How to wash a backpack updated guide step by step

How to wash a backpack updated guide step by step

Do you ever wonder about washing your backpack? When you think of cleaning your bag, what method comes across your mind? Hand wash or machine?

Thus, whatever method you choose, you need to have complete information about it, so you will not ruin your backpack while washing it. Let’s begin with how to wash a backpack.

These days backpacks are comprehensive and very expensive. An ergonomic backpack is a good choice, and you need to clean bags diligently.

Follow simple, easy steps and the best way to wash a backpack.

How To Wash A Backpack
Image Credit By Matein

According to Grow by webMD “Many backpacks or school bags will come with instructions on washing and should be followed,” says Paul Horowitz, MD, the medical director of Pediatric Clinics at Legacy Health System in Portland, Ore. “Disinfecting wipes work really well for nonporous surfaces like lunchboxes.”

We are talking about anything from dusty to highly smelly. You can spill apple juice, neglected bananas, exploding pencils, sweaty clothes, and footwear. In these situations, you must know that cleaning backpacks are essential.

Of course, the best method to avoid a filthy or smelly bag is to keep it clean: remove any food waste or leftover lunch as soon as you return home, and gently wipe stains with a mild detergent as soon as you detect them. To avoid mold, wipe the bag down regularly and keep the interior dry.

Few things you need before washing your backpack:

A gentle soap without chemicals or harmful ingredients. Castile soap, as well as a wash solution designed specifically for technical packs and clothes, will work.

Sponge or washcloth that is clean. Nylon-bristled brush with such a soft (not hard) bristle or a used toothbrush.

Using this method, you can wash any kind of backpack.

How to wash a backpack in washing machine

Is it possible to wash a backpack in washing machine?  Yes, but It depends on the material, but most nylon or canvas backpacks m in the washing machine. If the bag features leather trim, do not wash it in the washing machine.

However, cleaning your backpack is essential, so the line dries your bag after washing because it would be the best thing; otherwise, tumble drying would damage the corners.

How to wash a backpack in washing machine
Image Credit By Good Housekeeping

Step 1: Clear your backpack:

Remove everything from pockets and compartments, like; travel bag with hidden compartments, a backpack with water bottle pockets, and carefully, leaving pockets unzipped. 

Brush away dust and buildup on the outside of the bag and shake it off to remove any dirt.

You may also use a vacuum attachment to clean the inside and outside. You should remove all metal structural things and detachable belts.

Step 2: Follow the instructions:

Generally, care labels are inside the bag, and you should read all recommendations and try to follow them. If there is no label, test the fabric with roughly a quarter teaspoon of detergent in a less visible area beforehand to prevent damage or fading.

Step 3: identify the stains:  

Gently remove any visible stains using a teaspoon of detergent combined with lukewarm water and a sponge or soft-bristled brush.

Step 4: Wash backpack with moderate cycle:

Remove any stray threads from around the zippers. Straps or zippers are usually stuck together or sometimes stuck in the machine. So, for a safer side, put it inside a pillowcase or laundry bag. Run a gentle cycle with a bit of mild detergent.

Step 5: Allow airing dry

When the wash cycle has finished, simply wipe away any extra moisture with an old towel before hanging the bag to air dry. Never put a backpack in the laundry since the heat might ruin the fabric and zipper pulls.

How to wash a backpack by hand

Washing by hand is the best choice to clean backpacks. Some bags have protective coatings which may break down while washing in the washing machine.

If you have a leather bag or leather trims or iron, you must opt for handwashing.

Step 1: Brush off visible dust

Remove all your stuff from the backpack and unzip all pockets. Clean the dust with a dry cloth. Remove all accessories and extra straps.

Step 2: Care instructions

All backpacks come along with a care label. Before washing your bag, you must read the label given. This way, you will avoid possible damage.

Step 3: Stains

Dip your backpack in lukewarm water and a small amount of detergent, use a soft-bristled brush to wash stains. 

Step 4: Gently wash in lukewarm water

Fill a tub, sink, or colossal basin using lukewarm water and a spoonful of mild detergent. If it has enough space, dip the backpack in the water. 

Using a sponge or rag, scrub the interior and exterior of the backpack. Scrub the zippers with an old toothbrush to remove any residue.

Step 5: Rinse and dry

If the backpack has soaked in the basin quickly, drain the soapy water and rinse thoroughly with clean, cold water. If you just used a sponge or towel to clean it without immersing it, immerse the sponge in clean water and wipe the bag clean. 

After carefully putting away extra wet with an old towel, hang the bag to air dry.  Do not put it in the sun as it will damage the fabric and zippers.

How to wash a backpack in the washer

Empty your backpack and keep your stuff in a plastic bag, ensuring every compartment is empty. Choose a pillow cover afterward to save your fabric.

You can also use a soft bristles brush to shake off the dust without damaging the fabric. Remove all metal accessories inside your backpack: unzipped pockets and all detachable straps.

Use lukewarm water and delicate detergent to wash out hard stains and let your backpack sit for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Fill your washer up to ¾ with lukewarm water because hot water can damage your fabric. You should occasionally turn your backpack inside-out and wash the interior part of it as well.

Drain the dirty water and rinse your bag thoroughly and wring it out best. Use a thick towel to dry it and drain the excess water.

Put your bag in the open air. Leave all zippers hanging upside down. If you let it dry outdoors, this way, you will prevent a foul smell.

If summarize it has four essential steps to wash your backpack with a washer are:

Step 1:

Place the backpack in a laundry sack, or you can use an old pillowcase. 

Step 2:

As the machine fills with water, add a little quantity of mild detergent.

Step 3:

Use the delicate cycle in the machine to wash the backpack in cold or lukewarm water.

Step 4:

Let it dry in the air.

Backpack Care Tips

If you want to use your backpack for a long time, take good care of it. Do people often ask one more question about cleaning backpacks and how to wear a backpack properly? Here are a few tips to carry and take care of your backpack:

Keep away from water:

If you keep your backpack away from the water, there might be less chance of getting mold. Choose bags that rain off the water and keep them dry. 

Carefully pack

Pack anything that may tear the bag’s material, such as tent pegs, poles, knives, and even sharp edges on boxes, in such a manner that they won’t pierce the fabric. 

Carefully stack things against other objects to prevent movement or stuff them into softer objects such as clothes.

Smart use 

Some people think that backpacks are for rough use, yes you can say that, but if you are careful, you will save them for more prolonged use. Usually, people ask What size backpack for traveling would be best? Size depends on your usage; women going on hiking should select a hiking backpack for petite females

Thorough cleaning

You can use a particular cleaning matter to clean your bag, clear the pockets, shake off dust with a dry piece of cloth.

Afterward, use a damp towel with a hint of detergent in it and rub it all over your backpack gently.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I put my backpack in a washing machine?

Yes, you can put it in the washing machine. Choose lukewarm or cold water with a bit of detergent. You can use a pillow cover to save your bag from damage and let it hang in the air afterward.

How to clean a backpack?

Wash your backpack with lukewarm water and delicate detergent. Use a pillowcase if you are washing it in a washing machine.

How should I wash my backpack by hand?

Dipped the stained part of your backpack with detergent in the water and rubbed it with a toothbrush or a soft-bristled brush. Rinse it and let it dry in the air.


So, can you wash a backpack? The answer to this question is Yes, but you should be careful.

Choose the right way to wash your backpack according to the material and its function. Use normal water with a bit of mild washing powder. Remove it from the laundry bag, do not put it in the dryer. It will ruin the fabric.

Let it dry naturally. Hang it upside down, and ensure that the bag is 100% dry before using it. Otherwise, it will cause an awful smell.

Hopefully, this article will fulfill all your queries regarding how to wash a backpack.

Mark Betts
Let me introduce myself. Just call me Mark, I am a traveler by profession. I created BackpackUnion to give people a better view of the Backpack, Bags, and Luggage products before they make such an important purchase. Read Full Bio - Email