How to Remove Mildew From Canvas

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Things You'll Need

  • Lint brush or toothbrush

  • Vacuum cleaner

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Water

  • Towels

  • Washing Machine

  • Laundry detergent


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

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


Step 1

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.

Step 2

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

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.


Step 5

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

Step 6

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.

Step 7

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


Erica Roth

Erica Roth has been a writer since 2007. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a college reference librarian for eight years. Roth earned a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from Brandeis University and Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Her articles appear on various websites.