How To Wash A Backpack

We use a backpack to protect and safely carry gears and equipment, not the other way around. That’s why it’s your backpack that takes most of the tortures in the outdoors. It has to cope with dirt, tree branches, and sharp stones. Other than that, moisture and UV rays take their toll on your bag. The way to lengthen your backpack’s lifespan is to clean it regularly.

Most of the time, a simple wiping will do. But there comes a time when your backpack needs a proper washing. If you know how to clean a backpack properly, you can finish the process without any tear or harming the fabric.

How To Clean A Backpack​

A backpack can be washed in two ways, depending on the fabric of the bag. Most of the bags can be washed in the washing machine. Some bags need hand cleaning to get the desired result without harming the fabric. In this guide, we will be discussing both methods extensively.

Disinfect Your Backpack​

​Some backpacks might need a more serious cleaning than just washing them with soap water. For example, if you store your sweaty clothes or socks in your backpack for several days (happens all the time for gym backpacks), then you need to disinfect it first to avoid getting any bacterial infection.

You can do it using phenolic disinfect or pine oil. Both are effective with warm water. For pine oil disinfect, the product must contain at least 80% pine oil. Phenolic disinfects like Lysol also works wonder on backpacks.

Washing A Backpack By Hands​

Washing by hands is a better idea if your bag contains any specific, tough stain. Let’s see how you do it-​

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    First of all, empty your backpack completely. Flip your backpack inside out and then use a small vacuum to clean even the farthest corner of your backpack. Empty the pockets and leave them unzipped.
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    Put the things inside your backpack in a plastic bag, so that you can easily find them later. If there is any object that is dusty or dirty, clean them beforehand. Because you don’t want to put dirty things again just after washing your backpack.
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    Use a brush or simply your hands to brush off external dust and dirt. Take a damp cloth or sponge and slowly wipe the outer surface of your bag. That will clean the visible dirt and prevent your cleaning water from being saturated with dirt.
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    Read the label that comes with the backpack beforehand. Generally, the label comes attached with the main zipper line. Read the instruction about how the bag should be cleaned, if there is any prohibition on certain chemicals which might damage the bag. If there is no label, test by washing a portion of backpack first to see how it reacts.
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    Before a thorough washing, address the toughest stains, if there’s any. There are several ways. You can either dip the portion into the detergent water for 30 minutes. Or, you can apply some toothpaste on the stain and let it dry, it works wonder!
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    Take a big boule and fill it with slightly warm water. Make sure that the bowl is not too narrow to wash the backpack easily. Put some gentle detergent on the water. Avoid putting any harsh chemical that might affect the fabric. Make sure the detergent is free of harmful color or odor. Wash the pockets and the fabric properly, you can use a soft brush for that.
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    Rinse the backpack into clean water. Let dry the backpack into a dryer. If you can hang it under the sun, even better. Sunlight helps the backpack become odor-free. Make sure you let the bag dry completely, or else, bacteria can grow on the damp cloth and emit an unpleasant odor.

Read More: Where To Buy Luggage

Washing A Backpack By Washing Machine

Backpacks are washed by using the washing machine in most cases. That doesn’t mean it’s an easy process. Because, if you do it wrong, you might end up ruining your backpack. Let’s see how it works.

1. The mentioned before, flip the backpack upside down and use a small vacuum cleaner tip to remove dirt and dust from the toughest corners. Like before, put your belongings in a plastic bag. If any of them is dirty, clean it beforehand.

2. Before putting your backpack on the machine, there are some steps. First, clean the external dirt by your hands as much as you can and wipe the outside with a damp sponge or cloth.Then, remove and metal part that is detachable from the bag. Do not forget removable pockets and pouches. You do not want them to get caught in the machine and cause damage. If you see and loose threads near a zipper, cut them.

3. Like stated before in hand washing part, read the labels for any restricted action or chemical. Pre-treat any tough stain separately with detergent water.

4. Put gentle detergent and necessary water on the washing machine. Avoid using rough detergents. Most of the backpacks are made of nylon or canvas, which makes it safe to wash the using washing machine.

5. One of the main cautions is not letting the zippers caught in the washing machine. To do that, follow one of the methods. Either turn the bag inside out so that the zippers stay inside. Or you can use a laundry bag and put the bag inside the laundry bag. The laundry bag keeps the backpack from coming in direct contact with the washing machine.

6. Let the bag dry by hanging it outside in the sun or in a dryer. Let it dry completely so that it becomes odorless. You don’t want your bag to remain damp and become a breeding ground of bacteria, right?

Final conclusion about how to wash a backpack

If you wanted to know how to wash a backpack the right way, we hope think guide helped you. Cleaning your backpack isn’t something you have to do often, perhaps once in 2-3 months. Doing it properly will give you a feel like you’re using a new one. Skipping the steps might ruin the bag or at least, decay the fabric.

That’s why, take your time and if you need to, read this guide again when you decide to wash your bag. We assure you, after the first time, you’ll be an expert on this.

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