How to Clean Military Canvas Jackets

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Canvas military jackets make excellent lightweight coats.
Canvas military jackets make excellent lightweight coats. (Image: Andrei Männik/iStock/Getty Images)

Military canvas jackets are excellent weather protection, but they are typically made of 100 percent cotton and are easily soiled. Whether your canvas jacket is an authentic coat from an army surplus store or a military-inspired designer canvas jacket, following a step-by-step cleaning process ensures that your jacket looks as good after cleaning as it did when you walked out of the store.

Things You'll Need

  • Clothing brush
  • Mild liquid laundry detergent
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Paper towels

Step 1

Inspect the manufacturer's recommended cleaning instructions on the label inside the jacket. Some reproduction military canvas jackets recommend dry cleaning only.

Step 2

Lay the canvas jacket on a clean, flat surface. Brush away any dirt or debris accumulated on the fabric surface on both the front and back of the jacket.

Step 3

Spot clean the jacket with a mixture of liquid laundry detergent and cool water, using a lint-free cloth, such as a T-shirt. Dip the cloth in the detergent mixture and gently work the soiled area, then allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Blot away the dirt and detergent mixture gently from the jacket surface, using paper towels.

Step 4

Place the jacket in the washing machine. Set the machine on the cold water wash/rinse cycle. Add the appropriate amount of detergent and run the cycle until completed.

Step 5

Hang the jacket to air-dry to avoid shrinkage, since canvas is typically made from cotton.

Tip

  • For tough stains, apply a commercial pretreatment laundry product, following the manufacturer's package instructions. These are available at any supermarket. If the jacket fabric is not waterproof, commercial fabric waterproofing products are available to spray on your canvas jacket, providing additional protection from the elements.

Warning

  • Beware of using chlorine on your canvas jacket since it can result in yellowing of the fabric. If this occurs, soak the canvas in a mixture of 1 quart of warm water and 1/2 cup cream of tartar overnight. Launder as usual.

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