Canvas tote bags are known to be environmentally friendly because the fabric material comes from renewable resources. The tote bags themselves are biodegradable. The most eco-friendly aspect of the bag comes from its reusability, which avoids the use of harmful plastic bags that accumulate at the bottom of landfills every year.

A tote bag can be waxed at home to make it waterproof. Before you begin, a few precautions should be taken to ensure a smooth, high-quality wax job. Clean the bag and make sure the material is free of loose strings and debris. If the material is washable, you could wash its surface and vacuum it. Then dry the bag completely. Before the waxing process begins, make sure the place is well-ventilated, such as your yard or garage. This will help dilute the strong smell of the wax.

Next, gather the necessary materials. You will need a piece of wax, whether it is a mixture of paraffin and beeswax or organic wax. In addition, you will need two pots, a cup of water, a brush and a hair dryer.

wax tote bag

Step One: Do a spot test to confirm that the wax is compatible with your canvas tote bag material. Choose an inconspicuous area inside the bag to rub in the wax. Keep in mind that the material may appear darker than before treatment.

Step Two: Now that you have confirmed that the wax is working on your bag, set up a double-bain marie using both pots. A bain-marie is when you fill a pot with water that will be boiling. Then place the second pot inside the first one with the wax inside. Wait for the wax to melt and stir occasionally with a wooden stick. Once the wax has completely melted, allow it to cool for a few minutes as boiling wax can damage the canvas.

Step Three: Take the brush and spread the hot wax evenly over the surface of the canvas bag. Make sure that each brush stroke coats the fabric thoroughly. Take extra care when covering seams, crevices, folds and around embellishments or zippers. Again, be aware that the color may become slightly darker.

Step Four: After coating the bag with the wax, run the coating into the fabric with your fingers. Push the wax into the material so that it fully adheres to the material and protects it.

Step Five: Heat the wax again using a hair dryer. By melting the wax a second time while it’s on the canvas, you allow it to penetrate deeper into the material, creating an impenetrable bond. If you feel that the first coat of wax isn’t enough for your needs, it’s time to add another coat. Focus especially on the bottom of the bag. Warm up the wax using a hair dryer. During this step, you can also waterproof your bag from the inside. This becomes especially important if you plan to carry liquids inside the bag, which could spill and lead to a disastrous leak.

Step Six: Now it’s time to let the bag dry completely. To do this, hang the bag in a dry, well-ventilated place for one to two days. With this method, the smell of the wax also goes away. However, if you can’t wait that long, the bag can also be placed in a pillowcase and thrown in the dryer for about fifteen to thirty minutes.


It is important to remember that the wax coating will not last forever. Typically, the coating will need to be done once a year. The coating will last longer if properly maintained. Remember never to wash your bag in hot water. It is best to use a soft brush with natural bristles to clean the bag or hand wash in cold water.

Wanna know how to make a tote bag? read this post:

A step-by-step guide to making a tote bag for your own use

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