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Your Guide to Waxed Canvas Bags Made in USA - All About Care & More!

september 14, 2022


When searching for a durable, long-lasting, and fashionable tote bag, it’s only natural to begin shopping for waxed canvas tote bags. While leather has always been a popular choice for these ‘must-haves’ in a bag, waxed canvas totes have gained considerable popularity, too. Why?

Not only are the best waxed canvas bags strong, sustainable, and versatile in use, they can be simple to care for too.

So, if you’re currently debating the purchase of a handmade waxed canvas bag for your fall or year-round collection - what are the top things you need to know for taking good care? Keep reading for our ultimate guide to waxed canvas totes and how to find a quality bag made in the USA. 

Waxed Canvas vs. Leather - What’s the difference?

Upon first glance, it might be hard to tell the difference between a waxed canvas tote and a leather or suede tote, which is a part of their appeal. But there are key differences to understand before deciding what type of bag will work best for your lifestyle.

First and foremost - what is waxed canvas? Canvas is a material that’s typically made from cotton or linen. Its texture is similar to denim, but it differs in the type of weave that’s used. Waxed canvas originates from the use of British sailors, who noticed that canvas soaked in linseed oil caught wind more effectively than other fabrics. From there, the material started being used for waterproof clothing, accessories, and outerwear.

Today, instead of oil, wax coats the canvas fabric, hence the term "waxed canvas” and is now popular for goods that require durability - like our go-to bag collections. In terms of waxed canvas vs. leather, the biggest difference is the fact that they’re two different materials, but the most important differences lie in the details. Like, how you’ll be using your bag and the features that mean the most to you.

Here are the main factors to consider when deciding between waxed canvas and leather-

Waterproofing -High-quality leather can absorb water when untreated, while the wax found in waxed canvas bags repels water.

Cleaning - Leather bags require regular cleanings and a special leather cleaning once a year, while waxed canvas bags typically only require spot cleanings when necessary.

All in all, both leather and waxed bags are as good as it gets when it comes to longevity and durability, and both require some type of ongoing maintenance. Ultimately, it’ll come down to how you’ll use your bag, how worried you’ll be about cleaning it, and which price point or style you prefer.

Waxed Canvas Bag Care - The Top FAQs

Are you all in on adding a waxed canvas tote to your daily ventures? Then it’s important to know the top ways to care for your waxed canvas bag for ultimate longevity and quality. To make it easy, next, we’ll cover the top FAQs about waxed canvas tote maintenance.

How do you break in a waxed canvas?

For the record, we’d recommend just using the bag as much as possible to naturally break in the material. But there are ways you can more quickly break in the material or soften it if you desire. You can rub the surface with fine sandpaper, fold or roll the bag repeatedly, or more unconventional - throw it in a plastic bag and jump on it.

How do you deodorize waxed canvas?

If your bag begins to smell stale or musty, don’t even think about washing it or dry cleaning it. In fact, even during spot cleanings, you want to use mild soap and avoid detergents at all costs. To deodorize waxed canvas safely, you can purchase a special waxed canvas cleaner solution or spritz the bag with vinegar and let it air dry.

How do you get wrinkles out of waxed canvas?

Most people love waxed canvas for its realness in wear and its naturally occurring creases and wrinkles. But if you’re looking to refresh your bag to look like new again, getting the wrinkles out of a waxed canvas toe is achievable. Just use a blow dryer on low to slowly heat up the material - or, leave it in the hot sun for a day and pull out the wrinkles or creases to your desired texture.

Finding Waxed Canvas Bags Made in the USA

At In Blue Handmade, we’re all about ethically made and eco-friendly goods, including our collection of waxed canvas crossbody bags. We’re a woman-owned, living-wage certified small business that began 13 years ago as a one-woman show and has grown to a full operation and showroom in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina.

When you buy from In Blue, you’re not only supporting a business you can stand behind but one that stands behind others, too. Through our partnership with Feed America, every bag sold contributes to 50 meals fed to those in need.

Guaranteed for a lifetime of happiness, make your feel-good purchase today. Start shopping our collection of handmade waxed canvas bags made in the USA or leather goods like bags, guitar straps, hats, and more now.

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About In Blue Handmade

We are group of friends who handcraft leather and waxed canvas goods in Asheville, NC. We started in 2008 in Southern Illinois and moved to Asheville in 2011. Since then, the team has changed from one person (founder Mary Lynn Schroeder) to a team of nine Asheville residents and five amazing loud dogs.

Utility meets style and feel-good purchasing power