Can You Wash a Backpack? Ultimate Backpack Washing Guide
Backpacks can get grimy quickly, holding papers, food and supplies on the inside and exposed to dirt, grime and the elements on the outside. Let’s get ready for back to school with a look at the best ways to wash backpacks and answer some frequently asked questions about backpack care and maintenance.
How to Wash a Backpack
How to clean a backpack without washing it.
This is an important question because the care instructions for most backpacks only recommend spot cleaning.
How to Spot Clean a Backpack
1. Step One: Empty and shake out the backpack.
Vacuum and brush it off if you still see any debree around.
2. Step Two: Remove any detachable parts
Frames and straps should be washed separately, if possible.
3. Step Three: Pre-treat stains.
Do it just as you would for clothing. Let the treated bag sit for a half hour.
4. Step Four: Soak it in a sink or tub.
Fill the container with cool to warm water – not hot.
Add whatever gentle detergent you normally use to hand wash delicate apparel.
It should not contain harsh chemicals or dyes.
5. Step Five: Scrub it out.
Use your choice of sponges, rags, brushes and even toothbrushes to scrub the inside and outside.
6. Step Six: Rinse the backpack in lukewarm water.
7. Step Seven: Remove excess water from the bag.
Wring it out and/or roll it in a dry towel.
8. Step Eight: Air-Dry the Backpack.
With all compartments opened, hang the backpack up upside down.
Can you wash a backpack?
Washing a bag against label is still better than throwing it away!
How to Hand Wash a Backpack
- Empty, shake out, vacuum and brush off as above.
- Remove any detachable parts like frames and straps to wash separately.
- Pre-treat stains just as you would for clothing. Let the treated bag sit for a half hour.
- Fill a sink or tub with cool to warm water – not hot.
- Add whatever gentle detergent you normally use to hand wash delicate apparel. It should not contain harsh chemicals or dyes.
- Submerge the backpack and use your choice of sponges, rags, brushes and even toothbrushes to scrub the inside and outside.
- Rinse the backpack in lukewarm water.
- Remove excess water from the bag by wringing it out and/or rolling it in a dry towel.
- With all compartments opened, hang the backpack up upside down to air dry.
Can you wash a backpack in the washing machine?
How to Machine Wash a Backpack
- Empty, shake out, vacuum, and brush off your backpack.
- Pre-treat stains just as you would when washing by hand.
- Detach removable parts. Any parts that are made of fabric and can be cleaned should be unzipped and put into a mesh bag for laundering, so that they don’t get stuck in the machine.
- Cut away any loose threads, especially around zippers, to prevent them from getting caught on your machine’s parts and causing rips, snags, and fraying.
- Either turn the backpack inside out, or place it inside a pillowcase or laundry bag, to further prevent catching and snagging inside the washing machine.
- Use the gentlest detergent you can find, and wash on the gentle (delicate) cycle in cold to warm water (not hot).
- During the spin cycle, check frequently to see if the backpack has bunched up. If it has, spread it out again, place it back in the machine, and continue the cycle. This will prevent your washing machine from becoming unbalanced.
- With all compartments open, hang up upside down to air dry.
How to Dry a Backpack
- Hang up upside down, with all compartments open, and air dry, either inside from a towel rack or shower curtain rod or outside on a clothesline.
- Can you put a backpack in the dryer?
- We hate to say no, but its not the best idea. A backpack is typically made of synthetic fabric and parts that may be damaged by heat and by repeatedly hitting the sides of the dryer. It an also cause shrinkage of the fabric. In a worst-case scenario, it can even cause a fire to break out!
- If you decide to tumble dry your backpack, put it inside a pillowcase first to protect it and use the coolest possible temperature setting.
Wipe Clean Backpacks for Easy Cleaning
PVC Plastic Backpacks
Clear plastic backpacks were developed as a security measure because they are transparent, and any weapons or other forbidden items inside can easily be seen and removed from the premises. They are also great options for easy cleaning, as they can be wiped clean with any common disinfecting household spray cleaner daily, suffering no wear, tear or damage.