No Minimum | Free Shipping over $300

(888)TOTE-BAG Call Now!

Quick ship from our CA & GA warehouses.

What Is the Best Fabric for Tote Bags?

April Cole |

However different we may be, our needs and preferences eventually clash in some way. So do our styles, belongings, and other complementary pieces. We have one or more bags for each need and goal in our life. We have fancy purses for fancy outings, messenger bags for work or travel, casual bags for casual activities, shopping bags, large travel bags and luggage, specialty bags for gadgets, and so on. And every one of these adds a new atmosphere to the entire appearance.

This is why mass production is an unavoidable part of our lives. More demand brings along a wider range of products, some of which are even the same. However, tote bags are unique in their versatility in fabric, style, and use areas. As the Tote Bag Factory family, we already showed you the basic functional differences.  Just visit our blog to learn how to wear tote bags to look cool and how to use tote bags for school or for work! While these products make our best eco-friendly friends when it comes to shopping, they are also recyclable and reusable.

Nowadays, considering our present environmental situation, the material of the products is playing a much significant role. Durable and eco-friendly fabrics are coming to the forefront as they provide a healty and sustainable environment. On the other hand, this new trend still brings about a long remaining question: What is the best fabric for tote bags?

We know tote bags are available in a wide range of fabrics and blends, each coming with its own specific set of advantages. But the variety does not necessarily address the quality or sustainability. Today we will discuss the features of the most common fabrics used for tote bags and decide which is the best for you!


1. Canvas Tote Bags

assortment of canvas tote bags

As you know, canvas is a fabric made from cotton using a plain weave – a knitting technique allowing the fabric to become notoriously sturdy and resilient to wear and tear. We use canvas not only for shopping bags and tote bags, but for heavy-duty bags, tents, tarps, clothing, and other personal or industrial items. Here are the main advantages of canvas tote bags:

  •         Excellent strength-to-weight ratio, meaning that they are lightweight but also incredibly durable to wear and tear; in other words, canvas tote bags are perfect for carrying heavy loads of groceries, books, and other work and personal items.
  •         Canvas tote bags can last for years due to their resilience;
  •         You can wash them with ease; if you follow a minimal set of rules, you can clean your canvas tote bags in the washing machine to eliminate dust, grime, stains, and food leaks;
  •         Canvas is an excellent fabric for printing; it holds colors amazingly and the ink stays on it very well, without fading, flaking, or rubbing off; in other words, you can print anything on a canvas bag and enjoy the print without worrying about wear and washing;

However, canvas comes with some disadvantages as well:

  •         Even if cotton is a renewable source, creating canvas from cotton has an impact on the environment in the production stage that we cannot ignore; therefore, to make a canvas bag eco-friendly, you need to use it at least 100 times.
  •         Canvas is a bit more expensive to manufacture than other fabrics.

    2. Cotton Tote Bags

     cotton canvas bags with colored handles

    We use cotton every day; either it is present in clothes, bed sheets, towels, underwear, bags, and much more. Cotton is a renewable source, even if manufacturing it into consumer goods takes its toll on the environment. Organic cotton has become extremely popular in the past years, being the go-to fabric for children’s clothes, bed linen, towels, and other similar personal items. In general, cotton is hypo-allergenic and very resilient.

    Cotton tote bags come with their fair share of advantages as well:

    •         Cotton tote bags have a smoother, more refined texture, therefore they are the poster-products when it comes to promotional bags, gift bags, and tote bags to wear as casual purses and accessories;
    •         You can wash and clean cotton tote bags easily, just as you would wash your cotton clothes;
    •         Cotton tote bags are also resilient to wear and tear, being sturdy and durable; as a word of advice, when you buy cotton tote bags, make sure you shop for quality. Some manufacturers offer thin cotton fabrics that will not endure your heavy groceries or you carrying loads of books or personal items;
    •         Cotton tote bags are also reusable and recyclable;
    •         They make incredible promotional opportunities, as cotton is a perfect environment for printing and styling.

    Cotton tote bags also come with a few disadvantages that you want to keep in mind depending on the reason you need them:

    •         Cotton bags are suitable for carrying lighter items, such as clothes, gifts, light groceries, and so on; cotton is a tad frailer than canvas;

            You need to pay attention to washing cotton, as it may shrink if you are not careful.

      3. Jute Tote Bags

      jute tote bags

      Many people do not know what jute fabric is, so we will seize the opportunity and explain: jute represents a rough fiber made from the stems of a tropical Old World plant. We use this plant to make making twine and rope. You will also find jute threads in woven sacks and mats. The jute plant is, in fact, herbaceous plant, which is cultivated for jute fiber. One variety of jute plant has edible young shoots as well.

      Jute fabric cannot be mistaken for anything else due to its coarse, natural, rustic look. This look and rough texture make jute very fashionable. Being a natural fiber with a unique look and feel, jute has extended commercial applications and value as cotton.

      Here are some advantages of jute tote bags, with the amendment that jute bags make exquisite gift bags, party/wedding favor bags, and even fashion bags:

      •         The manufacturing of jute fibers and fabric comes with low chemical consumption and low carbon impact, therefore jute tote bags are eco-friendly;
      •         The jute fibers are very resilient, being used for heavy carrying; in other words, jute bags can carry quite the load without being vulnerable to wear and tear;
      •         Speaking of the manufacturing process, jute is cheap to cultivate, maintain, and turn into consumer or industrial goods, therefore jute tote bags are cheap;
      •         Being a resilient natural fabric, jute tote bags are reusable, easily recyclable, and biodegradable.

      Some of the disadvantages of jute tote bags are as follows:

      •         Their longevity is lower than the one of canvas;
      •         They do not make very good mediums for complex printing, as the exact printing impression will not match the one you can achieve on cotton or canvas;
      •         It is hard to wash or clean jute bags due to the specifics of the fabric.

      When you have to decide what is the best fabric for tote bags, you need to take into consideration the following criteria:

      •         The eco-friendliness of the manufacturing process, lifecycle, recyclability and reusability;
      •         The looks and texture of the fabrics;
      •         The resilience to wear, tear, and heavy loads carrying (if this is what you need tote bags for);
      •         The ease of washing and removing stains;
      •         Affordability.


      4. Recycled Tote Bags


      For an optimistic future, it is high time we prioritize environmental sustainability. Many products wear out easily even after using them a couple of times. Then, they are thrown away as disposable waste. Simply doing this means a considerable amount of energy, effort, material, and time consummation, which is also not renewable. Natural environment is directly affected because of this extravagance, since the sources for production are limited and every manufacturing process brings its own mass of waste.

      To reduce the environmental harms of manufacturing, designers turned their hopes towards recyclable materials. As recycled products become the source of other materials, the manufacturers do not struggle to meet the endless demand. Plus, these reusable materials help natural maintenance, eliminating the search for new raw sources.

      With the brand new recyclable product collections, Tote Bag Factory gives particular attention to environmental issues, caring for our future. There are many advantages of the Recycled Tote Bags.


      •         Made to carry heavy loads with durable material and tight fabric.
      •         Lasting years of usage with reinforced stress points, which means that you can use the bags for various purposes without severe wears after a long time.  
      •         They are perfect as everyday recycled shopping bags. Thanks to their sturdy and unique fabric specially produced for these bags, they can carry more than you expected.
      •         Ideal for school or office work, grocery shopping, park or beach visits, and other daily activities.
      •         Better than newly produced fabrics if reducing waste is your main concern. The scraps of cotton from sewing plants around the world are used to make these recycled cotton canvases. This kind of cotton is also called "recycled post-industrial cotton." For recycled tote bags to be of good quality, recycled cotton needs to be mixed with other fibers like recycled polyester.
      •         Made from salvaged cotton canvas that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill. 


       5. Organic Cotton Tote Bags

       Polyester is the most common material in bag manufacturing because it is easy to produce and less costly. Plus, the products are extremely light and affordable, which makes them so popular worldwide. However, there are also health issues to be taken into consideration. When it comes to discussing the healthiness of polyester as a material, medical professionals will not promote their popularity. This is because the basic substance of polyester is petroleum, which may damage our skin or cause cancer. Besides, their production necessitates more consumption of petroleum resources, which are getting more and more scarce. For these reasons, organic cotton fabrics have been presented as an alternative to the possible harms of polyester.

      As their name suggests, the organic cotton products are entirely natural and skin-friendly. These features also make them ecological heroes since they are recyclable in the natural environment when disposed of. Here are some other benefits of organic cotton bags:


      •         They do not wear out easily because of their extra tight texture. This feature adds to their durability.
      •         Unlike polyester, organic cotton can be dissolved in the earth. When thrown away, they become integrated with the natural compositions, and thus provide the raw material for further production.
      •         One other significant quality of organic cotton bags is that they are chemical-free. They do not cause any health problems concerning your skin.
      •         Cotton has a lot of benefits, such as being able to keep moisture out, insulate, keep you warm, and make you feel comfortable. It is also hypoallergenic, weatherproof, and a strong fabric. Cotton is naturally able to soak up moisture and doesn't show sweat like synthetics do, so it naturally helps you stay dry.
      •     Cotton lets the skin breathe and reduces the risk of skin rashes. It also keeps dust mites, pollen, and other common allergens away. Environmentalists will also like that cotton is biodegradable and lasts even when it gets dirty, is washed a lot, and is exposed to harsh weather. That is why organic cotton products are both economic and ecological.


        We have at least one bag to suit each of our requirements, preferences, functions, and even states of mind, as was described before. You can use one tote bag from each category rather than only one made of natural fabric, if you choose. You will certainly take pleasure in the adaptability of these textiles in addition to the many benefits that they offer. But as we suggested, always keep sustainability, recyclability, durability, and healthiness of the material in your mind when purchasing a bag. By giving particular importance to these features, Tote Bag Factory presents you with the most affordable products of the best quality.

        Now that we've shown you some of our favorite fabrics, which do you think would make the best tote bag material? Which of the totes that we introduced here is the kind that we may discover the most often in your house? Please enlighten us with your opinions.