A Guide to Cleaning your Barbour Jacket

Whether you own a wax or a quilt jacket, at some point you will need to give some thought on how to clean it. But don’t worry, we’ll take the hassle out of this so you will know exactly what to do.

Cleaning your quilted jacket

Barbour quilts are very easy to clean, because many of the fabrics and materials used to make them are machine washable, or can be dry cleaned. For your own individual jacket it is always best to check the label as there are a number of different Barbour quilts, and each will have specific details relating to their washing temperatures and aftercare. The care label is often found in the inner security pocket if your jacket has one, or one of the main front pockets. Generally a low washing temperature with a non-biological detergent is always best, and then a very light tumble dry before hanging them in a warm place, such as an airing cupboard, to ensure the jacket is fully dry before you next wear it. Many people may prefer to hang them to dry straight after washing.

Cleaning and reproofing your wax jacket

Barbour waxed cotton cannot be washed in hot water, dry cleaned or machine washed as this will remove the waterproofing wax and oils which cannot be replaced. The only way to clean a wax jacket is to brush off any dirt, and then wipe it down using cold water only.

There will come a time when your Barbour wax jacket will need to be reproofed, however this will depend on how much you wear your jacket and the type of usage you get out of it. Barbour suggests you reproof periodically to maintain the effectiveness of the wax. You can have your wax jacket sent back to Barbour to be reproofed, which will cost about £30 for a jacket, and £39 for a jacket and a hood.

If you prefer, you can reproof your wax jacket yourself, using Barbour Wax Thornproof Dressing. Firstly make sure your jacket is at room temperature, rather than just grabbing it out of the car or a draughty room in your house. Next place a tin of the Wax Thornproof Dressing in a pan of hot water with the lid of the tin removed, and once the wax has softened use a soft cloth or sponge to work the wax well into the jacket. Barbour advises that you pay particular attention to the seams, creases and dry patches to ensure these remain fully proofed against the elements.

For an extra smooth finish it is advised that you use a hairdryer to blow over the jacket, to ensure the wax is evenly spread out.

Barbour repairs

Barbour’s repair service will also fix any rips and holes, will replace zips, repair linings, and fix frayed cuffs and edges on your wax jacket. The jacket will be sent to their factory in South Shields, where they will also do alterations. For more information on this, and the pricing, please visit the Barbour page here.  Alternatively the jacket can be sent off for an estimate first if you prefer.

One of the best things about a Barbour jacket is that, if you look after it, it will look after you for years to come.


Jessica Prosser

Jess is lead Marketing Executive at Philip Morris & Son


  1. Hi

    Please can tell me how to clean a Barbour cotton jacket? It’s not a waxed jacket but black has a cotton feel to it, I can’t remember the style but it is black ladies jacket brought 18months ago, I have sponged down but looks like it could do with a good wash as looks a little dull and faded! Please help!

    Kind regards
    Jo Newland

    • There should be cleaning instructions on the label of the jacket (this may be in a pocket) – if it’s not a wax jacket it should be machine washable or be able to be dry cleaned. If you no longer have the label in your jacket please feel free to call our Customer Service department on 01432 377089 who should be able to assist you further.

  2. I had a mission trying to clean my Barbour jacket tried getting in contact with Barbour, decided to shop online in the end.


  3. What is the best way to remove creases from a Barbour waxed jacket? Thanks

    • Hi Lyn

      Generally if you hang them up for an few days the weight of the wax will naturally cause creases to drop out. Otherwise try rewaxing the jacket, as the action of working in the wax will remove creases. Whatever you do don’t go near it with an iron!

  4. Hi
    I rewaxed my barbour jacket last night & found it was hard work
    Rubbing the melted wax in with a cloth as recommended especially
    Getting into all the nooks & crannies!
    I’m a furniture dealer & when waxing furniture I use a clean paint brush,
    So I thought I’d give it a go on the jacket!
    I cut the brush bristles down to make them short & stubby!
    It worked a treat & wiped of any excess wax with a clean dry cloth.
    But remember the wax must be melted clear!!

  5. If the inside starts to smell a bit how do I air it? Do I clean the inside?

    • Hi Paul, the best we can suggest is to damp sponge it with clean soapy water and maybe spray it with febreeze. Leave it to air out on the line, but not directly in the sun.
      Thank you.

  6. Hi There,

    My Barbour has taken on the aroma of a dead sheep with a colony of moths living inside it and I’m wondering if a soak and a scrub in a tub of cool water with washing powder, followed by a tumble dry would sort it? My concern is whether or not the heat of the tumble dryer would do the same as hot water – i.e. melt the wax irreparably out of the cotton. So, my question: can you tumble dry a barbour?? Cheers!

    • Hi David,

      We definitely don’t recommend putting your jacket in a tumble dryer. A scrub with cool water will be fine, but washing powder or detergents could ruin the jacket. Maybe try hanging it outside for a bit of airing? Then spray the lining with a bit of febreze. You could always send it off to Barbour for a complete re-wax too.

      If you need further help, give us a call on 01432 377089.

      Thanks, Jess.

  7. I was wearing my Utility Barbour jacket and got wet mud on it. I got home and wiped it off with a sponge and cold water. Now there is a color difference, I don’t know what this means.

    • Hi Maddy,

      Did you use any detergents at all? The colour difference will probably just be down to the slight removal of wax in that area. You can buy a small pot of wax to re-proof it yourself if it’s really noticeable, or you can send it to Barbour for a professional re-wax.

      If you need any further help or advice please call us on 01432 377089.

      Thanks, Jess.

  8. I’m planning on rewaxing my Barbour for the first time. There is dull white mark on the that is probably paint – leaned against a wall! Any tips on how I can get rid of this?

    • Hi Nick,

      Unfortunately, other than scrubbing the jacket with clean cool water and a stiff brush before re-waxing there won’t be a lot you can do. Detergents can damage the jacket and make it impossible to re-wax in the future. If you are re-proofing it yourself, maybe add a few more layers of wax over that one area and see if it helps even up the colour?

      If you need further help, give us a call on 01432 377089.

      Thanks, Jess.

  9. I have had my Barbour Border jacket, which I use when fishing, for about six years now. I have re-proofed it myself once. I guess it needs re-proofing again because I get wet inside it in heavy rain. Recently after a real soaking, it started to smell quite badly (I was clean – honest!). How can I get rid of the smell? Can I machine wash it on a cold wash?

    • Hi John,

      Barbour doesn’t recommend putting wax jackets in the washing machine as it can cause irreversible damage. Tackle the lining with elbow grease/clean cold water and a spray of some odour neutraliser. Alternatively, you can send your jacket back to Barbour’s factory for a professional re-proof. It comes back with a new lease of life! Read about that and costs here: http://www.barbour.com/repairs_reproofing

      If you need further help, give us a call on 01432 377089.

      Thanks, Jess.

  10. Hi!
    I’ve just picked up my daughter’s pinky red Ashby barbour jacket from my local Barbour shop where I’d taken it in to be cleaned and rewaxed. However, it was returned from Barbour with the comment that it had “Dried out” and they were sending it back untreated as the “wash will go through to lining”. Having read your very helpful advice above, I was hoping you could tell me how to proceed. The jacket is quite grubbyand definitely needs a clean. I know you advise not washing with detergent, but as it seems as though we can’t rewax it anyway would washing it in a cool wash be that harmful? She wore the jacket constantly for a winter, and though not fully waterproof it is warm and she would like to wear it again.
    Looking forward to hearing from you & thanks in advance.

    • Hi Irena,
      Unfortunately, when the layer of wax has been completely removed, it cannot then be re-waxed as it will just seep straight through, as Barbour said. We recommend reproofing a wax jacket once a year to avoid this happening – for future reference.
      The main reason we tell you to avoid washing or using detergents is for that exact reason, because it will completely strip the jacket of wax and will therefore never be waterproof again. We still wouldn’t recommend using any detergents as it may affect the colour, but if there is no wax layer left already, I really can’t see any harm in putting it on a cool, gentle wash. However, I have never personally done this so I can’t guarantee your results.
      If you do decide to try it in the machine, please let us know how it turns out :)

      If you need any further help, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

      Thank you, Jess.

  11. Elizabeth buchanan

    Merry Xmas
    Just ready to put on my waxed jacked then noticed a thin line of paint on cuff
    Can you help
    Kindest regards

    • Hi Elizabeth,
      Merry Christmas to you too! Best thing to try is to get small stiff brush and some cold water (try not to use warm) and scrub the area. If you can try to concentrate the scrubbing to the paint area only, as much as you possibly can. Maybe use a stiff pipe cleaning brush (almost like a mascara brush). Then you can reapply a few layers of wax afterwards to even out any discolouration. Let us know how it goes.
      If you need any more help, give us a call.

      Thank you, Jess.

  12. Oh dear. My jacket has been in the damp shed and gathered a patina of mould. So what did this numpty do? Sprayed it with dettol mould and mildew remover, that’s what. Result: discolouration as the remover contains bleach. Not recommended and let this be a salutary tale to anyone else. But my question is: is there anything I can do to restore the colour? I don’t mind if there is some variation as this could be an ‘interesting patina’ but as it is the colour difference is too stark. Thank you!

    • Hi Adrian,
      Oh dear, that doesn’t sound good! You could try sending it off to Barbour for a professional reproofing, which may restore discolouration slightly, but there’s a high chance they might return it to you if you have completely removed the wax layer; which I fear you probably have by using such strong chemicals. It may be worth a try though. You could also attempt to apply wax yourself to only the affected (lighter) areas, but you would need to make sure you lay paper underneath incase the wax does seep through. Add a layer of wax, blast with a hairdryer and repeat. It can’t get much worse, right?
      If it doesn’t work, it will just be a Barbour jacket with character! Who knows, maybe you will start a new trend…

      Thanks, Jess.

  13. I have managed to get lipstick on my wax jacket, how do I get this off. Thanks

    • Hi Mandy, best thing to do is to try to scrub it with clean cool water. Concentrate the scrubbing to the effected area with a small stiff brush. If you have a pot of Barbour Wax, apply a small amount to the area when dry. It may be tempting, but try not use an chemicals or soaps as this can remove the waterproof layer completely.
      Hope you get it off!


    Hi Jess, Merry Christmas, have a mince pie for me!

    I’ve just bought a Barbour Edderton for hiking in the highlands this new years – it’s ricockulously good; however this is my first Barbour and I have a couple of questions concerning the wax that I was hoping that you could help me with my dear:

    Firstly, where the devil can I/we buy new wax to re-waterproof something ourselves? Do you sell to stockists or do we need to order from your website? Do you have a list of stockist available?
    Secondly, as my coat is very very new, the wax seems to be coming off on to my hand, it’s like a clear oily layer. How long will take for the wax to settle on the coat and not transfer in this way. I am wary of hanging it near anywhere near my Cashmir Crombie work coats just in case the oil transfers and ruins them.

    I look forward to your reply,

    Festively yours,

    • Hi Stu, sorry for the tardy reply, your comment went in to our spam folder.
      The Barbour Edderton is a great choice! You can buy Barbour Thornproof Wax from us through this link. Barbour will have a list of stockists on their website too.
      I know what you mean about the excess layer, it usually only takes a few months to settle. You could always try buffing it with a clean cotton cloth to remove the excess. But as you sai, it’s probably best to keep it away frpm cashmire for a little while, just in case!
      Hope you’re enjoying your new Barbour jacket!
      Thanks, Jess.

  15. Hi there,

    I have just received my first Barbour waxed jacket as a Christmas gift. Absolutely love it, but what i have noticed are fine white lines and creases all over, as the jacket is black they do tend to stick out. I can assume its markings on the wax, but since it is brand anyway you can recommend i get rid of these and get that uniform black waxed look.


    • Hi Ricardo,
      Unfortunately that can sometimes be the case on the black wax jackets. A good tip is to keep it somewhere warm for a little while, or take it in the bathroom when you have a hot shower, then when it is slightly warm just give it a buff over with a clean, dry cloth and see if that evens out the wax a little. The wax may have just dried slightly unevenly. I wouldn’t worry though, Barbour wax jackets are supposed to look slightly worn and rustic, it’s part of their character!
      Thanks, Jess.

  16. Hi,

    I have an olive waxy jacket, yesterday whilst putting oil in my car i managed to spill some on my sleeve… any ideas how i can get this off? it has just left a dark looking splodge.

    Thanks, Holly

    • Hi Holly,
      Oh dear, you may struggle with oil as it is not easy to get that off anything. It’s difficult because you can’t use chemicals without jeopardising the waterproof effectiveness of the jacket. However, if it’s a small spot, you may value getting rid of the stain more so than keeping the protective layer. That is your prerogative, depending on how much the stain bothers you. If you do decide to tackle it with a chemical cleaner, make sure to keep it as concentrated to the stain as possible, putting newspaper (or such) underneath and around the area so none of the rest of the garment is affected. Try to even up any colour dicolouration with some Barbour wax, again protecting under and around the area when applying.
      Hope this helps.
      Thanks, Jess.

  17. Hi, I just bought a used Balfour jacket on e-bay (from Italy of all places). It is in pretty good condition, although the lining is dirty and the coat smells (rather like the moth-ridden dead sheep as described above on this page). Having said that (and, yes, it does perhaps say something about me) I tried it on and loved it immediately. I shall give the lining a good sponge and then and airing/febreese treatment as recommended on this site. Actually, the sheepy smell is rather authentic, so I don’t particular care :-).

    My question, though, is regarding the cuffs and pocket edges that are starting to show signs of wear. Can they be reinforced with leather or would you recommend something else? Is it, for instance, possible to buy strips of the same waxed cottong to reinforce the worn areas? I do want this coat to last me for years and years, so was wondering if it is also possible to reinforce the elbows?

    • Hi Albert,
      I can’t say I’ve ever smelt a moth ridden dead sheep, and I’m quite happy about that! Glad you love it though; Barbour’s are supposed to have rustic authenticity aren’t they!
      Barbour actually offer a service where they bind the cuffs, hem and handwarmer pocket edges for just £9.00. Take a look at Barbour Repairs and Reproofing. It may be worth giving them a call and seeing if adding elbow pads is something they can offer too while it is there. They are really helpful and it normally takes around 4 weeks for your jacket to get back to you.

      Let us know how you get on!
      Thanks, Jess.

  18. hi, i have a vintage barbout international and got what i think was coal down one side. i straight away put it in the washing machine without thinking. i put it on a cool delicate wash but it hasnt removed the stains and has made the jacket slightly discoloured in places. i only had this at christmas and it was my favourite, what do you suggest i do?

    • Hi Jo,

      I’d probably try re-waxing your jacket, or sending it off to Barbour for a professional re-proof, as you will have stripped a lot of the wax off in the washing machine. Hopefully, as you only washed it on a cool, delicate wash, you won’t have done too much damage and a re-proof will sort the problem, but Barbour will soon advise you of this if you do choose to send it off to them. As for the coal, try scrubbing it off with a stiff brush and some cool water.

      Hope this helps,

  19. I have a quilted tourer jacket which has a small rip on the sleeve (wire fences have a lot to answer for). Is there any way this can be repaired? I love my jacket and really would like to see it repaired.

    • Hi Jane,

      Ahh we all feel the same indignation for wire fences! Unfortunately Barbour only offer repair services for wax jackets, and not quilted. The only thing I can suggest is doing some research and finding someone who’s a dab hand with a sewing machine.
      Thanks, Jess.

  20. Hi, purchased a Barbour international union jack wax jacket but want to replace the brass poppers/studs with black ones that i’ve seen on other barbour jackets. can this be done.


    • Hi Scott,
      Barbour do offer a service where then can replace studs if they come off, so I can’t see why they wouldn’t alter the colour for you. Give their customer service team a call on: +44 (0) 800 917 3000 to double check, and if they can, they will organise for you to send your jacket to them for this alteration.

  21. Aaron Holloway-Jenks

    I’ve had my mens navy waxed ashby jacket just over a year now and thoughout winter last year (2014) and now, I’ve worn it roughly 2/3 times a week, would you recommend re waxing the jacket or wait until maybe next year?
    Kind regards

    • Hi Aaron,
      Barbour recommend re-proofing your wax jacket around once a year. This depends on the amount it’s worn and the way it is stored though. Only you will know whether your jacket needs a re-wax, you will be able to feel if it is starting to dry out, but ideally you don’t want it to get to that stage. Re-waxing once a year or so will keep the jacket at an optimum waterproof level, but if it starts to feel dry before a year, always treat it asap.

      Hope this answers your question,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>