How to Waterproof a Canvas Bag

How to Waterproof a Canvas Bag

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Canvas often is used for items requiring strength and durability, such as tote bags and backpacks. A natural fiber, it can sustain moisture without being ruined, but the moisture may seep through the fabric and harm the contents inside. Modern methods of waterproofing canvas require just a washing machine and an over the counter waterproofing solution that contains elastic water-repellent polymers; such products usually are found in hardware and sporting goods stores.

Items you will need

  • Washing machine

  • Dryer

  • Basin

  • Tray

  • Paintbrush

Step 1

Wash your canvas bag before starting the waterproofing treatment to remove any dirt or stains. Follow the washing instructions on your bag. Most canvas bags can be laundered in the washing machine with cool water and a mild laundry detergent. Tumble dry using low to medium heat.

Step 2

Place the canvas bag into the washing machine. Pour the directed amount of waterproofing solution into the soap dispenser.

Step 3

Run the bag through a normal or cotton wash cycle using cool water. Tumble dry on a low setting.


  • Spot check to make sure the waterproofing solution will not stain your bag. Choose a discreet spot on the inside of your bag and apply a small amount of solution. Allow the solution to sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Check to see if the color has changed at all.
  • Use all waterproofing solutions in a well-ventilated area.


  • Follow the directions on the particular waterproofing product that you are using. Some may vary slightly in application methods.
  • Apply the waterproofing solution using a hand wash method if you do not have access to a washing machine. Fill a basin with cool water and stir in the directed amount of waterproofing solution. Soak the canvas bag in the mixture for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse completely with cool, clean water. Lay flat to dry.
  • Paint the waterproofing solution onto the bag as an alternative method. Pour the solution in a shallow tray or dish and apply it to the bag with a paintbrush. Cover the entire outside of the bag evenly. Wait 20 to 30 minutes and then rinse the bag thoroughly in clean, cool water. Dry the bag completely. Turn the bag inside out and repeat the waterproofing process for extra protection.
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