How to wash a backpack: What you should do and what not

Do you need to give your backpack a bath? You may be asking how to clean a backpack. Although cleanliness is the best way to keep it clean, it’s not always on our priority list. As we face each day, our beloved cargo carriers serve as our trusted sidekicks. These cargo carriers have been used to store sweaty workout clothes, snacks and even traveled around the globe. For a bag to last a long time, it is worth doing a deep clean once in ten years. You will only need a bit of elbow grease, some household supplies, and our step-by-step instructions. Continue reading to learn how to treat your backpack with the care it deserves.

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Three Steps to Clean Your Backpack

Before we get into the details of how to wash a backpack, it is important that you have all your ducks in order. These three steps will help you to cross your ts and dot your i before you start washing. These tips will make your cleaning process run like a well-oiled machine.

1. Get supplies

You’ll need some supplies before you can start cleaning. Good news! The good news is that you probably already have most of the household products that you’ll need. You will need a mild, non-bleach soap that is free from dyes and perfumes for sensitive skin. Fragrance-free cleansers are good for protecting the integrity of your soap by not masking any odors. The next step is to grab a sponge, a few washcloths and towels to dry. We recommend that you first place your washer in a laundry bag if you plan to use it. Are you lacking one? You can use a pillow case to do the job. Do you want to know how to clean your backpack yourself? Keep reading, we have the how-to’s and why’s for each.

2. Get ready for your backpack

Now it’s time for you to take everything out of your bag. Be prepared to be amazed at what you discover. You might have let creepy crawlies infest your food stash by forgetting to eat it. You might also find some loose change that you can stash in your wanderlust container. To stay organized, throw away all trash and put all other items into a separate container.

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Make sure to shake off any crumbs or dust from all compartments. For stubborn particles in difficult to reach corners, a lint roller and vacuum attachment are great options. Remove any metal frames or detachable straps. Cut all threads that are not needed and re-zip the zippers to prevent jamming or snagging. You’re done! Step 2 of how to wash backpacks is now complete.

3. Care Instructions

You’ll be one step ahead if you can find the care instructions label. They are usually found inside the backpack, along with a zipper (often in the main compartment). No luck? Do a test swatch in a discreet spot before you start the next stage of washing. If things go wrong, we recommend hiding the test in a pocket. To prevent any damage or discoloration, mix a small amount detergent with equal amounts of water. It is important to take this precaution when cleaning your backpack.

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How to wash a backpack in a washing machine

Not all backpacks are the same, just like clothes. Before you look for instructions on washing a backpack in the washer, make sure it is able to be washed. Most backpacks can be washed in a gentle cycle, and are made from nylon, canvas, or polyester. Pay attention to the straps and trims. You should pause if they are made of delicate materials like leather (we’ll get into that later). An alternative cleaning solution is recommended. Always read the care instructions label, and if it indicates that it’s machine-washable–you’re good to go. These are the steps to clean a backpack.

Machine wash on gentle cycle

The gentle cycle is the best option for washing a backpack in the washer. To prevent any straps from tangling or scratching inside the machine, secure them. These are where large laundry bags can come in handy. Secure the zipper if you are using a pillowcase. In a pinch, you can also turn the backpack upside down. While washing the backpack, try to minimize any impact.

You won’t need to use much detergent if you wash your backpack alone. Using detergent packs? You can just toss one in the wash and you are good to go. Concentrated powder detergents should be used at a tablespoon. Next, choose whether to run the delicate or gentle cycle. If the washing machine only indicates a wash/rinse, select cold/cold. To start, turn the knob and let the suds do their work.

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Can You Dry a Backpack?

While you wait for your backpack’s wash to complete, you may be asking, “Can you dry a backpack in the dryer?” Answer: No. Never. Like, ever. Tumble-drying is not a good option when you are researching the best ways to wash a backpack. Tumble drying can cause irreversible damage to your bag and reduce its integrity.