Washing a backpack may be tricky sometimes. You may even end up damaging your pack, but if you know some rules and regulations, then you can save your bag and clean it easily. Always remember to check the label before washing your backpack.
Some packs are instructed to wash with your hands, some packs sustain in the washing machine, and some bags are labeled as not to wash it with water. Remember, if you do not follow the instructions, your expensive or favorite pack may become damaged.
Guides and Steps on How to Wash a Backpacker
Hence, before you start washing your pack, always read the label thoroughly. Now, without going any further, let us talk about the ways to clean your backpack along with some tips for taking care of your pack correctly.
Wash Your Backpack with Hand
After going through the label, unzip all the pockets and shake off any loose dirt. Before washing your backpack, do not forget to bring out all your belongings from inside your pack. Also, if you see any loose threads close to the zipping areas, cut away those.
This will ensure to have a backpack free of ripped and stuck zippers. Also, if you see any torn area, fix it before washing. After putting everything out, recheck the pack, and then start the procedure of washing your pack.
You need baby shampoo or gentle detergent, a sponge with a soft and rough side, a toothbrush, and a towel for hand washing your pack. So now, use a hand shower to rinse the outer layer of your pack.
Cleaning Backpack Exterior
Take the sponge and pour some baby shampoo or detergent on the softer side of the sponge, then rub the bag’s exterior. If you see any more challenging patches which are not removable with the softer side of the sponge, then use the rougher side to remove those. Rub every bit of a corner gently and carefully.
Cleaning the Inside Part of the Pack
There are many backpacks for hiking. Some of the medium size backpacks for overnight hiking have many outer pockets to get inside, so cleaning these packs will be easy. But there is some model which have only one access, so you need to be creative to get into these packs.
If you are done cleaning the exterior, pull the bag inside and start cleaning it like before. Now rinse both exterior and interior with water, after washing if you see some dirt patches on some parts, clean those parts again.
The reason behind using baby shampoo is that baby shampoos are mild; therefore, it will not harm your pack’s material; it is also very available in the market rather than gentle detergents.
Cleaning the Zippers
Now for cleaning the zippers, use a toothbrush. Do not pressure the zippers while cleaning as it might become damaged or bend off the zipper teeth. After you are done cleaning again, rinse the bag with clean water, keep rinsing until you see the running down water becomes clean.
- Hang the bag upside down for one hour to get rid of the excess water.
- Take the bag and gently tap dry it with a towel.
- If you see that the bag is still wet, hang it again and dry thoroughly. If you have access to the sun or hang the bag outside, then do that.
This will help your bag dry faster.
Do not use any dryer to dry your bag as it may harm the material.
Cleaning Your Backpack in Washing Machine
1st bring all out all your belongings and go through the label. Read the instruction properly. If the label says to wash the pack in the washing machine, use a washing machine to clean it.
Unzip all the zippers and shake off any loose dirt. If your backpack has a frame or any detachable pockets or straps, remove those and wash the pockets and straps separately.
Processes on How You Can Wash a Backpack in Machine
For machine washing your backpack, you need gentle detergent, a toothbrush, a towel, and of course, a washing machine.
Now put your backpack inside the washing machine and add 1 or 2 tablespoons of gentle detergent. Now start the washing procedure with a soak cycle for 15 minutes. The Soak cycle is used for loosening more challenging patches of soils or anything else.
After this, start gentle wash with cold or lukewarm water. After finishing the procedure, take off the bag from the washing machine and tap dry the bag’s interior and exterior with a towel. This will soak the extra water from the bag.
If you see some dirt stuck in the zipper teeth, take a brush and a small toothpaste amount. Rub zipper gently with these. This will remove any dirt left on the zipper. Do not forget to wipe off the zipper with a soft towel after cleaning it.
Now for drying, hang your bag outside and let it dry naturally. Do not zip your pack before drying. Also, please do not use a machine dryer for drying as the heat can damage your pack, and you do not want it.
Drying your pack outside can help to cancel out any leftover odor from inside the backpack. Before using the pack again, make sure that it is completely dry. For washing machine wash, you need a lot more time for washing than hand washes.
Clean the Backpack without Washing
Some backpacks are labeled as not suitable for washing. If you wash these bags by hand or even with a washing machine, it can damage your bag’s material. Though most of the backpacks are washable, some bags are not.
Some backpacks are even made of leather, and you cannot wash leather backpacks. The reason behind labeling a pack as not washable can be because the frame inside the backpack may be attached to the pack. Therefore if you wash the bag, the bag might lose its shape and be damaged and wasted.
To clean a non-washable backpack, you need vinegar, a soft brush, a piece of cloth, water, and a towel.
Take one part of vinegar and two parts of water in a bowl and mix them properly. Then take a soft brush and clean the exterior of your pack with the brush and the mixture’s help. Do it gently and softly. After that, take a soft piece of cloth and rub the pack gently to remove any dirt or stain. After you are done removing dirt and stain, clean the bag with a fresh towel. For removing the vinegar odor, you can spray some body mist or deodorant on the bag.
Clean Leather Backpack
For cleaning a leather backpack, you need to follow a completely different procedure.
Leather products are supposed to be used with care, but as you will be using your backpack on your journey, you cannot be very careful about that. Therefore make sure to take proper care of your pack after coming back from the camp or tour.
Now you can clean your leather backpack in two ways. One is when you are in a hurry or on tour, but your pack became dirty. If you do not have your leather cleaning products with you, you can use the emergency or temporary method.
The other one is the proper method you should use while cleaning a leather bag. So, check out how to wash a backpack with a leather bottom or everyday leather backpack.
Temporary Method for Cleaning a Leather Backpack
For cleaning a leather backpack with a temporary method, you need vinegar or dishwasher, water, and some cotton piece of clothes.
If you are using vinegar, you will need to mix three portions of vinegar with two water portions. Then, wet a piece of cloth with the mixture and gently rub the stained parts until you get rid of the stains properly.
Make Sure of Damage Safety in Cleaning with Dishwasher
Do not be harsh while doing it, and do not hurry as it may damage your bag. If you are using a dishwasher, then pour one teaspoon of dishwasher into a water bowl and mix them properly.
Now take a piece of cloth and dab the dishwasher on the backpack with the cloth. Now wipe your bag with the same cloth until stains come off. Now take another piece of cloth and rinse it with clean water.
With this, wipe the backpack properly to remove the soapy feeling. You are done with the quick leather wash, and you are now good to go.
Traditional Method for Cleaning Leather Hiking or Normal Backpack
For applying the proper method of cleaning a leather backpack, you need pieces of clothes, leather oil, leather balm, and leather cleaner.
Using Leather Cleaner Spray
Take the leather cleaner and spray it on a piece of cloth. Now with the help of the cloth, rub the exterior of your leather pack in a circular motion to clean it. If you are using a white or light-colored cloth, you will see the dirt coming off your backpack. After rubbing, let it sit for an hour or so.
Take the leather oil and squeeze a little portion of oil on a fresh piece of cloth. Now, as before, rub the cloth in a circular motion on the body. Do the process gently, and do not forget to rub all the corners.
This will soften any scratches on the leather body and will give a rich look to it. After rubbing, let it sit for 15-20 minutes, and then you will have to buff the leather pack. Buff the leather body to get rid of any excess oil on the material.
Making the Leather Pack Water Resistant
For making your leather pack water-resistant, you can rub some balm onto the exterior. Leather balms usually contain beeswax, which is a thick layer, which is why the balm can protect your pack from a certain level of water.
You can also treat any scratches on your leather backpack using these methods. This is a traditional way of cleaning and treating any leather goods.
Cleaning with a Brush or Air Dry
If you are on a journey or trip and do not have time or the liberty to follow any of the steps or methods mentioned above but still want to get rid of some dirt that smells bad, try to follow them. Take your backpack outside in an open space. Use a cloth to clean the dirt partially.
You can use dry air methods to wash a backpack as well. After doing it, you can make sure the exterior cleaning with clothes.
Here are a few things to do:
- Do not rub the bag roughly, be gentle. If you think that a brush is a good option rather than a cloth, use a brush instead and clean then dirt.
- While cleaning the backpack in the dryer, don’t overheat it. You can gently dry your backpack at a medium temperature.
- Do not spread the dirt all over your backpack. Brush the pack in a way so that the dirt comes off without spreading if the dirt is a tough patch, you can also you a 1 or 2 drops of alcohol to treat it.
- After this, wipe off the part with a wet cloth or wet wipe and let it dry under the sunlight. Sunlight will kill the bacteria and which will help to reduce the odor as well.
Some Important Tips on Avoid Damaging
Washing your backpack often can also damage your backpack. To avoid getting damage in hand wash techniques or dry the backpack, you can follow some tips
- It would help if you did not wash your backpack more than two times a year.
- For cleaning any extra dirt before washing your pack, you can also vacuum clean the inside to remove any remaining dirt, rocks, and dust.
- Do not forget to vacuum all the corners and seams of your bag correctly.
- If you have a colorful backpack, do not let it dry under the sun after washing, as the sun can damage or fade away the actual color.
- After you are done with the cleaning and drying process, you can use some waterproofing spray on the exterior part of your pack, and this will help you while raining and partially from muds and puddles.
- You can use zipper lubricant or silicon spray to take care of your zippers and make these smoother.
Hello there! I am Justine. I love traveling to different places, mountains, and rivers. Here are some of the tips about my all in one guide.