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How to care for Waxed Canvas

Gray+Canvas+board-min.jpgThe best thing about waxed canvas is that it only gets better with age, but even the most trusty fabric needs a little love to stay in fighting shape year after year.  Waxed canvas is a densely woven cotton fabric that has been saturated with wax, providing an extra layer of protection against the elements. The waxed coating records folds and creases, which gives the fabric n awesome weathered patina over time. But, there are a few things that you can do to keep the waxed coating in good shape. Here are our trusty do's and dont's for caring for your waxed canvas.







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Waxed Canvas Do’s

 

USE YOUR WAXED CANVAS

Fremont-Otter-Rock-13-min.jpgThe best part about this fabric is that it only gets better with age. The folds and creases created over time will blend together into a weathered patina, adding character and recording the story of its use.
 

SPOT CLEAN WAXED CANVAS.

Due to its protective wax coating, waxed canvas will not stain easily, and the inevitable scuffs made by daily use will most likely blend into the weathered patina of the fabric. However, if your waxed canvas does need cleaning, only spot cleaned with a damp towel, never put it in the washing machine or dryer. If a stain won't come out with water, add a small amount of mild soap (not detergent) to the cold water, rinse, and air dry.  

REMOVE MARKS WITH A HAIRDRYER.


We love all the marks on our waxed canvas, but if you'd like to reduce the appearance of them, we have a few tips: Many companies recommend using an iron with a press cloth between the iron and the fabric to reduce the appearance of marks. But with this technique, you'll have to be very careful that your iron is not too hot; otherwise, you'll risk discoloring your fabric. The chances of damaging your fabric are smaller if you use a hairdryer. We hover a blow dryer on high a few inches above the fabric, moving quickly, not heating any particular spot too long. Waxed canvas will always keep a memory of use, but if you would like to restore your project to its early glory completely, you can still completely rewax your canvas.


REWAX AS NECESSARY.

Over time, the wax coating on the fabric will weather and fade, making it less water-resistant. Depending on how you use your bag, you might want to 'rewax' it every year or two to freshen it up. But before you go adding more wax, try the previously mentioned hairdryer method to warm up the wax already on your project and try to rub out the scratches and bends by hand. Sometimes that can be enough to redistribute the wax where you need it. If that's still not doing the trick, it's time to rewax. You can do this yourself with a product like Otter Wax.


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Waxed Canvas Dont’s

DON’T IRON WAXED CANVAS.


Waxed canvas has a "memory," meaning that it records each fold, wrinkle, and crease. This means that you can "finger press" with no iron required! If you must use an iron, make sure to use a medium setting and a protective press cloth to keep your iron free of melted wax. Careful ironing with a press cloth can be used to smooth out unwanted creases and wrinkles but avoid it as much as possible. 

Instead of using an iron to make lasting folds in the fabric, try using a steel fabric roller. The weight of the heavy metal roller and stability of the wooden handle will help you make crisp, even hems. We usually create hems with a good finger press, but this tool makes folding and pressing crisp waxed canvas edges quick and easy!






DON’T WASH WAXED CANVAS.

The washing machine, hot water, detergents, and dry cleaning all will run the risk of damaging the waxed coating of waxed canvas. Always use cold water and, if necessary, mild soap like saddle soap. Always test any cleaning method on waxed canvas on an inconspicuous area before treating your entire project. 

Want to learn more about waxed canvas? Check out our Essential Guide to Waxed Canvas, where you'll get the answers to every question you can imagine about our favorite fabric!


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