Can You Bleach Canvas? How to Bleach Canvas Drop Cloth/Shoes

The dreaded B-word. Not nothing that should be censored, we are just talking about bleach again. For some people, bleach is easy to understand and use but chlorine bleach can be too powerful for its own good. In the hands of a beginner, it can destroy good clothes with one simple mistake.

Can you bleach canvas? Yes, you can bleach canvas and if you want to be careful you can always try those oxygen bleaches that are supposed to be good for all fabrics. They are not as powerful a chlorine bleach but they do protect you from honest mistakes.

To learn how to bleach canvas and the different canvas products just continue to read our article. It has the instructions and information you need to do a great job and do it safely. It only takes a few minutes of your time to learn how to do the task correctly.

Can You Bleach Canvas?


Yes, you can and if you have a nice canvas awning that needs cleaning, all you need to do is rinse the awning while it is in place. Then mix 1 tsp of dishwashing soap in 4 cups of warm water and add in 1 tbsp of borax.

If you do not have borax, then use baking soda instead. When the solution is ready, use a soft bristle brush to apply the mixture. Make sure to be firm in pressing against the awning and go in smooth even stokes that cover the material completely when done.

After you have finished washing the awning, you can bleach it with 1 cup of bleach, 1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid, and 1 gallon of water. Use a color-safe bleach if you do not want your colored awning turning white.

Next, use a nice clean cloth to wipe the awning on both sides. This will kill any mold or mildew that has gathered on the material and prevent new growth at the same time. It takes about 15 minutes or so depending on the size of your awning.

Will Bleach Damage Canvas?

There are two ways that bleach will damage your canvas items. Doesn’t matter the item, they are all made of the same material and the damage will be the same if you make the same mistake.

The first way damage will come is if you use too much bleach to clean the material. By too much, we mean you added in more than you need or diluted it with less water than you should have. Strong bleach will damage the fabric.

The second way bleach will harm canvas is if you use chlorine bleach instead of color-safe oxygen bleach on your colored awnings. Using the wrong bleach solution will remove the color and make sure your awning loses its ‘sex’ appeal.

One safety note, never mix vinegar and bleach when cleaning canvas materials. You ill be creating a toxic chlorine gas and cause damage to your organs. Some people do not like using bleach on canvas and recommend against using it.

But this is your call. Always err on the side of using less bleach than normal. That way you can kill the mildew, etc. while preserving the canvas.

Does Bleach Turn Canvas Yellow?


If the bleach has been applied to your canvas shoes, then expect to see some yellowing on them when the washing is done. Bleach does turn some canvas items yellow and if not used properly may yellow drop cloths awnings and other canvas materials.

There are ways to remove the yellow tint from your shoes and they are as follow:

- Salt and hot water scrub- this is where you mix a cup of hot water and 1 tbsp of salt. Then you use an old toothbrush to clean the yellowed area. When the stain starts to disappear, let the shoes dry for about 20 minutes before making another application. Do this until the yellow is gone.

- Detergent & vinegar- in this method you soak the shoes in warm water and 5 tbsp of laundry soap using an old toothbrush to clean the yellow. Then fill the washer to a low level add the shoes, 5 cups of vinegar, and let the shoes go through a cycle before removing them and letting them dry.

- Cream of tartar- you need a sink full of hot water, 5 cups of tartar sauce, and soak the shoes between 30 and 1 1/2 hours. Rinse in cold water.

What Happens When You Bleach Canvas?

The worst you can expect is to see your nice white canvas material turn an ugly yellowish color. You may lose some brightness as well and the material will look dingy. If you use the wrong amount or the wrong kind of bleach expect the fibers to weaken, etc., and lose some color.

While canvas is a tough and thick fabric it does have its weaknesses. Those weaknesses are exploited by using the wrong kind of bleach or a too strong bleach mixture.

If you use vinegar to kill any mold on your canvas tent or camper you will cause a lot of damage to the canvas material. One season is that most canvas materials used for tents and pop up campers come with a coating to prevent up to 500 strains of mold from growing on the material

Vinegar and bleach will ruin that protection as well as the canvas if you apply them or apply them wrong. Because vinegar is caustic, it will burn organic material like cotton canvas as well as any bug netting attached to it.

There is a myriad of web pages on the internet advising you to use vinegar but be forewarned, it is not a go-to solution.

How To Bleach Canvas Drop Cloth


The materials you will need are a bucket, 100% cotton canvas drop cloth, rubber gloves, mask, 1 measuring cup (at least a cup in size), bleach, white vinegar, and a stir stick.

Yes, we know what we just said but this is not our recipe for bleaching a drop cloth. For her, it works. Step one includes filling the bucket 2/3 full and add 8 cups of bleach, then mix.

Step two, submerge the drop cloth in the mixture and use the stir stick to get that done. Soak for 3 to 6 hours until the stains are gone. Then, rinse the drop cloth and hang up to dry after getting the excess water out.

Step three, refill the buckets to 2/3 full and add 8 cups of vinegar and this is supposed to counteract the bleach. Let the drop cloth soak in the vinegar overnight. Step four has you washing the drop cloth twice to get rid of the vinegar and bleach smell.

Once the drop cloth is dry it should be whiter than when you started the process.

Can You Bleach Canvas Shoes?

It is possible but you have to use the right kind of bleach. Chlorine bleach should turn your white canvas shoes yellowish and if you use it on colored canvas shoes expect to lose the color. Some bleaches are not meant to be used on all fabric or clothing items.

If you want to bleach canvas shoes, use oxygen or color-safe bleach that doe snot have chlorine in it. Also, make sure to use a diluted formula to keep the strength of the bleach to a minimum.

It is always risky using bleach as it is hard to control and once it makes its mark, you either have to redye the shoes or replace them. That is after trying to remove the yellow stain.

When you bleach your shoes always remember to remove the shoelaces. Then apply the bleach with a clean rag, using a Q tip for the harder to reach and smaller areas. Once you are done applying the bleach and you get the shade you want. Wash the shoes in soap and water and rinse well.

When dry, replace the laces and go to town.

Best Way To Bleach Canvas Shoes


The best way to bleach shoes is to dilute the chlorine bleach if that is all you have. Full strength bleach will ruin the fabric and make it weaker or just damage it. You can use a rag which is the method described above and it works well as you can control the amount of color loss better.

Or you can use a small plastic tub and if you do, remove the inserts and shoelaces if the shoes have those items. You can fill the tub with ` part water and 1 part bleach if you want or dilute it further by adding more water.

Then soak the shoes for up to 5 hours or until you get the desired color shade. Placing them upside down is the best way to bleach these types of shoes. While soaking, check the shoes every 10 to 60 minutes to make sure no damage is being done.

Wash the shoes in soap and water when the process is done and you are satisfied with the color. Let dry and then put the inserts back in and re-lace the shoes.

How To Bleach Canvas Shoes White

You can use the 2 previous methods to get the canvas shoes white but the first method, the rag one, is labor-intensive and will take you a long time to get done.

The soaking method is probably the easiest and best way to get canvas shoes nice and white. You just leave the shoes in the mixture and let the bleach do its thing. The only real danger here is the strength of the bleach and the lengthy time needed to bleach the shoe white may damage the canvas.

You can try to use the spray bottle method. This should give you a little more control of the color loss and it is also easier than the rag method. Mix the bleach in water and pour it into the spray bottle.

Then set your spray to the level you want and spray the solution onto the shoes. You can adjust the strength of the mixture to fit your needs and time frame. You won’t need a Q tip as the spray will get the hard to reach spots as well as the small ones.

When the shoes are wet enough let them dry. This can take between 20 minutes and several hours to get done. Wash and dry your shoes to get rid of the bleach smell. But there is one word of caution, not all dark colors will come completely white.

Black shoes may simply turn orange or brown on you.

Some Canvas Bleaching Tips


1. When using the tartar option, do not skip the cold rinse. Tartar sauce is acidic and will or may damage your shoes if you leave it on them.

2. You remove the shoelaces as they can get tangled in the washer. If they are dirty, place them in a pillowcase and wash them that way

3. A deep sink is needed but instead of that, use a deep bucket or tub

4. White vinegar combats a host of odors. Just do not mix it in with the bleach

5. You do not have to rinse the shoes when using the vinegar method. The laundry soap will help the vinegar and the water will do the rinsing when washing the shoes.

Some Final Words

Bleaching canvas, although a tough material, can be tricky. Be careful of the advice you get on other websites as they may not be dispensing correct information. Always proceed with caution when using bleach and opt for an oxygen bleach whenever possible.

Getting canvas clean is a good idea as the bleach will kill any mold or mildew spores that have come to rest on the material. It may kill any dust mites as well.

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