Caring for Your Canvas Tote

Caring for Your Canvas Tote


Lets set the scene... your new Canvas Tote was just delivered, you open up that Urban Southern box to see a stunning combination of canvas + leather, the familiar smell of leather fills the room, the pop of that canvas color set against the signature full-grain leather brings out a new level of handbag obsession you didn't know existed. 

You are overcome with joy, when suddenly you realize you have NO IDEA how to take care of your new handbag. You're a pro at leather care, but what about canvas? How do you make sure to keep your new bag in tip-top shape? 

Don't worry, we're here to help with a few tips & trick on canvas care!


What is Waxed Canvas? 

Waxed canvas is a densely woven cotton fabric that has been coated in a layer of non-toxic wax, providing it with an extra measure of protection against the elements. It's water repellent, natural & eco-friendly. Waxed canvas will develop a patina over time, with subtle creases & wrinkles adding character the more you use it. 

Both the Hunter & Sapphire canvas colors we offer are a 10oz. waxed canvas, while our Cream canvas is not waxed. 


Why is the Cream canvas not waxed?

When we started our canvas tote journey, our production team went on the hunt for the perfect fabric. We knew we wanted to offer waxed canvas due to its tough composition and waterproofing. But during our prototype testing we ran into a bit of a problem.

The new green & blue canvas we selected had us all swooning, but something just wasn't right about the cream. Because of the wax layer overtop, the cream canvas was looking very oily and almost translucent. We tried a few types of cream samples and felt like the finished product just didn't measure up to our normal standard. So in the end we went with a 12oz. non-waxed cotton canvas, and we're so glad we did. 



 Let's get to the basics!



  • Gently brush dry dirt off with a soft brush
  • Spot clean with a damp cloth
  • Always use cold water when cleaning 
  • Use a mild soap or Waxed Canvas Spot Cleaner (sparingly)
  • Use a non-toxic fabric wax like Otter Wax every few years to waterproof
  • Use natural leather cleaner & butter for all leather elements


  • Machine wash
  • Dry clean
  • Use hot water to clean
  • Scrub with a hard brush
  • Use soap or canvas spot cleaner on leather elements 


Cleaning Waxed Canvas

Due to its wax coating, waxed canvas will not stain easily & most of the scuffs acquired by daily use will blend back into the fabric. However if your canvas does need cleaning We recommend spot cleaning with a cold damp cloth. If you have a stubborn stain that will not come out with just water, add a small amount of mild soap (not detergent) to the cold water and rinse well. Or checkout Otter Wax's Waxed Canvas Spot Cleaner. Always make sure to keep soap & water away from all leather elements. 


Cleaning Non-waxed Canvas

All non-waxed fabric should be cleaned using a white cloth, cold water and a mild soap (not detergent). Gently blot out dirt & stains, taking care not to get soapy water on any leather elements.


Re-waxing your Waxed Canvas

Over the years your waxed canvas may start to weather and fade slightly due to everyday life & exposure to the elements. Depending on how much wear and tear your bag has gotten, you will want to freshen it up a bit every few years to bring back that shine and waterproofing. We recommend Otter Wax's Heavy Duty Fabric Wax

First things first- thoroughly clean your bag before starting the waxing process. Then rub the wax bar into the fabric, back-and-forth, creating friction & enough heat to soften the wax and spread evenly over the surface. Smooth out the wax layer with your fingers and let your handbag cure in a warm, dry place for 24 hours. 



Cleaning & Conditioning Leather

For the leather elements of your tote, your cleaning approach will be different. Spot clean the leather gently with a soft cloth, using our natural Leather Cleaner. Allow the leather to air dry completely (8-24 hours) before you condition it.

To condition the leather, apply a leather conditioner or balm evenly to the leather, using a soft cloth or your hands. We recommend using Smith's Leather Butter. The ideal time to condition leather to keep it healthy, supple and soft is about every 4-6 months. 

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