How To Clean Waxed Canvas (Check the Matter)

Has your waxed canvas bag gotten dirty or soiled, and you are wondering how to clean waxed canvas? If yes, then keep reading as in this article, we are going to tell how you can clean your waxed canvas bag without harming its quality.

How To Clean Waxed Canvas

Indeed waxed canvas is very durable and lasts longer than any other material. Regardless, you might accidentally stain your waxed canvas bag or use it for a prolonged period so that it loses its shine and starts looking dull and worn out.

Therefore, it is essential to know the proper way of cleaning a waxed canvas. You must know how to take care of waxed canvas to last for a lifetime. However, there are a few things to consider if you are thinking about cleaning your waxed canvas bag.

What is a Clean Waxed Canvas

Clean waxed canvas is a type of fabric that has been treated with wax to make it water-resistant and durable. Waxed canvas has been used for centuries as a sturdy and weather-resistant material for various applications, such as outdoor gear, military apparel, and bags.

To clean waxed canvas, it’s important to follow specific care instructions to preserve its water-resistant properties and extend its lifespan.

Here are general steps for cleaning clean waxed canvas:

1. Shake off or brush away dirt and debris from the surface of the fabric.

2. Spot clean with a damp cloth or sponge using cold water and mild soap. Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach, as they can strip the wax coating.

3. Rinse the cloth or sponge thoroughly and wipe off any soap residue from the fabric.

4. Allow the waxed canvas to air dry in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources.

5. If needed, you can reapply wax to the canvas to restore its water-repellent properties. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer or use a specialized wax for canvas fabrics.

6. Avoid machine washing or dry cleaning waxed canvas, as these methods can damage the wax coating and reduce its effectiveness.

Cleaning waxed canvas may slightly alter its appearance, as the wax may darken or develop a patina over time, which is a natural characteristic of the material. However, with proper care, a clean waxed canvas can maintain its functionality and develop a desirable aged look over time.

Mistakes You Should Avoid

There are some cleaning methods that you must never adopt when dealing with waxed canvas, such as:

Do not dry clean your waxed canvas. It involves using a chemical that strips off the wax from the canvas, and it’ll leave you with a plain canvas bag.

1. Avoid using warm water to clean any of your waxed canvas items

2. Do not wash waxed canvas in a washing machine

3. Try not to scratch off the stains with your nails or anything pointy

4. Using harsh detergents or bleach will damage the wax coating, so try not to use these

5. Do not let your waxed canvas be overheated for a prolonged period, as it’ll melt the wax

6. Lastly, do not coat the inner side of the bag with wax

How To Clean Waxed Canvas The Right Way?

By now, you know how to clean waxed canvas. Now it’s time to get started on how exactly you should clean waxed canvas. You might get confused and mix the way you wash other clothes and your waxed canvas items. To avoid such mishaps, here are a few steps that will help you clean waxed canvas without much hassle:

Things You Will Need

Before starting the cleaning process, you should gather up your tools to be fully prepared. Following are the things you will need: Soft and stiff-bristled brush – to brush off dirt.

1. Small sponge – to clean off the mud

2. Toothbrush – to remove stains

3. Piece of cloth – to clean the detergent off the canvas

4. Mild soap – as harsh detergents ruin the wax

5. Bar of wax or tin of wax

6. Baking soda – for ink stains

7. Corn-starch for – oil stains

Let The Stain Dry

If the waxed canvas has been freshly stained, it is best to let the stained area dry. Otherwise, you’ll end up smearing the stain all over the waxed canvas, thus making it impossible to clean.

Hence, it is crucial to follow this step if you don’t want to ruin your waxed canvas. As for the oil stains, it’s better to let them be. They will become a part of the material and will be unnoticeable eventually. If you use harsh methods to clean oil stains, it’ll damage the wax, ultimately ruining the material’s water-resistance quality.

Removing Ink And Oil Stains

However, ink and oil stains are pretty stubborn and don’t come off quickly without stripping the wax. Still, you can try to make them fade in some way.

You can apply cornstarch to the stained area for oil stain and let it sit for some hours. Then, clear the residual powder by using a soft brush.

In case of ink stains, you can use some household supplies to remove them without damaging the canvas’s wax. Use a toothbrush and dip it in a mixture of toothpaste and baking soda. Gently rub the toothbrush on the canvas. Repeat this until you see the stains fading.

Gentle Scrubbing

After the soiled area has completely dried out. Take a bristled brush and gently brush off any dirt. It will easily brush off maximum dirt. If there was only dirt or mud and it got cleaned by brushing, then you don’t have to go further into the next steps.

If there is some tough stain you want to remove, rinse the canvas with plain cold water. Put a pea-sized amount of gentle soap like dishwashing soap or baby shampoo onto a sponge.

Move the sponge in a circular motion to gently scrub off the stain. After scrubbing, to remove the excess detergent, rinse the bag and let it air dry.

Re-Wax If Necessary

The wax coating starts thinning over time, or it decays at some spots hence compromising the waterproofing. You can restore the waterproofing by re-waxing your bag if you are concerned about where to get wax. Then don’t worry; you can quickly get fabric wax from Amazon or a store near you.

Here are the steps to re-wax your canvas bag by yourself:

1. After your canvas is cleaned and dried, use a hairdryer to warm the canvas’s surface to make the wax spread evenly

2. Rub the wax bar over the canvas, which will cause friction and make the transfer of wax to the fabric easier

3. Use your fingers to put the wax on the canvas while blow-drying and reheating the canvas

4. After completing the process, put your bag in sunlight or a warm place. Let the freshly re-waxed canvas dry for at least 24 hours


In case you own a dry-finish waxed canvas, it is better to consider reproofing your bag once a year. Reproofing is an alternative to re-waxing.

Reproofing adds a more polished look to your waxed canvas bag and makes it look as good as new.

There are various kinds of reproofing sprays available at retail stores. You might have to buy it once only as it lasts for a long time. You can also order it online.

Once you’ve bought the spray and washed your waxed canvas, follow these simple steps to reproof:

1. Make sure that the surface of the waxed canvas is lightly damp or completely dry

2. Spray the entire surface of the canvas evenly. Don’t miss any spot

3. Take a piece of clean cloth and gently dab the surface to let the product set into the fabric

4. Let it dry for 12 to 24 hours before use


Q: What is waxed canvas?

A: Waxed canvas is a durable and water-resistant fabric made by coating the canvas with wax, usually beeswax or paraffin.

Q: How do I know if my canvas item is waxed?

A: If your canvas item is water-resistant and has a slightly oily or waxy feel, it is likely waxed. You can also try rubbing a small amount of water onto the surface—if it beads up and rolls off, the canvas is likely waxed.

Q: Can I machine wash waxed canvas?

A: It is not recommended to machine wash waxed canvas as it can damage the wax coating and affect the water resistance of the fabric.

Q: How do I clean waxed canvas?

A: To clean waxed canvas, use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe away any dirt or stains. For stubborn stains, use a mild soap and water solution and gently scrub with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry.

Q: Can I use soap to clean waxed canvas?

A: Yes, you can use a mild soap and water solution to clean the waxed canvas. However, be sure to rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry to avoid damaging the wax coating.

Q: How do I re-wax my canvas item?

A: To re-wax your canvas item, you can use a wax conditioner or reproofing solution specifically designed for waxed canvas. Apply a thin, even layer of wax using a soft cloth or sponge, and then use a hairdryer or heat gun to melt the wax and ensure an even coating. Allow to cool and dry completely before using.

Q: How often should I re-wax my canvas item?

A: The frequency of re-waxing depends on how often you use and clean your canvas item, as well as the level of wear and tear. As a general guideline, you may need to re-wax every 6-12 months or as needed to maintain the water resistance and durability of the fabric.

Q: Can I iron waxed canvas?

A: No, it is not recommended to iron waxed canvas as the heat can damage the wax coating and affect the water resistance of the fabric.

Q: Can I dry clean waxed canvas?

A: It is not recommended to dry clean waxed canvas as the chemicals used in dry cleaning can damage the wax coating and affect the water resistance of the fabric.


You might think that waxed canvas bags are meant to be roughed up, which at some point is valid. Still, it’s necessary to clean your canvas bag from time to time. Proper cleaning of the waxed canvas will help it look polished and withstand much longer than expected.

You cannot clean your waxed canvas the same way you wash your regular clothes. If you don’t clean waxed canvas correctly, you might even ruin its wax.

Although, it isn’t that simple to properly clean and take care of a waxed canvas bag. However, now it won’t be that difficult to clean your waxed canvas bag.

You have to follow the methods mentioned above, and you are good to go on a series of adventures with your waxed canvas bag. We hope that this article was helpful enough for you to know about how to clean waxed canvas.

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