How to Wash Canvas Fabric? Cleaning Guide

How to Wash Canvas Fabric? Cleaning Guide

This is a brief guide on washing canvas fabric, including canvas shoes, canvas bags, and canvas furniture.

Because of its toughness, canvas is a common fabric. It is used to make shoes, furniture, boat, and car coverings, among other things. Canvas is durable, but as it is used, it can become soiled, stained, or even mildewed.

No matter the product it was used to make, however, the canvas can be cleaned with a little detergent and water. While it is possible to remove stains with chemicals like non-chlorine bleach, doing so could harm the canvas’s integrity or colorfastness.

Learn how to properly wash canvas by reading this blog.

How to Wash Canvas Fabric?

How to Wash Canvas Fabric? Cleaning Guide
  • To remove any caked-on dirt, use a stiff, dry brush.
  • Place certain canvas shoes and removable canvas furniture covers in the washing machine. Use cold water, mild laundry detergent, and a gentle cycle. After that, let your canvas product air dry. Not all canvas material can be washed in a washing machine, particularly material that has been treated or weatherproofed. Before washing any canvas items, make sure to read the label or get in touch with the manufacturer.
  • Non-machine washable canvas can be cleaned by combining 1/4 cup of mild, bleach-free liquid detergent soap with two gallons of warm water. For treated or weatherproofed canvas, use non-detergent soap. For smaller canvas items, such as shoes, just add a few drops of detergent to a wet cloth and scrub. After that, clean the canvas by dipping a sponge into the solution and lightly scrubbing.
  • Add the detergent from Step 3 directly to the stain to get rid of light stains on the canvas. After 5 minutes of soaking, use a scrub brush to remove the stain. Alternately, mix baking soda and water into a paste and apply it to the stain. After 10 minutes, remove it with a clean, damp cloth.
  • With a brush dipped in a solution of 1/8 cup non-chlorine bleach diluted in one gallon of water, scrub a canvas that is heavily stained. If a weak solution does not completely remove the stain, increase the concentration incrementally. If that doesn’t work, scrub after applying a mildew remover or chlorine bleach spray cleaner to the stain. Before applying any bleach solutions to the canvas, thoroughly wet it with water to reduce damage. Be aware that bleach has a high likelihood of damaging the canvas, changing its color, and removing any possible treatments.
  • Rinse the canvas thoroughly with cold water after hand washing it with any of the methods listed above.
  • Allow the air to dry all canvas. Never use the dryer with it.

Tips on Washing Canvas Fabric

  1. Periodically spray your canvas with a solution of one part white vinegar to one part water to prevent mildew buildup.
  2. Spray outdoor canvas with a water-repellent outdoor fabric protector if it hasn’t already been done so.
  3. After cleaning, if your canvas shoes lose their shape, stuff them with newspaper to help them regain them as they dry.
  4. If salt stains aren’t removed right away, they might cause your canvas to crack.

How to Wash Canvas Shoes?

How to Wash Canvas Fabric? Cleaning Guide

Canvas shoes come in many styles, from traditional sneakers to espadrilles to fashionable heels, and most are easy to care for. And here is what you need to know about caring for your canvas fabric.

Before You Begin

If your canvas shoes have any type of suede or leather trim, they should not be washed in a washing machine. Rather, wash your hands. This is also true for any shoes embellished with trim, beading, or rope soles. The washer’s agitation is too vigorous, and soaking for an extended period of time could cause construction glues to become loosened.



If the shoes have laces, remove them and wash them separately to get them clean. To avoid tangling, place them in a mesh laundry bag before washing the shoes. Alternatively, you could wash them by hand in some warm, soapy water.

Cleaning Products and Washer Cycles

You can use your typical laundry detergent to clean canvas shoes. Chlorine bleach can be added to white shoes to brighten them. Instead, go with an oxygen-based bleach for colored canvas.

The wash water should be disinfected if you are worried about the athlete’s foot or another fungus. For the precise quantity to add per load, refer to the product instructions. Use the standard wash cycle to wash in warm or cold water, but if you can, choose a slower spin speed to keep your washer from becoming unbalanced.

Remove Stains

Use about a teaspoon of laundry detergent to pretreat stains on the shoes if they are stained or extremely dirty. Put a dab of detergent on the stain (the best detergents for removing grease and difficult stains are Tide and Persil).) and work it into the canvas with a soft-bristled brush. Allow the detergent to work for at least 15 minutes to break apart the soil before adding the shoes to the washer.

Remind yourself never to wash muddy shoes. The mud can clog the washer and cause it to malfunction. A garden hose or a utility sink can be used to rinse the mud off before washing. We also have a guide to Remove Different Types Of Stains From Clothes.

Fill Your Washer Load

To balance the load, it is best to wash canvas shoes alongside a pair of towels or jeans, depending on the color of the shoes. A whole load of shoes should never be washed! When putting lace-up shoes in the washer, pull up the tongue to make it easier for the cleaning agent to get to all surfaces.

Drying Canvas Shoes

After the washing cycle is finished, take the shoes out and set them somewhere cool and shaded to air dry. Canvas shoes should never be put in a hot dryer. The shoes may disintegrate as a result of the glue melting due to extreme heat.

If you are concerned about whether the shoe will retain its shape, stuff the toes with nylon mesh or paper towels. Use paper towels sparingly to ensure quick interior drying if you do. Read More: Can You Iron Canvas Fabric to Remove Wrinkles?

How to Wash Your Canvas Bags?

How to Wash Canvas Fabric? Cleaning Guide

Despite the fact that some people have successfully machine-washed their canvas totes, we advise spot cleaning. Here’s how:

  • Remove surface dirt. Any loose dirt on the canvas can be removed by brushing it off with a dry, soft-bristled tool, such as an old toothbrush.
  • Mix a cleaning solution. Use water and mild detergent as a cleaning solution. A small amount of laundry detergent, dishwashing soap, or gentle body soap is all suitable alternatives. When bubbles begin to appear, continue mixing the water and soap with your brush.
  • Scrub the surface. To thoroughly loosen the dirt and remove the stains, dip your brush into the soapy water mixture and scrub the stained areas of the bag.
  1. Whenever you come across any stains on the bag, keep dipping the brush into the solution of soapy water.
  2. You can soak the canvas in the soapy water mixture, but if your bag has leather or metal hardware, try to keep those dry. Do not be concerned if you accidentally get wet leather or other hardware. Most of the styles use water-resistant leather, which is not the same as waterproof but can handle minimal exposure to water. In order to prevent damage, it would be best to wipe the non-canvas components as soon as they are dry.
  • Rinse the stain. By bypassing the bag under a weak stream of water coming from a faucet, you can rinse the area of the bag that has been scrubbed. Using a small stream will ensure that the soapy solution is gently rinsed off without wetting the entire bag.
  • Dry the stain. If any water remains after cleaning the stain and spots, blot them dry with a paper towel or other cloth. Allow the bag to dry naturally after that.

How to Wash Canvas Furniture?

Elegant, sporty, or casual styles of canvas furniture are all possible. It is utilized both inside and outside, in the house, on patios, and on yachts. Canvas is a fairly durable fabric, but some colors will show dirt easily, and the fabric can mildew.

How to Wash Canvas Fabric? Cleaning Guide

Clean canvas patio furniture twice a season (when bringing it out of storage and before returning it to storage) and other times as needed. Depending on use, indoor canvas patio furniture might need fewer or more cleanings annually.

  1. Outside, clean your canvas furniture. Remove the canvas furniture covers (if the covers are removable). Shake them to get the dirt off. If the label indicates that the covers can be machine washed, do so with a mild laundry detergent. On a gentle cycle, wash the covers in cold water. Hang them up to dry.
  2. Non-removable canvas covers can be cleaned by hand. To accomplish this, pick a day that is mild and clear to clean the furniture. Move the canvas furniture outdoors if it is not there already. For the easiest cleaning, the furniture should be on a solid surface, such as a patio or driveway. Mud puddles might form if you clean your furniture on grass or dirt.
  3. Get a cleaning solution ready. Mix 2 gallons of warm water and approximately 1/2 capful of mild liquid laundry detergent (without bleach) in a bucket.
  4. Scrub the canvas by wetting it. The canvas should be cleaned by dipping a clean sponge into a bucket of water. Use a scrub brush to finish by cleaning the dirtiest areas and seams first.
  5. Rinse. To remove the soapy water, spray the furniture with a garden hose. Allow the furniture to air-dry. Place the furniture in the sun to speed up the drying process; however, be aware that sunlight may fade colored furniture.
  6. Protect the fabric. After the canvas has dried, spritz it with an outdoor fabric protector and water repellent. Spray the fabric protector on the removable covers while they are still hanging. This will help the canvas repel water and stains. Spray the fabric in a sweeping motion from a distance of two to three feet to ensure complete, even coverage. When the item has dried, replace the covers on the furniture.

How to Wash Canvas Cushions & Pillows?

How to Wash Canvas Fabric? Cleaning Guide

In order to withstand the elements, patio furniture is built to be fairly durable. Thus, only two cleanings are required per season. If possible, clean it outside or in a dry location. Set up a tarp if that is not an option. Below is what you need to wash canvas cushions & pillows:

  • Mild laundry detergent or dish detergent
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Fabric protector (optional)

Here are the steps:

  1. To get rid of any loose dirt, shake out the cushions, pillows, or covers.
  2. To remove any firmly adhered dirt, smack it against a hunk of concrete or railing.
  3. To make a cleaning solution, combine 2 gallons of warm water with ½ cup of laundry detergent in a bucket.
  4. Clean all of the outdoor furniture’s surfaces with the solution using a sponge and bristle brush. Work your way around, starting with the areas that are the dirtiest first.
  5. Pour detergent directly on stains to remove deep stains, then scrub. (For greasy stains, use dish soap.)
  6. Rubin rubbing alcohol and water should be sprayed on any mildew, and they should be left to sit for 15 minutes.
  7. In clean water, give everything one last scrub.
  8. Put everything through a garden hose rinse.
  9. Let it completely dry by air.
  10. Following the instructions, add a fabric protectant that is water-repellent.

How to Wash Canvas Tents and Canopies?

How to Wash Canvas Fabric? Cleaning Guide

Cleaning is a different animal for tents and canopies. Because it is absolutely crucial that you make sure they are completely dry before putting them away after cleaning. Any moisture can cause your tent to fail, and in some cases, it will void the warranty.

When you spend that much money on a tent, you want to be careful not to damage it.

Here are the steps:

  1. Remove as much dirt as you can with the bristle brush.
  2. To remove any last bits of dirt, grab a dry microfiber cloth.
  3. If required, rinse with water.
  4. Scrub again.
  5. To any areas with mold or mildew, apply your mold remover.
  6. Rinse with the hose.
  7. Before putting it away, let it completely dry.

A water-repellent seal is usually present on tents. So, if at all possible, avoid washing them with soap.

Conclusion: Wash Canvas Fabric

You are now aware of the best way to clean canvas fabric! Pour soap or detergent directly on a stain if it is particularly difficult to remove the stain or the soiled area. Scrub the detergent into the canvas with a brush and rinse it with warm water.

On grease or oil stains, use dishwashing liquid. Bleach shouldn’t be used on canvas because it could weaken and discolor the fabric.


What is the Best Way to Wash Canvas?

Any mild detergent mixed with water will work as a cleaning solution for plain, durable canvas. You might consider using baking soda, liquid laundry detergent, gentle body soap, or dishwashing soap. Think about using ½ of a teaspoon of mild detergent for about a cup of water.

Does Water Ruin Canvas Painting?

Canvas can shrink dramatically when wet, causing the canvas paint and ground layers to crack, buckle and flake off. Warping and swelling are possible with wood products. Laminated cards’ layers are susceptible to separating and warping.

Does Canvas Shrink When Washed?

When working with the standard 10 oz canvas in natural I expect it to shrink 12-15% after it’s washed and dried. A typical 8% is the average shrinkage of the dyed canvas. When determining yardage, it is essential to always take that into account.

Can You Wash Canvas Fabric in the Washing Machine?

Often a simple shake-out is suitable for a cotton canvas to drop cloth but if your fabric is coated with drywall dust, wood shavings, or paint chips, give it a shake and throw it in the washing machine. Tumble dry low or hang dry the clothes in a warm machine.

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