Backpacks are used from everything to carrying lunches with a bag of weed in the side compartment to gym clothes complete with smelly sweaty shoes and socks. They can get dirty fast, not to mention smelling bad. You should clean it regularly to extend the life. If you’re wondering how to clean your backpack the right way, you can do it two ways. By hand and in the washing machine. Here are the complete instructions to keep your backpack safe from damage while cleaning it inside and out.
You should clean your backpack weekly by wiping it down. Empty all the contents and wipe out each compartment with a damp soft cleaning rag. Allow it to air dry in a well-ventilated place before putting the contents back inside. This is just the maintenance part that removes all dust, crumbs and other forms of small debris.
Aside from regular maintenance, there are times when your backpack will need a good deep cleaning. We’re going to show you how to do it two ways. You can either do the task by hand or in the washing machine. It’s important to follow the steps recommended to make sure that the backpack does not tear or fray at the fabric or seams.
Hand washing your backpack
Hand washing your backpack takes more time and effort, but its the safest way and it’s also better for removing stubborn stains. Before you begin, you’ll need a few simple supplies. Have ready a large basin, access to running water, mild detergent, a soft sponge, a stain stick and a soft scrub brush and toothbrush.
1. Empty all contents from the pack including the zippered compartments. If there is debris inside, either shake it out or use a vacuum attachment to remove it. The best way to make sure you get it all is to turn the backpack inside out first, doing the same for the pockets.
2. Clean the contents of the bag that you will put back in later and set them aside in a plastic bag to keep them clean. Putting dirty things back into the bag right after you clean it defeats your purpose. This will help to keep your backpack clean for longer.
3. Read the label that is attached to your backpack if there is one, and if there are any special cleaning instructions, follow them. If not, proceed on to the next steps.
4. Turn your backpack right side out and brush the exterior to remove dust you can’t see. Do this after you’ve thoroughly wiped down the inside of the bag.
5. Soak a soft sponge in warm soapy water and squeeze out the excess until it is damp. Slowly wipe the entire outside surface off the bag. You may want to test a small section on the back first to see how it reacts to the cleaner.
6. If there are any stains on the bag, treat them before proceeding. You can either use a stain stick, apply toothpaste and let it dry, then brush away or soak the area in detergent water for 30 minutes.
7. Fill a basin with warm water. It should be large enough to immerse the backpack fully. A kitchen sink may also work well. Use mild detergent in the water. Wash the fabric and the pockets with a small soft brush, scrubbing gently to avoid damaging the fabric. A toothbrush will get into the more hard-to-reach areas best. Every part of the backpack should be soaked with the warm soapy water and it’s a good idea to allow it to sit in the water for a few minutes prior to scrubbing to loosen any hidden dirt or grime. This can also help to soak out any odors that may be lingering inside seams and other hard-to-reach places.
8. After cleaning every part of the backpack, empty the basin and refill with clear and clean water. Rinse the backpack gently to remove all the detergent and loosened dirt. When finished, it’s time for drying. There are two ways to do this. You can either dry it in a gentle cycle in your dryer or hang it outside to air dry naturally. If it’s a warm day and there’s a little breeze, it won’t take long. Make sure that your backpack is completely dry before using to avoid mold and mildew growth.
Machine Washing your Backpack
If the instructions on your backpack do not prohibit machine washing, set the washing machine on a gentle cycle. Turn the bag inside out to help protect the zippers from snagging in the machine. Run the backpack by itself or with another backpack through the machine with the appropriate amount of gentle laundry soap. After the cycles are finished, either hang to air dry or dry in your clothes dryer.
Disinfecting your backpack
Every once in a while you should also disinfect your backpack, especially if you use it to carry dirty laundry of any type. This can prevent the development of potentially harmful bacteria. There are two ways you can do this. The first is to make a solution of warm water and a product that contains 80% pine oil. Wipe the inside and the outside with a damp sponge containing this solution and allow to dry completely. The second way to disinfect your backpack is to spray it down inside and out with a disinfectant that contains phenol, such as Lysol. Remove all contents prior to disinfecting and let the backpack dry completely before using or storing.
[pullquote align=”normal”]Suggested Read: Check Out Our Recommendations on Best Smell Proof Backpacks[/pullquote]