Backpacks are trusted companions when it comes to having adventures. Whether you’re hiking the highest mountain or on an urban commute, a backpack is always there. That’s why it’s essential to learn how to take care of your backpack by properly washing it and ensuring it stays in tip-top shape.
Find out below what are the ways how to wash a backpack as you get ready for your next adventure.
How Often Should You Wash a Backpack?
There are no hard and fast rules on how often you must wash your backpack. Generally, when a backpack is used daily, you should wash it at least once a week. Backpacks made from natural fibers like cotton and linen must be washed more often than synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon.
Before You Wash a Backpack
Backpacks come in various styles–duffel, rucksacks, etc. The best way to clean a backpack is to always refer to the care label instructions first. Different materials require different laundry care. Cotton, nylon, and polyester are typical materials used to make backpacks.
After familiarizing yourself with its materials, prepare your backpack by emptying all its pockets. You can shake it upside down to ensure the sand and dirt are out. Detach any straps, and remove hip belts and any metal frame. Now your backpack is ready to be washed.
Best Ways to Spot Clean a Backpack
You can spot-clean your backpack to treat stains before thoroughly hand-washing or throwing it in the machine. You’ll need the following:
- Cloth/Soft brush
- Non-bleach laundry detergent/ Stain remover
- Cold water
Make sure to treat all parts of your backpack that have a stain on them using these steps:
- Grab a cloth or a soft brush and apply the stain remover or a non-bleach detergent to the stain.
- Allow it to soak for about half an hour.
- Scrub gently.
- Rinse using cool or cold water and a clean washcloth to help get the excess solution out.
- Leave all the pockets open and allow it to air dry in a place with plenty of fresh air circulation.
How to Hand-Wash a Backpack
If you prefer old-fashioned hand-washing, you’ll need:
- Lukewarm and Cold water
- Mild detergent
- Soft-bristled cleaning brush or an old toothbrush
- Old towel
Experts say it’s always safer to wash backpacks by hand. Here’s how:
- Pour lukewarm water into a basin and mix in 1 tablespoon of mild detergent.
- Submerge the backpack in the mixture and gently scrub with a sponge or washcloth.
- Remove any dirt buildup within the zippers with a cleaning brush.
- Drain the basin and pour some new and cold water and rinse.
- Pat excess moisture with a towel and hang the backpack to dry.
How to Machine-Wash a Backpack
Washing a backpack is made easy with a washing machine. Generally, polyester, nylon, and canvas backpacks can be machine-washed without waterproofing coatings or additional fabrics.
You’ll need the following:
- Pillowcase/ Laundry bag
- Gentle detergent
If your backpack doesn’t come with machine-washing care instructions, follow these steps:
- Place the backpack in a laundry bag to avoid parts like zippers getting caught inside. A pillowcase is a good alternative.
- Run the washing machine using a gentle cycle in cold water with a small amount of mild detergent.
- Leave all the zippers unzipped and hang them upside down to air dry.
How to Dry a Backpack
If not adequately dried, backpacks can get moldy and develop musty smells. If you’re considering putting it in the dryer, be aware that different materials require different temperatures.
Machine drying is not recommended as it will risk damaging your backpack. Air-dry it instead; you can always shorten its drying time by absorbing its moisture using towels.
After washing, hang your backpack upside down in a warm, well-ventilated area. Never put it under the sun because the exposure can damage the material.
Even though most backpacks are made to be sturdy, it still needs proper, regular cleaning and maintenance. Some materials need delicate care, while others are good to go in the washer. But either way, a well-maintained, tip-top-shaped backpack leads to a happy backpacker!