How to Wash a Backpack

How Do You Clean a Backpack without Damaging it?

Taking care of your backpack is essential to make sure it lasts and stays in good shape. Learning how to wash a backpack is an important skill, especially if you use it often for things like hiking, school, or travel.

How to Wash a Backpack

Investing in a quality backpack is a wise decision, but regular use necessitates proper care and occasional washing

Fabric backpacks, whether machine or hand-washed, can be effectively cleaned with heavy-duty laundry detergent and warm water when following the correct technique.

Continue reading for detailed cleaning instructions, as well as drying these bags for students, hikers, and anyone who favors them for carrying their belongings.

How to  Wash a Backpack in the Washer

Washing a backpack in the washer can be a convenient way to clean it, especially if the care instructions allow for machine washing. Here’s how to go about it:

What you’ll need:

  • Mild detergent
  • Sponge or washcloth and soft-bristled cleaning brush 
  • Pillowcase or laundry bag
  • Old towels
  • Vacuum

1. Empty the Backpack

Take everything out of the backpack and shake off any visible dirt. Make sure to open all the pockets and leave them unzipped. 

Use a brush or a vacuum to clean out any crumbs or dirt from both the inside and outside of the backpack. 

If there are any metal frames, detachable straps, or hip belts, take them off.

2. Check the Care Label Before Washing

Check inside your backpack for a label with care instructions. It’s usually tucked away in a hidden spot. 

This label gives you important info on how to clean your backpack the right way. 

Just follow the directions to make sure you clean it well without messing up the material.

3. Deal with Stains One by One

If you see any stains on your backpack, grab a teaspoon of detergent and mix it with lukewarm water. 

Take a soft brush or sponge, dip it in the soapy water, and gently clean the stains. Go easy to avoid damaging the fabric. 

This helps target and remove specific spots, making your backpack look fresh and clean.

4. Safely Wash Your Backpack in the Machine

Before tossing your backpack in the washer, check for any loose threads around the zippers and trim them. 

To avoid straps or zippers getting tangled, put your backpack inside a pillowcase or a laundry bag. This extra step helps protect the backpack during the wash. 

Add a bit of mild detergent and use the gentle cycle on your washing machine. This ensures a thorough yet gentle cleaning process for your backpack.

5. Let Your Backpack Air Dry

Once the washing is done, use an old towel to gently pat away any extra moisture from your backpack. 

Then, find a good spot to hang it up and let it air dry. Avoid using the dryer, as the heat can harm the fabric and any accessories, like zipper pulls, on your backpack.

Just let it dry naturally for the best results.

How to Wash a Backpack by Hand

How to Wash a Backpack

Washing a backpack by hand is a simple process that can help keep it clean and fresh. The steps below will show you how to:

What you’ll need:

  • Soft scrubbing brush or old toothbrush
  • Sink, Tub, or Basin
  • Washcloth or sponge
  • Towel
  • Vacuum

1. Clear the Backpack

Make sure your backpack is empty before washing. Take everything out, as you don’t want anything in there that might get damaged by water. 

Turn your backpack inside out and use a small vacuum to clean those tricky interior corners where dirt and tiny particles might hide.

Once you’ve emptied it, leave all the pockets unzipped for the next steps.

2. Get  the Backpack Ready

First, use your hands to brush off any loose dirt or dust from the outside of your backpack. 

Then, take a damp cloth and gently wipe down the exterior. 

This helps remove the big, visible dirt, making sure the water you use for cleaning stays as clean as possible.

3. Look at the Care Label

Take a peek inside your backpack to find the care label, usually tucked along a side seam in the main zipper compartment. 

This little tag provides important info on how to wash and dry your bag without causing harm. 

If you follow these instructions, you’ll keep your backpack in good shape and make it last longer.

4. Deal with Stains

If you see any stains on your backpack, grab your favorite stain remover and apply it directly to the dirty spots. 

Take a soft brush, like an old toothbrush, and gently scrub away the stain residue. Allow the treatment to remain for a maximum of 30 minutes.

When you wash the bag later, most of the stain should come off easily.

5. Get a Big Tub or Sink Ready

Find a large sink or bathtub, or even a laundry basin or sink. 

Fill it up with lukewarm water. Make sure there’s enough space to give your backpack a thorough wash, getting into all the pockets and sections. 

This ensures a good cleaning for every part of your bag.

6. Use a Mild Soap   

Choose a mild detergent that’s free of dyes, fragrances, and harsh chemicals. 

This is important because strong chemicals can harm the fabric of your backpack, especially the waterproof layers. Fragrances and dyes might also be irritating to your skin. 

So, go for a gentle cleanser to keep your backpack happy and your skin comfortable.

7. Scrub Away with Care

Now, it’s time to either dunk your entire backpack into the soapy water or use the water to wet your scrub brush or cleaning rag. 

A brush is excellent for those extra-dirty spots, while a rag is perfect for giving your whole bag a good, general cleaning. 

Get into all the nooks and crannies to make sure your backpack comes out looking fresh and clean.

8. Rinse the Backpack

It’s time for a refreshing rinse after you’ve finished cleaning.

Wash your backpack thoroughly with lukewarm water to remove any soap or detergent residue.

This step is important because it ensures that no soapy residue remains on the fabric, keeping your backpack clean.

9. Dry your backpack

After cleaning, let your backpack air dry instead of using a drying machine. If you can, hang it upside down with the pockets open while it dries. 

Another option is to let it dry outside in the sun. That will also help get rid of any odors. 

Just give it some time and fresh air to dry naturally, and your backpack will be ready for action again.

Can a Backpack be Dry Cleaned?

No, dry cleaning isn’t suitable for most backpacks. According to experts, it’s not a good idea to take expensive or specialized backpacks, like leather or high-end hiking bags, to a dry cleaner. 

Dry cleaners use strong chemicals that can harm the fabric or padding of the bag. It’s better to hand wash these kinds of backpacks to keep them in good condition.

For regular backpacks, those that aren’t high-end or made of specialty materials, you can use a washing machine to clean them easily. 

This way, you can avoid the expensive bill that comes with dry cleaning. Stick to hand washing for the fancier backpacks to make sure they last longer and stay in top shape.

How Often Do You Clean Your Backpack?

How to Wash a Backpack

Even if it doesn’t look too dirty, it’s a good idea to wash it once or twice a year. 

Your backpack picks up dust and dirt whenever you put it down, and the straps absorb sweat and oils from your skin. 

Accidents can also happen, like spills or stains. While it’s good to clean up spills and throw away trash as needed, you’ll notice when your reliable backpack is due for a thorough cleaning.

Keeping your backpack clean is important for making it last longer and smell better. 

Now that you know how to wash it, make it a habit to clean it regularly. 

This simple routine will help your backpack stay in good shape and be there for all your future adventures.

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