Stain Removal Tips
April 11, 2007 5:56 PM   Subscribe

Advice on removing a stain from my canvas bag?

I recently bought a purse that I love, a beige canvas bag with leather straps and fittings. Now one side of the canvas is all gray and dingy, presumably from being set down on an unclean sidewalk. I brought the bag to two dry cleaners, but both refused to clean it because of the leather fittings. Any ideas?
posted by piers to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total)
Best answer: Spot clean. I've washed canvas bags in the washing machine. They were the LL Bean type without lining. Obviously yours can't be laundered in a machine because of the leather.

I would mix up a solution of detergent and water in a spray bottle. Lay affected area on white towl or cloth. Must be white, you don't want colors to bleed. Spray dingy areas. Rub in circular motion with a very soft tootbrush. Spray with clean water to rinse. Blot. Air dry. Fill bag with towl or clean t-shirt while drying to maintain shape.

Now this is where things can get tricky. Canvas can sometimes be wrinkly after laundering. The washing causes the material to lose it's sizing. A good pressing with spray starch if you're able to avoid the leather might be a good idea. Use a press cloth. If not, try removing wrinkles with a hand held steamer if the bag needs pressing, being sure to avoid leather areas. It may not need pressing. Canvas has a lot of body, and you may not notice much of a difference after washing.

If your bag has a synthetic or silk lining, I would avoid the above advice and bring to a dry cleaner that specializes in cleaning leather.
posted by LoriFLA at 6:13 PM on April 11, 2007

I'd try, in this order:

a) a stiff brush (boar bristle hairbrush will do). Briskly brush in the same direction as the fabric's grain, preferably from top to bottom.

b) Art gum eraser

c) Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser

Try dry cleaning methods (not to be confused with taking it to a Dry Cleaner) before wet cleaning because once you get a stain on fabric wet, whatever is causing the stain tends to soak into the fabric.
posted by jamaro at 6:36 PM on April 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Seconding some dry brushing, at least as a first step. A toothbrush would do it, too.

Try another dry cleaner -- I've had similar bags cleaned before.
posted by kmennie at 7:00 PM on April 11, 2007

Try spot treating it with Oxyclean. That stuff gets almost anything out of anything.
posted by tastybrains at 7:19 PM on April 11, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks all! I will start with a dry brush, but if that doesn't work I'll have to try some wet techniques. I'll post the (hopefully positive) results when I'm done.
posted by piers at 9:32 PM on April 11, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks again, all - I did a first pass with a dry toothbrush to get about half the dirt off, then carefully spot-cleaned the rest.
posted by piers at 5:15 PM on April 17, 2007

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