Waterproof Canvas

Waterproof Canvas

Originally developed as a waterproof utility fabric, used in a nautical and military context, waxed canvas is well known and popular for being waterproof, strong and durable. The wax coating repels water, making this material one that stands the test of time for constructing military rucksacks & backpacks, sails, tents, and outdoor gear. The thick weave of canvas makes it durable and hard to tear yet breathable.

With proper care it remain waterproof. If you preserve the wax coating, you’ll preserve the water resistance. So, very little cleaning is needed. Waxed canvas is meant to show its wear and age and develop a patina like leather, so let it. If you need to clean it, do not dry clean it, and do not put it in the washer or dryer. Use cool water and mild soap (not detergent) if needed. Detergents will break down the wax coating and reduce its ability to repel water. 

Another way to ensure your waxed canvas bag remains waterproof is to re-wax it every year or so. You can usually reach out to the manufacturer for this service, or you can give DIY re-waxing a try.


Is Waxed Canvas waterproof?

Waxed canvas is a waterproof material which will repel driving rain, however, it is not impermeable and if immersed in water for long periods it will become saturated.

What does Waxed Canvas feel like?

Waxed canvas has a much drier feel than waxed cotton and has a pleasantly textured, supple surface. It is not sticky or damp to the touch.

Is Waxed Canvas vegan?

Waxed canvas is vegan and is much more environmentally friendly than most other vegan leather substitutes which use products derived from the petro-chemical industry. The production of paraffin wax generates very low level chemical toxins.

Is Waxed Canvas durable?

Waxed canvas is a strong, hard-wearing material which is resistant to tearing. Properly maintained it will give a lifetime of use.

Does Waxed Canvas rub off?

Waxed canvas will not rub off on clothes, though waxed cotton products may do. Over time the wax impregnated canvas will dry out and will need re-waxing.

Does Waxed Canvas stain?

Waxed canvas, because it is water resistant will not stain easily and marks and scuffs incurred by everyday use add to its character. To remove a serious oil stain, apply corn starch to the area and leave for forty-eight hours before removing with a stiff brush. Repeat if necessary. Cold water and a gentle soap may also be used. The canvas should be re-waxed after treatment.

Can you wash Waxed Canvas?

A waxed canvas item should never be washed in its entirety and it should never need to be washed. If re-waxed appropriately and the frequency of the this depends on usage, it should not become dirty and marks and scuffs are part of its visual appeal. If, in extreme cases, it is necessary to wash a waxed canvas item it should be done using cold water and soft soap and the item should be completely re-waxed afterwards.

How does Wax Canvas age?

One of the features of waxed canvas which has resulted in its increasing use in fashion accessories is the attractive way in which it ages. Like full grain leather its appearance improves with age, making it a unique personal accessory. Scuffs, marks and creases create a rich patina which continues to develop with age.

How to clean Waxed Canvas

As a result of its water repellent qualities waxed canvas also repels dirt. Dust or mud will not penetrate waxed canvas and can be removed with a damp cloth. An oil stain which has soaked into the material needs to be treated with corn starch or a similarly absorbent substance. Apply the absorbent substance generously to the affected area and leave for forty-eight hours, after which time it can removed with a stiff brush. If necessary, repeat the process. A stained area of waxed canvas can be washed using cold water and a gentle soap, but it will need to be re-waxed afterwards. Do not put waxed canvas articles in the washing machine and always allow them to dry naturally.

How to break in Waxed Canvas

The answer is simple: use it. Disregard internet advice which suggests putting the article in a washing machine.

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