How to Scour Cotton Canvas Fabric (Cellulose Fibres)

What is Scouring?

Scouring fabric removes all the grease, dirt and waxes accumulated during the manufacturing process. It effectively strips the fabric clean rendering it more lightweight and more receptive to further treatment. For instance, we scour our fabrics before we wax them and also before we dye them in an indigo vat.

Video tutorial

open video on PeerTube

You can also watch it on YouTube.

Types of fabrics

In the world of fabrics and yarns, there are two categories with drastically different characteristics – those with cellulose fibres and those with protein (animal) fibres. Cellulose fibres are plant derived, such as cotton, linen and hemp. Whereas protein fibres are from animals, such as wool and silk. They require different handling techniques when it comes to washing, ironing and of course scouring. We only use cellulose fibres in our household as we believe in not using animals for clothing so we will not be covering protein fibre scouring.

What you need to scour cellulose fibre fabrics

Steps to Scour Cellulose Fibre Fabric

  1. Prepare the fabric – measure, cut and overlock the edges
multiple edges of fabric are overlocked to stop them from fraying
overlock fraying edges
  1. Gather all other the tools and materials – read our other posts on how to make liquid soap and washing soda at home!
Tools needed for scouring fabric, liquid soap, washing soda, stainless steel spoom, pot with water
  1. Fill pot with water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Put in 1 tablespoon of washing soda and 1 tablespoon of liquid soap per 3 litres of water. Stir to dissolve.
  3. Drop fabrics into pot.
  4. Let it simmer for at least 15 minutes, stir occasionally.
  5. The water will turn anything from a light brown to a dark reddish brown to a yellowish colour. That’s all the gunk coming out of the fabric! If your fabric has been bleached before, the scouring liquid may not be very coloured.
Scouring canvas gif
  1. Once the colour of water is not changing any more or after simmering for 10 minutes to 1 hour, you can drain the water and rinse the fabrics with water.

You have successfully scoured the fabrics!

Hand dry fabric after scouring, before waxing

Thank you for reading this tutorial!❤️☀️