"I went to a festival, and now my bags are dirty."

How to tackle stains and dirt on our bags in natural colour way.

The natural collection of our bags and backpacks is often described as: 'beautiful, but not practical', mostly due to the fear of getting it dirty too quickly. But just as your favourite white canvas sneakers, our natural cotton canvas is possible to hand wash, all you need is an old toothbrush or a rag, soap and water.

Here's a detailed how-to.

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The Soap Choice:

 

Gall Soap

An old favourite for hand washing is often the gall soap. This choice will tackle all organic stains including blood, grass stains and soil. It's made of beef bile, which is often harvested as a by-product of the meat industry. The grandma's favourite (at least in this part of the Europe) gall soap is gaining back its popularity due to it being biodegradable, and that it will wash off virtually anything. 

Bile acts as a surfactant in the soap much like sodium dodecyl sulfate (aka SDS - an anionic surfactant used in many cleaning and hygiene products). The bulk of the soap is composed of lye - a metal hydroxide traditionally obtained by leaching ashes, or a strong alkali which is highly soluble in water. The gall improves the lye’s ability to break up grease and oils, thus better cleaning whatever it is you are washing. It also “tones down” the caustic effect of the lye in the soap a little. 
The gall soap is usually in a hard form or in flakes.

Pros:
  • will wash the seemingly unwashable
  • biodegradable
  • cheap and widely accessible


Cons:

  • not vegan

 

Castile Soap / Olive Oil Detergent

Our choice is the vegan soap made from plant oils. The olive oil-based soap can be found in liquid, hard or flaky form - all perfectly fine to wash the bags with. Named after the Castile region of Spain, this Mediterranean soap has gained popularity in the recent years due to it's truly multipurpose character, from laundry detergent, to dish soap to hair shampoo and body wash hugely marketed by the Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap. We also recommend pure olive soap - either in hard form or flakes.

Generally speaking, the effectiveness of Castile soap is due to its mild alkalinity (about the same as baking soda). The basic chemistry behind how it works is that Castile soap molecules have one end attracted to water and another that avoids it. When soap is combined with water, it creates free-floating charged atoms that attract and capture dirt and other types of non-water-soluble molecules.

Pros:

  • cruelty free
  • biodergradable and non-toxic
  • incredibly multipurposeful 


Cons:

  • in case of hard water, the soap in it's natural form (without additives) will not lather properly. Test your water using the water strips.
  • not too accessible in certain parts of the Europe

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How to wash it:

  1. Wet the dirty area of the bag in a sink or on a flat surface with a bit of water
  2. Mix a soapy paste in a little dish and apply it to your old toothbrush
  3. Brush the dirty area vigorously with the soapy paste
  4. Rinse thoroughly (not enough rinsing can cause staining of the fabric)
  5. Hang to dry

    What about throwing it in a washing machine?

    Our current collection is not safe to machine wash on the usual cycle which involves a spin cycle. This is due to the high speed spin which deforms the fabric. A gentle handwash cycle which has no spin cycle is safe and ok to use.

     

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    Will it stay waterproof?

    Long story short - yes, it will.


    Please note, that as with any natural fabric, the unbleached cotton canvas will develop its patina and character. It's not snow white, never was, and never will be. But this fantastic fabric will age gracefully if taken care of properly and will be your unique and faithful companion on and off the roads.

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