How to Clean a Backpack: Maintenance 101

How to Clean a Backpack
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Does it ever happen that you can’t stop staring at an incredibly cool backpack placed in a shop around the corner? The pattern, zipper, and color are nothing like you’ve ever bought before. But before buying, you also need to learn how to clean a backpack to add life to your purchase.

Despite the appeal, you know you’d rather stick to the tote you carry around usually. Not because that backpack is out of your budget, but you will have to be extremely careful after the purchase. For affordable backpacks, take a look at these backpacks under $100.  Plus, you have little or no idea how to clean your backpack.

What if we tell you that cleaning backpacks is pretty easy now?

How to Clean a Backpack

There must be some basics you should remember when using hiking backpacks. In fact, we highly suggest you make efforts to keep it clean from day one.

This guide runs through all steps required to keep your backpack clean. Here they are:

1. Empty the Backpack

There can be a couple of things in our bag that we keep and completely forget about them later. When you decide cleaning, it’s important to empty all contents.  Shake out the crumpled old papers, gums, and crumbs.

Make sure to remove the gym clothes and any leftover food items from the bag once you reach home. Once you have checked all the pockets, keep them unzipped. If there is a metal frame on the bag, remove it before the clean-up.

As for the contents, there might be a few things you need in your bag all the time. We recommend that you keep them in a plastic bag when emptying to make sure you don’t lose them.

2. Prepare for Washing

It’s always a good move to assess the bag’s condition. Perhaps, there are only a few spots that need particular attention. That would save you some extra work.

Next, you can rub off the exterior dust and dirt manually. After that, use a mildly moist rag to wipe the outside surface of the backpack. You can also, clean stains using dish soap as soon as you notice them.

Alternatively, you can use a stain remover on affected areas. Gently apply some remover with a brush and let it sit for 30 minutes. It will eventually get off during the wash.

It is also essential to get rid of any loose fibers or threads. Cut them off to avoid stuck zippers and saggy threads after the wash.

3. Check the Instructions

The steps mentioned before are quite common and apply to all kinds of bags. However, for some, there are special instructions that you must follow.

You might have noticed a small label stitched with a side seam in the primary compartment. It contains all the information about how to wash and dry the bag.

Regardless of your expertise on laundry, it is always best to read the instructions provided by the manufacturer. It’s quite possible that certain chemicals or cleaning methods will damage the material. So, read and follow the instructions as accurately as you can.

In some cases, there are no care labels given by the manufacturer. You must test the chemical on the backpack to see its impact on the fabric.

4. Wash the Pack

You can pick either of the two methods for the final wash:

  • Laundry Machine

If laundry washing is allowed, you must first place the bag in a pillowcase and tie a knot on the top to keep it from slipping out. You can start by adding a small amount of detergent to the washer while it fills with water. Keep in mind though that it is better to wash in lukewarm water while keeping the cycle of the machine to a gentle level.

  • Handwash

In case the label strictly forbids machine wash, you’ve got no other option but to wash it manually. You can do this in a sink or a laundry basin. Keep in mind; there should be enough room to wash all pockets and internal sections. Using a brush to rub and clean stains is also a common practice during the manual wash.

There is a chance that the backpack label tells you not to submerge it entirely in the tub. This means you’ll have to stick to the primary cleaning method, which is, using the damp rag to clear up the stains.

5. Use Gentle Detergent

Not all detergents are suitable for all kinds of material. For stuff like bags and jackets, experts suggest you should use mild cleansers. When you research how to clean a backpack, you will find that there are cleaning agents that are free of dyes, chemicals, and fragrances. Buy them for this wash.

It’s important to be on the safe side when selecting the detergent from the market. Any negligence may cause the entire fabric of your backpack to ruin or discolor.

6. Remove from Laundry or Tub

Post wash steps are more or less the same for two methods. Whether you wash the bag in a machine or a sink, never put it in the dryer. Instead, drain the water after washing by using your hands and wring it out as best as you can.

7. Dry Your Backpack

The best way to dry is to leave it open in the air. You must leave all the zippers open while it dries.

To let it dry as soon as possible, allow the bag hanging upside down. It helps to ensure that no moisture stays behind in the corners or pockets.

One common practice to dry the internals of the bag is to stuff some towels inside. These will absorb the moisture and help the bag retain its shape. Or, you can dry it outdoors in the sun. It’s a way to make sure that any unwanted odor drifts away.

Ensure that the bag is 100% dry before you begin using it or placing it inside for later use. If you leave it wet, it may cause a lousy stench or mold growth within the bag.

8. Other Tips

You should also wipe the bag regularly to keep it dry from the inside and outside. It helps to steer clear of any mold formation.

No matter how expensive your bag is, you must make sure that you treat it well. Avoid dragging it on the floor or packing sharp objects without care. This is also a good time to check for any broken zippers than can be easily fixed.

Final Verdict

Backpacks are not ordinary bags. For some people, they are a style statement. They define their personality. So, if there is an irresistibly awesome backpack at the store, go for it but make sure you maintain it well!

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