How To Clean Your L.L.Bean Boat and Tote Bags


How To Clean Your L.L.Bean Boat and Tote Bags

In today's post I'll be sharing how to clean your L.L.Bean Boat and Tote bags just in time for the busy fall and holiday season!

I first wrote about this last year, Cleaning Your L.L.Bean Boat and Totes which has been my most popular post to date! It also is the post that generated the most amount of emails and comments on social media (comments are closed on this blog thanks to some spammers that I'm having a heck of a time blocking. Always feel free to email me at with any questions or comments)

I've learned a lot in the last year from you and wanted to share your tips! We bought a trailer this year and have spent the summer exploring Ontario. Our L.L.Bean Boat and Totes have been with us every step of the way, which means they've gotten dirty. I've tested out these tips you sent and they work! 

My bags are many years old and have done everything from carrying bed linens to food, to even a dog! And they still look great! So grab you Boat and Totes and let's get cleaning!

How To Clean Your L.L.Bean Boat and Tote Bags

Spot cleaning is recommended by L.L.Bean. Using a mild detergent and a colour safe rag or sponge (one that won't transfer any dye/colour) wipe away the stain. This works really well when your bag is new and the stains are minor.

bernese dog in l.l.bean boat and tote

But imagine you have little puppy and she decides that she's going to jump up on your while eating chocolate ice cream. It falls on the ground, she steps on it and then somehow manages to get a big chocolatey paw print on your canvas bag. Yes, this happened in real life. A quick rub of a cloth is not going to be enough here. For any major stains, I recommend treating the stain with a stain remover. My all time favourite is Buncha Farmers stain remover. I wrote a post about this Canadian product four years ago and it's still my daily go-to. 

After applying a stain remover, let sit overnight. Rinse under running water and lightly rub with a cloth, if necessary. Air dry. 

Vacuuming is the fastest way to clean the interior of your bags. Using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum, run the wand over the bag. But what if you don't have a vacuum with a hose/wand? Flip the big inside out, lay flat and using a damp rag wipe away any hair and crumbs. Flip the bag right side in and let dry. 

Washing Machine When I want my L.L.Bean Boat and Totes sparkling clean for the holidays, I pop them in the washing machine. You read that right! I have washed my Boat and Totes twice in the washer and they are clean and bright! 

How To Clean Your L.L.Bean Boat and Tote Bags

The steps are simple. Wash alone with your favourite detergent on regular cycle in warm or cool water (hot will shrink the canvas). Reshape and lay flat to dry, or stuff with clean towels to dry upright. If there are any creases (mine had a large one near the monogram) you can iron that out.

My red tote has done really well in the wash. No fading of the red at all. My navy one on the other hand, there has been a little fading. It looks like it's been well used and loved, and I'm really ok with that look. I have four different colours, two red ones, one black, a navy and a green, and only the navy colour has faded. 

And last on the list of How To Clean Your L.L.Bean Boat and Tote Bags...a quick fabric refresh with some good ol' fashion Febreze. Turns out carting farm fresh produce and a host of other items can smell up your bag! A quick spritz, and then air dry and you're good to use again and again and again! 

And now that we know how to clean them, we can start adding more into the mix (because why not?) I've got my eye on the new camo boat and tote (camo is chic this fall!) or one of the new high bottom boat and totes! I'll include images below so you can see what's new this fall! 

camo boat and tote

Birdseye high bottom boat and tote

fall l.l.bean boat and tote

buffalo check fall l.l.bean boat and tote