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How To Machine Wash A Canvas Tote Bag

Meghan Quinones |

Canvas tote bags can be used for so many things.  From holding farmer’s market goodies , or toting your towel to the beach, it really is a great option when you're on the go.  Many canvas tote bags can be plain, making them the perfect piece to customize. Crafters and fashion enthusiasts love getting plain canvas tote bags to transform and customize with paints, stencils, vinyl and so much more.  Many take their decorating one step further by adding decorative embellishments like key chains, sequin trim, and even rhinestones to make their bags really stand out in the crowd.

Just like anything you own and wear, after numerous uses, your canvas bag can too become dirty.  Spot cleaning can work when you see a stain appear to keep the bag fresh, but after a while it’s a good idea to clean the entire canvas bag to get rid of any debris, germs, and stains that have accumulated.

Once you’ve decided it’s time to clean your canvas bag, a few precautions need to be taken.  You need to ensure the bag is colorfast. This means you need to check that the colors will not run when the bag gets wet.  You can run a quick check to see if the colors will bleed. If your bag is white, it’s safe. You’ll also need to make sure your bag doesn’t have any adornments or embellishments that can’t get wet or be washed.  These need to be removed before washing the bag.

First, you’ll want to wipe away spots you see.  If they still remain after firm rubbing, you’ll need to try a stain remover.  If a stain remover is needed, you’ll want to closely follow the instructions on the package to avoid damaging your canvas totes. Once you’ve taken precaution to ensure machine washing is safe, it’s time to freshen up your canvas bag!

When washing your canvas bag in the washing machine, set the temperature according to the recommendations on the label. If your bag is printed, painted, or decorated you’ll want to make sure you set the temperature to cold, especially if your bag is 100% cotton.  Cold water helps reduce shrinkage and helps the bag retain its shape. If possible, you’ll also want to lower the centrifuge speed so it’s gentler on the bag. Higher speeds could damage the bag, making it lose its shape.

Next, you’ll want to add a fabric detergent to the washing machine.  Then, add your canvas tote bag. It can be washed all by itself to ensure no color transfer color, or you can wash it with other canvas items.  After you’ve added the bag, close the lid of the washing machine and let it run through the entire cleaning cycle. Once the cycle ends, remove the canvas bag immediately.  Leaving it in the washing machine too long can cause mold and bacteria to grow. If this happens, you’ll need to restart the entire washing process.

After you take your tote bag out of the washer, it can look wrinkled and crumpled.  There is no reason to get concerned over the way the bag looks since you can use your hands to reshape it.  First, unfold the bag so it’s open again. Lay it down on a flat surface and use your hands to gently tug on the bag to reshape it.  Then, use your hand to smooth out any wrinkles you see. Continue doing this until your bag looks smooth.

Once your bag is washed, it’s time to dry it.  Since most canvas bags are cotton, it’s best to avoid tossing them into a drier.  The heat from a drier can cause the bag to shrink, making it lose its shape. Instead, you’ll want to let it air dry.  This can be done by using a drying rack, clothesline, or draping it over a chair. Set the bag aside and let the bag dry overnight.

 When your bag is fully dry, you can place any adornments or embellishment back on the bag.  That’s it! Your bag is now clean and ready to use again. If your other canvas bags have dirt and debris on them, or have had a lot of wear-and-tear over the weeks or months, they too can be washed in the washing machine as long as you have taken the proper precautions.

You can go to this link to get more details for How to Clean a Canvas Bag.