the Driza-Bone label. Here's a link to the treatment they sale for oil cloth.

Here's some info from their sight.


Garments made from wax impregnated fabric or oilskin cloth as we Australians call it, are almost carefree and will last for many years to come.

Redressing a garment depends on the usage, so therefore there is no set rule. However, we do recommend you check your garment at regular intervals, especially before the rainy season, and act accordingly.
Remove lid of garment dressing and warm contents until liquefied, and then apply to cleaned dry garment with a cloth or brush, paying particular attention to seams and places subject to friction.
Hang out in the sun or warm area to allow dressing to penetrate into the fabric.
Place garment on a coat hanger ready for storage in a dry airy place, ready for the next use. (NB Satisfactory results can be expected when dressing is applied to genuine Driza-Bone garments).


Do not use hot water.
Do not dry clean.
Do not use soap or detergents.
Do not leave in direct sunlight against window.
Do not machine wash.
Do not force dry or hang in front of fire.
Do not wear the coat near fire or flame.
this is going to be helpful thanks I just pulled my duster out and it needs help
Thread starter #8
Australian oilcloth hat re-treatment cream can be found at HorseTown on Shallowford Rd if your in the Marietta area.

Here's an interesting thread on the same question...

Nic, let me know what you find. Seems this is probably bees wax based mixed with a natural oil, such as mink, olive, or some variation of linseed oil. I'd like to know the recipe so I could make my own.

Thanks folks. :cool:
Bolied Linseed Oil will make it waterproof and funny smelling. Regular black latex paint is waterproof when applied to cloth and closely resembles painted cloth items (such as ponchoes) produced and used in the Civil War.
Filson Tin Cloth Wax- $10.00
Yep, thats good stuff, I'm a Filson junkie, slowly growing my collection of products...

And I also throw the whole garment in the clothes dryer for a few minutes after I re-apply the wax, really helps even it out..