How to Get Stains Out of Canvas

by Philippa Jones ; Updated September 28, 2017

Spruce up canvas shoes by removing the stains.

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Getting stains out of your favorite canvas shoes or bag doesn't need to be frustrating. Although canvas is highly absorbent and prone to staining, it's possible to get rid of the stain. If you spill on the canvas item or step in something that marks the canvas, try to take care of it before the stain dries. Then you can use different techniques to restore the canvas to its former glory.

Run a basin full of warm water.

Scrub with the brush to gently remove excess dirt from the canvas. Rotating the brush in circular movements will help remove the grime.

Rub some pH neutral soap on a clean cloth, and dip the cloth in the warm water.

Splash water on the canvas, and then use the cloth to scrub the stain from the canvas surface. Canvas will dry, so it does not matter that it gets wet, but avoid saturating the material with water.

Absorb excess water with the paper towels. Use the paper towels to wipe away the mud or debris you release from the fabric.

Apply a stain remover if the stain remains on the canvas, but check that it does not contain bleach as this can cause marks on canvas. Treat the surface of the canvas with the stain remover by following the manufacturer‘s instructions, and then wash it off using a cloth and warm water.

Allow the canvas to dry.


  • For yellow bleach stains, soak the canvas overnight in a bucket containing 1/2 cup of cream of tartar and 1 quart of hot water.

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About the Author

Based in Bristol, Philippa Jones has been a music journalist and script writer since 2007, working across a range of radio programs in the U.K. and Australia. Her articles have appeared in "Impact Magazine," "The Mic" and in local newspapers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in politics from the University of Nottingham.