Love Waxed Jeans? Find Out How To Care For Coated Denim

How to Wash coated jeans

Love Waxed Jeans? Find Out How To Care For Coated Denim

Wax coated denim is here to stay! Been shopping the latest denim trends? Got your pair of  waxed jeans home and now wondering how to care for coated denim? This season, you might have noticed two new denim trends that are competing fiercely for your attention. The first is patterned denim with everything from Citizen’s baroque rococo pattern, to animal inspired prints and the very trendy ombre from DL1961. The other, is coated denim, a trend that looks very much like it’s here to stay. For those of you who feel a bit confused, I’m referring to the wax coated jeans you will have seen that look a bit like leather and have a unique matt sheen. One of my fave examples of wax coated denim available in Hong Kong are Citizens of Humanity’s ‘Rocket’ jeans shown here in black.

How to care for wax coated jeansThese have an amazing stretch and softness that you just don’t find in real leather (especially not at this price tag!). We’ve also got the same style in vamp – a passionate red and DL1961 have their most popular, ‘Emma’ legging style jeans in Geode a dark oxblood color as well as the ombre blue “Bali’s”. Since we got these jeans in store I’ve had a lot of customers ask us how to care for coated denim. This is one of those “I’m glad you asked” questions because treating this type of denim the wrong way could ruin them forever.


First, a little bit of background – wax coated fabric actually has its roots in sailing communities and has been used for over 100 years to make sails and clothing repellent. Waxed coated canvas jackets and bags have been popular amongst fishermen, sailors and other adventurers for years for this purpose. More recently, designers have adopted waxed coated cotton and denim as a new trend admired for its unique look, feel and fabric protecting qualities.


As the name suggested wax-coated denim is treated with a layer of wax that seals the fabric and gives it that lovely leatherette look. With this in mind, to care for coated denim you want to avoid stripping the fabric of this waxy layer. That means, as much as possible, no soap, detergents or dry cleaning. The best (and only way) is to get a bucket of cold water and gently sponge down your jeans both inside and out. Don’t leave them to soak, don’t put them in the washing machine and don’t take them to the dry cleaners. All of these things will remove the wax and literally leave you with lack-lustre jeans.


“How To Care For Wax Coated Denim: Don’t leave them to soak, don’t put them in the washing machine and don’t take them to the dry cleaners”


Over time the wax will naturally wear down and soften up, some people find they love this look even more while others will want to have them reproofed. Reproofing is relatively easy to diy with products such as Otter Wax, which can be quickly applied and layered over the original wax coating. If you’ve cared for your jeans properly this should be a long way off, but it’s good to keep in mind if you fall in love with this style of denim.


So that’s how to care for how to care for coated denim – a sponge and cold water – it’s a simple but specific method that will help you keep your new favorite jeans for longer!


p.s. Got your own tips, tricks or stories on caring for wax coated jeans or other types of denim? Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you!




  1. Pingback: Kat’s Christmas Gifts Guide: Citizens of Humanity Jeans

  2. Courtney says:

    This is very helpful! Unfortunately, I have been washing my coated jeans (with detergent) for about three months now, so I am already experiencing some wear (a whitening, almost) near seams/edges. Might you be able to direct me to an exact Otter Wax product that will help restore black coated jeans? All wax products look relatively neutral in color, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to bring this black color back to worn areas. Thank you! -Courtney

    • tiare says:

      Hi Courtney, as far as I know there is only that neutral wax available but you can pretty much consider it as transparent rather than colored. My best advice would be to contact Otter Wax directly for advice. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve since been experimenting and it can be hard to spot treat areas and get an even finish so it will come down to whether or not you are prepared to risk it. In this case prevention is definitely better than cure. Good Luck!!

  3. jenni says:

    popping them in a snaplock bag in the freezer for 24 hours can also be a great way of killing the germs,

  4. Tiffany says:

    I’m a bit late on this thread, but how about removing grease stains? I tried blotting with water and letting them dry, but the stains are still there.

    • tiare says:

      Grease stains are a total pain and definitely no friend of waxed jeans. TBH I’m not 100% sure on this but if it were me, I would turn them inside out and apply a drop of mild liquid soap to the stain, let it sit for a bit then get some warm to tepid water and using a soft sponge try to gently clean it from the inside out. Then I’d rinse it off again with tepid water and hope for the best! Good Luck!

  5. Kim says:

    I was told you can iron them to get the shine back is this true?

    • tiare says:

      I don’t think so, this would actually damage the wax coating. You can iron them inside out on a low heat if you want though I probably wouldn’t recommend it. I’d probably try giving them a gentle steam or better yet, give them a super quick blast with your hair dryer all over to resoften the wax a bit.

  6. EasyPeasy says:

    I steam mine and they come out looking brand new every time!

  7. sonnie says:

    I know it’s not FAB for the wax but eucalyptus oil will remove grease stains. Test it neat it will not affect the color nd is dissolvable in organic wash liquid in cold water. Another good product is Redkens cleansing cream shampoo ph acid balanced so won’t strip! Good luck

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