Can Canvas Be Washed

Canvas is a widely preferred material known for its strength and resilience, commonly utilized in a range of items including camping equipment and footwear, as well as canvas art and bags. However, what do you do when your canvas item becomes soiled? Today, we aim to answer the pressing question, “Is it possible to wash canvas?” as we delve into this matter.

The Short Answer

The direct answer to this question is – Yes, canvas can indeed be washed. But there’s more to it than just tossing your canvas items into the washing machine and hoping for the best. Let’s delve into it further.

Understanding Canvas Fabrics

Canvas is a tightly woven material, typically made from cotton but it can also be found in hemp or linen. It’s the tight weave that gives canvas its durability and resilience against wear and tear. This is why it is a popular choice for items that need to withstand frequent use and outdoor conditions.

Despite its strength, canvas is not invincible. It can still get dirty and stained, and these stains can sometimes be quite stubborn to remove. That’s why it’s essential to know the right way to clean your canvas items.

The Ideal Way to Wash Canvas

Most canvas items can withstand a good hand washing. Here’s a general guide on how you can hand wash your canvas items:

1. Fill a basin with cold water.
2. Add a mild detergent – avoid using bleach or harsh cleaners.
3. Submerge the canvas item in the water and gently scrub the dirty areas.
4. Rinse thoroughly with cold water.
5. Allow the canvas to air dry - avoid direct sunlight.

Keep in mind that this method might not be suitable for all canvas items. For instance, canvas shoes may have other parts made of materials that should not be submerged in water.

When Machine Washing is Appropriate

In some cases, you can wash your canvas items in a washing machine. However, this should always be done on the gentle cycle with cold water. Also, remember to use a mild detergent. Once the cycle is completed, allow the items to air dry.

Painting Canvas and Washing

Painting canvases are a different story. If they have been painted on, they should not be washed as it can ruin the artwork. If the canvas is still blank, however, you can give it a light clean with a damp cloth to remove any dust or dirt.


In conclusion, canvas can be washed, but care should be taken to do it correctly. Always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions if available. When in doubt, it’s better to err on the side of caution and hand wash your canvas items or use a professional cleaning service.