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Caring for Tote Bags: How to Wash a Tote Bag Correctly

Published: 2023-10-24T13:08:40+0000 Author: Abby Helgeson

Hey there, tote-tastic friend! Let's face it: tote bags are the real MVPs. They've got our backs, holding everything from our secret snack stash to our gym shoes. But, like us after a long week, they can get a bit grubby. So, how do we pamper our trusty storage companions? Grab your tote, and let's dive into the ultimate tote bag spa guide!

Machine washing your tote: Like a Day at the Spa, but for Bags!

Happy Totes (Safe for the Machine):


These bad boys are the rugged adventurers of the tote world. Made from sturdy cotton, canvas bags are durable and can handle a good tumble in the machine. They're like the action heroes of totes, ready for any adventure, whether it's a trip to the beach or a grocery run.


The laid-back, easy-going pals. Cotton totes are soft, breathable, and machine-friendly. However, they're also a bit like that friend who wears too much jewelry to the pool. If your cotton tote has sequins, beads, or any other fancy add-ons, you might want to give it a gentle hand wash instead.


The water-loving, synthetic wonders. Polyester totes are resilient and quick-drying. They're like the swimmers of the tote universe, always ready for a dip. But, like any good swimmer, they appreciate checking the pool's rules first—so always glance at the care label.


The athletic all-stars. Nylon totes are strong, lightweight, and resistant to both moisture and abrasion. They're like the sporty friends who are always up for a game. But, if they've teamed up with materials like leather for handles or trims, they might need a more delicate cleaning approach.

Sensitive Souls (Keep 'Em Out of the Machine):


The sophisticated sun-lovers. Leather totes are all about luxury and elegance. They adore a good sunbathing session to dry out, but a splash in the machine? That's a big no-no. Instead, they prefer some tender loving care with special leather cleaners and conditioners.


The nature-loving, eco-warriors. Jute totes, often known as burlap bags, are made from natural fibers. They're all about that rustic, earthy vibe. But, they're also a tad sensitive. Too much water can weaken the fibers, so it's best to spot clean or give them a gentle hand wash with mild detergent.

Fancy Fabrics:

The glamorous divas. Silks, satins, and other delicate materials are the A-listers of the tote world. They're all about the spotlight but prefer to stay away from the rough and tumble of a washing machine. Instead, they enjoy the VIP treatment of hand washing or a trip to the dry cleaners. After all, royalty deserves the best!

Spot the Oopsies:

  • Empty the Secrets: Make sure you've taken out all the hidden treasures (and that rogue pen).

  • Got a stain? Give it a little pre-treatment pep talk with some mild detergent.

  • Flip and Reverse: Turn that bag inside out. It's like its own little protective bubble.

  • Gentle Swirls: Set your machine to the gentlest cycle. Cold water keeps the colors popping!

  • Party of One: Don't overcrowd the machine. Your tote needs its space to groove.

  • Sun's Out, Totes Out: Skip the dryer and let your bag sunbathe. It's all about that natural drying glow. If it's the middle of winter and sun is but a distant memory, you can hang your tote up to dry inside.

Your Totes Will Thank You For It!

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, our trusty tote bags stand as reliable companions, carrying our essentials and adding a touch of personal style. But, like any companion, they deserve a little TLC to keep them in tip-top shape. To ensure your tote bags stay fresh and functional, it's crucial to know how to wash and care for them properly. Whether you have a rugged canvas adventurer or a delicate silk diva in your collection, each tote deserves a specific approach. Remember to empty those hidden treasures, treat stains with care, and use the right washing method for your tote's material. And when it's time for that well-deserved spa day, follow our guide to pamper your tote back to its best self. Keep your tote bags looking their finest so they can continue to be your ultimate MVPs. For more tips and tricks on tote bag care and customization, be sure to check out our guide on creating custom tote bags.

Statistics from: Bag the Ban

Tote-ally burning questions you might have:

How do I keep my tote from turning into a science experiment?

Give it its own space, preferably hanging out in a cool, dry spot. No damp corners, please!

My tote smells like my lunch from three weeks ago. Help?

Baking soda to the rescue! Let it party inside overnight, then shake it off. Fresh as a daisy!

Can my lunch cooler tote take a wash?

Some can, but always check the VIP list (aka the care label). If not, a gentle wipe-down works wonders.

New tote, who dis? Should I wash it?

Absolutely! Give it a fresh start. First impressions matter, after all.

Will my tote play the shrinking game?

Natural fiber totes might get a tad cozier with heat. Air drying keeps them in shape.

Rain check: Can canvas totes handle a drizzle?

They sure can! But if they get drenched, dry them out properly. No one likes a soggy tote.


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