#1 Cotton Duck is cool, but #4 is way cooler.  Big Duck Canvas offers both, but we recommend #4 far more because of all the available width options from 24″ up to 120″ and many in between.


I have personally used #4 for my own projects more than any of our other products.   The double filled cotton absorbs dye really well and dries very quickly.  For home decor projects it can be used to make beautiful floor cloths, place mats & self standing storage containers.  It is also ideal for tool pouches, heavy tote bags, and industrial bins.  My experience with this fabric is based on making dyed floor cloths and tote bags.


An industrial sewing machine is required for sure.  I typically use tex 69 bonded nylon thread on all of my projects and it works great on the #4.


For cleaning and care I have tried several methods with some good luck.  It is heavy, stiff and dries fairly fast.  When you get your #4 it will be pressed smooth and wrinkle free.  The fabric is cotton, so your laundry detergent is fine to use for either cleaning method described below.

Hand Washing – To avoid wrinkles and the headache of wrinkles clean your #4 on a flat clean surface outside like a driveway, or walkway. Spray it down with a hose and use a scrub brush. Rinse out any soap and drag the fabric to another dry flat surface to dry in the sun.  It dries pretty quickly and will remain smooth and flat.  Hand washing is definitely easier and faster if you have a good place you can do it.  This method is a must for wide widths up to 120″.

Machine Washing –  I wash #4 floor cloths in the washing machine on a regular basis.  Since the canvas is very heavy I always do at least two cycles.  One cycle is almost pointless.  I move the canvas into a different position for the second cycle.  When you take the canvas out it will look permanently disformed in a folded mess!  Don’t panic.  Lay some towels down on the floor and smooth out your #4 as best you can with your hands and clean feet.  I use my feet a lot to get it as flat as I can and then lay towels over it. As you walk or stomp over the damp canvas will become flat and dry.  The more traffic over the surface the smoother it will get.  Be patient, it just doesn’t happen overnight. The towels on top aren’t necessary unless you are worried about it getting dirty again.  I have experimented with weights on top too with about the same result as foot traffic.

Ironing-  It is only natural to try to iron wrinkles.  A high pressure steam iron is a bit helpful, but for stiff wrinkles in #4 canvas, sustained pressure on a damp surface is best.

If you have any questions about your specific project please let me know!

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One comment on “#4 Cotton Duck : Cleaning, Wrinkles,and Project Ideas for One of our Heaviest Fabrics

  • Alice Ryan

    Washing cotton duck with water is a particularly bad idea unless you know for a fact the fabric was pre-washed before it was used to create the item you are washing. If it was not pre-shrunk, then it is going to shrink, and it is very seldom pre-shrunk when used for upholstery.

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