Waxed canvas is one of our favorite materials thanks to its ability to hold up to tough jobs and extreme weather conditions. Its use can be traced back to the 1800s, when Scottish fishermen were battling the elements on the North Sea and found they could keep their sails from absorbing water when treated with linseed oil. Soon, those salty sea dogs were repurposing old sails into weatherproof outerwear.
Wax eventually became the treatment of choice for heavy-duty cotton canvas and the combination’s tough characteristics made it the standard material for workwear and military apparel. As one of the original producers, Martin Dyeing began specializing in waxed fabrics and textiles in 1930. Over 80 years later, they’re an American icon for rugged and waterproof materials built for a hard-charging lifestyle. That’s why we use their Martexin Waxed Canvas for a wide range of our outdoor clothing, like the Scout Jacket, Rambler Jacket, and Mojave Jacket.
One of the best parts of waxed canvas is that it develops a patina over a lifetime of enduring abrasive conditions. Weathered and broken in, it’s a characteristic you just don’t see as much these days. We wear it like a badge of honor and have put together a few guidelines to get every last mile out of these durable clothes.
When your waxed canvas goods are due for a cleaning, use cold water and a mild soap, like Otter Wax Castile Soap Canvas Cleaner, and gently rub it on with a sponge before rinsing. Afterward, let it air dry. If your items develop a less-than ideal stench over the years, Otter Wax’s Odor Eliminator might be worth considering, too.
Never wash waxed canvas with warm or hot water, as that will release the protective coating, and stay away from abrasive soaps and detergents. No dry cleaning, no machine washing. Roll up your sleeves and do it with your hands.
After a few years of hard use, you might have to apply a new coat of wax. Products like Otter Wax Fabric Dressing and Fabric Wax will revive the waterproof capability and keep your clothing functional when you’re out in the field.
For rugged outdoor apparel and workwear that won’t quit, check out our complete selection of waxed canvas goods and care products.