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How To Wash a Cotton Canvas Tote Bag

How To Wash a Cotton Canvas Tote Bag

When you buy a canvas tote bag, you are saving yourself and the Earth from another plastic bag in the trash. Tote bags are remarkably durable, and we believe they look their best after years of farmer’s market trips, but the occasional cleaning never hurts!

As with any natural canvas fabric, staining is inevitable with everyday wear and tear.

Can I Machine Wash My Tote Bag?

While, technically, canvas totes can withstand your everyday washer and dryer, your tote could potentially come out a little bit shrunk. If you are keen on this method, avoid hot water at all costs! The American Cleaning Institute recommends avoiding the following as well: chlorine, bleach, stain removers, detergents with lighteners, and fabric softeners. Use a gentle cycle and mild detergent, and let it air dry to avoid dreaded shrinkage. If you’re washing one of our Denim or Black Everyday Totes, be careful of dye transfer and wash separately. You can check an items colorfastness by dipping it in cold water and watching for dye as it drips.

Spot Cleaning is Easy!

The best way to wash your tote, however, is good old-fashioned spot cleaning! This is the best way to avoid ruining the design our screen printers so meticulously handprinted for you.

All you need is a well-worn tote bag or pouch (any canvas item will do), a damp washcloth (white is best to avoid accidental dye transfer), cold water, and some mild soap.

Now is the time to empty out all the contents of your bag, and give it a good upside-down shake above a trash can to get all the mystery gunk at the bottom of your bag out.

Now, check your bag for any stains. Apply your mild soap (a little goes a long way!) on any spots and use your damp washcloth to gently blot at or wipe the stain in a circular motion. Avoid scrubbing intensely, as this could rub it into the fibers and create a bigger problem.

If you find any tougher stains, consider using a toothbrush with a mixture of toothpaste and baking soda. This mixture also works great on rubber shoes like Converse and Keds!

Toothpaste and baking soda makes a great spot cleaning solution on many items!

How to Make Your Brass Hardware Look Good as New!

Our Travel Pouches have a high quality brass zipper that keep well for a long time, but sometimes they need a little polish, too! To give the zipper a little oomph to its shine, we recommend a polishing product or brass cleaner, applied with a cotton ball then wiped down with a clean cloth to finish. Make sure to avoid getting the polisher on the fabric, as it can stain!

Our Travel Pouches feature a high quality brass zipper that can be polished using brass polish.

Machine Dry Vs. Air Dry

Never put your tote in the dryer!

As with any cotton item, it has the potential for shrinkage at high temperatures. The best way is to air dry and hang to preserve its shape. Aim for a place with lots of sunlight and a nice breeze. Avoid dark, stuffy rooms as this can lead to mold growth.

Air drying is the best way to dry cotton goods and prevent shrinkage.

That’s It!

Taking care of your totes and pouches is the best way to keep them going for years. Of course, you don’t need to keep them pristinely clean — dirt and stains are evidence of a well loved bag!



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