The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Filson Tin Cloth

Filson Tin Cloth

Welcome to our in-depth guide on how to care for Filson tin cloth. This unique fabric is known for its excellent balance between durability and practicality, making it a top pick for those in need of tough and reliable outdoor clothing.

Tracing back to the late 19th century, Filson tin cloth has a storied past. The fabric was conceived by C.C. Filson, the founder of the company, who designed this hardy, oil-treated material to brave the severe conditions of the Pacific Northwest. As time passed, the tin cloth’s fame for its hardiness grew, transforming it into a signature feature of the Filson brand and a preferred choice among outdoor adventure lovers.

In this post, we’ll demystify the process of cleaning Filson tin cloth. We’ll explain what makes this fabric unique, what you’ll need to clean it, and walk you through a step-by-step guide to cleaning your Filson tin cloth items. We’ll also share some crucial do’s and don’ts to help you avoid common cleaning mistakes.

Whether you’re a seasoned Filson tin cloth user or new to this robust material, this guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to keep your tin cloth items in top condition for years to come. So, let’s get started!

What makes this fabric unique?

Filson tin cloth is a marvel of textile engineering, born out of a need for rugged and durable outdoor gear. It starts as a heavy-duty cotton fabric, but the real magic happens when it undergoes an oil-finish treatment. This process infuses the cotton with a special oil blend that gives the fabric its unique properties.

The most notable feature of Filson tin cloth is its exceptional water resistance. When water hits the surface of the fabric, it simply beads up and rolls off, keeping the wearer dry even in heavy rain. But it’s not just the weather that this fabric can resist. Filson tin cloth is also incredibly durable, capable of withstanding rough use in rugged environments without tearing or wearing thin.

Why does this fabric need maintenance?

Maintaining these properties, however, requires proper care and cleaning. Over time, dirt and grime can build up on the fabric, potentially impacting its water resistance and overall performance. Proper cleaning ensures that the fabric can continue to repel water effectively and prolongs the lifespan of your Filson tin cloth items.

Common errors made during the cleaning process can be damaging. For instance, using harsh detergents can strip the fabric of its oil finish, while machine washing can lead to shrinkage and distort the shape of your item. By understanding how to properly clean this unique fabric, you can avoid these pitfalls and ensure your Filson tin cloth items stay in top condition. In the following sections, we will guide you through the correct cleaning process, step by step.

Before we dive into the cleaning process, it’s essential to gather all the necessary materials. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A Soft Brush

    This will serve to carefully lift off any loose dirt or particles from your Filson tin cloth item. The use of a soft brush in this primary cleaning phase guarantees that the fabric will remain unscratched and undamaged.

  • Clean Cloth or Sponge

    This will be utilized to spread the wax onto your Filson item. Make sure it’s clean to prevent the inadvertent addition of any fresh dirt or particles into the material.

  • Filson’s Oil Finish Wax

    This special wax is designed to restore the oil finish of your tin cloth item after cleaning. Applying it will help maintain the fabric’s unique water-resistance and durability properties.

  • A Hairdryer

    After applying the wax, you’ll need to heat it slightly to help it penetrate the fabric. This can be done with a hairdryer on a low setting.

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Now that we know what we need, where can we find these materials? The soft brush can be a dust brush or a cleaning brush. Just ensure it’s soft enough not to damage the fabric. Filson’s Oil Finish Wax can be purchased directly from the Filson website or from outdoor gear retailers that stock Filson products. As for the hairdryer, you likely already have one at home. If not, they’re readily available at many retailers or online.

With your materials at the ready, you’re all set to start the cleaning process. Let’s move on to the step-by-step guide on how to clean your Filson tin cloth item.


  1. Preparation

    Before you start, set up your cleaning area. Choose a flat surface and make sure it’s clean. Next, Unfasten any buttons or zippers and shake the item to remove any loose dirt or debris.

  2. Cleaning

    Using a soft brush, gently brush off any remaining dirt or debris from the surface of the fabric. Remember to use gentle strokes – the aim is to clean the fabric, not to scrub it harshly. Pay particular attention to any areas that are especially dirty.

  3. Applying the Wax

    First, warm up the wax. You can do this by placing the tin in a bowl of warm water. This will soften the wax and make it easier to apply. Using a cloth or sponge, apply the wax to the fabric. Aim for a thin, even layer. You don’t need to apply a lot of wax – a little goes a long way. Use a hairdryer to ensure that the wax is incorporated into the fabric, paying special attention to seams, creases, and areas that see a lot of wear.

  4. Drying

    The best way to do this is to let it dry naturally. Check for areas of uneven wax application. You can also skip this step and go directly to step 5, and start drying in the last step.

  5. Re-applying the Wax

    Finally, Apply another coat to the lighter coloured areas of the wax. you’ll need to re-apply the wax periodically to maintain the fabric’s water-resistance and durability.

Cleaning your Filson tin cloth items properly is just one part of ensuring their durability. Here are some additional tips to keep your items in the best possible condition:

  • Storing Properly

    When you’re not using your Filson tin cloth item, make sure to store it properly. Keep it in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. This will help prevent it from getting mouldy and keep your items in top condition for longer.

  • Avoiding Harsh Cleaning Chemicals

    It might be tempting to use strong detergents or other cleaning chemicals on your Filson tin cloth items, especially if they’re particularly dirty. However, these can strip the fabric of its oil finish, compromising its water resistance and durability. Stick to gentle cleaning methods, like brushing and re-waxing, to keep your items in the best possible condition.

  • Avoiding Washing Machines

    Despite what you might think, washing machines are not suitable for cleaning Filson tin cloth. The agitation and heat can cause the fabric to shrink and distort, ruining your item. Always clean your Filson tin cloth items by hand.

One common myth around Filson tin cloth is that it needs to be washed frequently. In reality, frequent washing is not necessary and can even be harmful. Remember, the goal is to maintain the oil finish, which means avoiding anything that can strip it away, including frequent washing. By these tips and avoiding common mistakes, you can ensure your Filson tin cloth items last for many years to come.

We hope you found this guide to cleaning Filson tin cloth helpful. If you’ve tried these steps yourself, we’d love to hear about your experience. Did you encounter any challenges? Do you have additional tips to share? Please feel free to share your thoughts and insights in the comments section below. Your feedback not only helps us, but also our community of Filson tin cloth users.

If you found this guide useful and want to stay updated with more helpful guides, tips, and insights, consider subscribing to our newsletter. You can also follow us on our social media channels where we share regular updates and additional content.

For further reading, you might be interested in our other related posts:

[How to Clean Filson Rugged Twill]

[How to Rewax Filson Rugged Twill 70232]

[Filson 262 Rugged Twill Backpack Review]

Remember, proper care and maintenance of your outdoor gear can significantly enhance its lifespan and performance. We’re here to help guide you through that process, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions.


When is the best time to Rewax Tin Cloth?

A good rule of thumb is to re-wax your item when water stops beading up on the surface. This is a sign that the oil finish is wearing off and needs to be replenished.

How often should you Rewax Tin Cloth?

The frequency of re-waxing can vary depending on how often you use the item and the conditions it’s exposed to, but generally, you should expect to re-wax your Filson tin cloth item once or twice a year.


Stan is an adventure enthusiast with a love for the outdoors and American heritage brands like Red Wing and Filson. With a background in environmental science, Stan combines his outdoor experiences with a commitment to sustainability. His reviews go beyond functionality, exploring the brand ethos and craftsmanship. Stan inspires readers to choose gear that's durable, environmentally responsible, and true to American craftsmanship, making his advice indispensable for outdoor aficionados.

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  1. Hi there. My husband has a a couple tin cloth clothing pieces from Filson. He recently got some sap on his jacket when camping. We were wondering how you would recommend to get that sap out without damaging the tin cloth jacket? Thank you for your help.

    • Hi Gabrielle,

      The safest way to do this is to place a bag of ice on the stain, after the sap has frozen sufficiently, and then scrape off the rest with a spoon or blunt knife. If this method doesn’t work, test the back of the garment with rubbing alcohol or detergent to see if it works, then clean the stain as a whole. If it appears to be a more noticeable color difference, you can re-wax it. I hope this helps.

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