The plain, cream coloured cotton canvas that I use has not been dyed, bleached, or treated in any way. It is extremely hardwearing and functional. As with all natural products, cotton canvas must not be left lying around damp or it will develop mildew. The products are designed to be kept out in the open - as toys to play with, or as storage containers which can be displayed on open shelving. Dried thoroughly after washing or becoming damp, they will last many years.The waterproof cotton canvas, and the waterproof polyester/cotton canvas have waterproof coatings on them. The products made using this fabric are designed for rugged use, and outdoor applications.
WASHING INSTRUCTIONS FOR PLAIN COTTON CANVAS - If possible, hand wash in warm water with mild washing liquid, spin for a short time (less than one minute). On a hot day you needn’t spin at all. Stretch back into shape, hang in the sun until dry (if it is a hot, sunny day, dry in the shade - see more information below).
Many of the products will shrink when first washed, and the fabric will soften. They will also crease - stretching the fabric while it is wet, will help remove creases. Hanging the product out dripping wet, rather than spinning, will greatly reduce creasing.
Recently I have discovered that on a very hot day, you can get a reaction between the sun’s heat, the ultraviolet rays and any washing liquid that is left in the canvas after rinsing. This results in brown marks on the fabric. The marks are removable, but it is easier just to hang things in the shade on a day like this. Being conservative with the washing liquid and rinsing well, will also help.
Marks such as paint, dye, mud etc. etc. can be scrubbed with sunlight soap and a nail brush (if necessary). This should either completely remove them, or in the case of very stubborn stains, fade them enough to make them blend in with the background colour. Soaking in Ecostore 'oxygen whitener' will also help. It may whiten the colour of the canvas slightly though, and care will be needed with colours. Rubbing marks with a damp cloth relatively soon after they happen, will greatly increase the chance that they will disappear.
The main bag material and the binding tape (around the edges) can be ironed. Do not use a hot iron on the thicker webbing as it has a polyester fibre running through it. It helps to put a folded sheet into the storage bags so that you can flatten the sides (see photo below). We find that children love to sit in the floor storage bags - they are not at all worried about wrinkles in the fabric!
The bags will not fall to pieces if you put them in the washing machine and dryer, but the fabric will soften, and they will become very wrinkled.
We regularly wash the tall thin storage cylinders in the washing machine (on a normal cycle) and put them in the dryer - especially in winter. They come into contact with the small toys that the children use most often, so we wash the cylinders when we wash the toys. Even though the fabric softens, it still easily holds it’s shape, and the wrinkles smooth out once the contents are returned.
Always ensure the bags are completely dry before you store things in them. They air well in front of a heat source, in a hot water cupboard, in a warm room ........
Cloth dolls can be washed and dried the same way - although this does depend on the stuffing material (dolls with wool stuffing should only be washed using a ‘wool wash’ detergent, and should never be put in the dryer) - see the patterns for more washing details.
WASHING INSTRUCTIONS FOR WATERPROOF COTTON AND WATERPROOF POLY/COTTON CANVAS - Marks can often be brushed off. The products can also be washed in warm water, with mild washing liquid. Line dry. No washing machines, driers or irons for this fabric!