How to remove mildew from canvas

Updated February 21, 2017

When canvas tents, chairs or shoes are left in warm, moist environments, they may become the breeding ground for moulds and mildew. Removing the mildew from canvas may be a challenging task, especially if you want to preserve the colour of your item. Removing mildew from canvas may take a few tries, but most of the time is it an attainable goal.

Remove as much of the mildew and other dirt as you can with a lint brush. An old, clean toothbrush may be useful for cleaning small items and crevices.

Vacuum larger items such as canvas tents or awnings to get rid of mould and mildew that may be on the surface.

Mix together equal parts of water and rubbing alcohol. This is the type of alcohol used for first aid purposes and is available at most pharmacies and superstores.

Dampen the area of your canvas that is covered in mildew with the alcohol-water cleanser. Gently rub with a clean towel to remove the mildew.

Rinse the canvas thoroughly with cold water and allow to air dry.

Use a small amount of laundry detergent and water to clean your canvas by hand if the mildew is stubborn and remains after the alcohol treatments.

Wash small items such as canvas sneakers in your machine to remove mildew. Allow to line dry.


Do not use bleach to remove mildew from canvas. Although you may be successful in removing the stains, you may also cause discolouration of the fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Lint brush or toothbrush
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Water
  • Towels
  • Washing machine
  • Laundry detergent
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