How to wash a backpack | Easy steps

All kinds of backpacks require special attention, but washing a backpack can be challenging. When you invest in a hiking backpack or other types, you want to ensure that it will last over time. Keeping the backpack clean not only will make it look good but also will protect it from breaking down into pieces. 

You know you’ll be using your backpack for many years, so it becomes important and necessary to learn how to wash a backpack in the right way. The good news is that you can wash your backpack, it’s easy to clean it, so it looks practically brand new again. 

In this article on Stage Marketplace, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to help extend the life of your precious belonging. 

Can you put a backpack in the washing machine? 

With most backpacks, the answer is YES! Most backpacks are made of nylon or canvas; they are safe to put in the washing machine. If the bag has leather trim, don’t use this method of washing.  

Salts from your sweat and oil from your skin on your shoulder straps and hip belt, grease spots from cooking splatters, food scraps in the pockets, and all kinds of dirt are inevitable, so it pays to know how to wash a backpack effectively.  

Although different backpacks with different materials require different cleaning methods, some general rules apply to every material. Here are all you need to know about how to wash a backpack in the washing machine. Read the following steps: 

Step 1: Check the care label.
All vital information about the material and the backpack’s care is on this label. It might tell you to never put in a washing machine, however, most backpacks can be washed in it. 

Step 2: Empty the backpack and prepare it to wash.
After you check the care label, make sure all the compartments are empty. Then turn it inside out. Use a vacuum cleaner to clean the food bits so they won’t also be washed. 

Tips: Some parts of backpacks need to be hand-washed, such as the metal frame. Thus, you must remove it because it will damage the washer or the backpack itself. 

Step 3: Machine wash with a gentle cycle. 

Place your backpack in a pillowcase or a laundry bag, and then place it in the washer. The machine should be set on its gentle cycle for better care during the cleaning. 

Step 4: Air dry
Finally, hang the backpack with open pockets and zippers and allow it to air dry. 


Can I wash a polyester backpack in the washing machine? 

Yes, you can put your polyester backpack in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with non-bleach detergent, because they are safe to was in a washing machine. But how do you wash a 100% polyester backpack? You need to follow the 4 steps mentioned before, plus pay attention to the care instruction to ensure your 100% polyester is washed safely: 

  • Do not overly dry polyester; it can cause shrinkage. To avoid any wrinkling, it’s safe to press polyester fabrics at a moderate temperature or use steam. 
  • The shortest, gentlest cycle and a cool/warm setting on your machine offers. 
  • You should avoid heat, not higher than 40ºC or 104ºF. 

How to wash a backpack by hand?

Whenever your backpack heads outside, it’s exposed to dirt. Whether going to school, hiking, or enjoying an afternoon in a park, maybe spills, stains, general grime are on the backpack when you get home. Follow these steps if you want to wash your pack by hand as the safest method of backpack cleaning: 

Step 1: read the label for any tips, if cold or warm water is preferred, etc.  

Step 2: empty the backpack.
Remove all items and shake out the backpack to remove dirt or crumbs. 

Step 3:  brush off any visible dirt.
You can use a vacuum to clean the inner parts. Remove any metal frames and detachable straps, and hip belts. 

Step 4: stain treatment.
Use a brush or sponge with proper detergent to gently clean any visible stains. 

Step 5: wash the backpack.
Fill the sink with lukewarm water and a tablespoon of mild detergent. Then place your backpack directly in the water. Scrub both the inside and outside of the pack with a soft brush or sponge. If the water is too hot, it can cause the backpack’s colors to run. 

Step 6: air dry
Hang up the backpack to air dry. Don’t use the dryer, as the heat can be harsh on the fabric and cause it to tear. 


How do you make a backpack look new again? 

It’s easy to make your backpack look new. First, fill a large sink or tub with warm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Let it soak for 10 minutes. Then, use a toothbrush, sponge, or washcloth to clean any heavily soiled areas, you can also use stain remover. Keep all zippers and pocket open and hang the backpack upside down to dry. 

If you plan on applying protective finishes like waterproofing sprays, make sure to wait until your clean backpack is completely dry. 

What is the best way to wash a backpack? 

It depends on different factors, such as your time, the backpack material, the way you use the bag, the types of the backpack, etc. But in the end, we recommend the handwashing method to help your bags last the longest.

Knowing how to clean a backpack and taking proper care of it is extremely important. The correct washing and maintaining will prolong your backpack lifespan and help you get the most out of your equipment piece. 

We aim to assist you on how to wash a backpack most safely and efficiently through this article. If you have any questions, comment below. 

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