Do you know the right way to clean Backpack?

You are planning a Camping trip and you notice how important your backpack is to carry all the necessary items. Let’s imagine your backpack as your house with different rooms and areas! Before you move all stuffs into this “new house”, it is very important to make sure that “the house” is clean enough.

I would be honest with you that cleaning a backpack in a right way is as complicating as cleaning a house. However, don’t worry, if you follow these tips, you can be confident to have a super clean backpack for your trip.

Whether you wash your backpack by hand or use machine, there are still six steps that you need to follow as described in the table below. The only difference lies in Step 5 – Wash the backpack that will be described in detail below:

6 simple steps to clean Backpack before Camping Trip

Handwashing Machine washing
Step 1 Empty the backpack Empty the backpack
Step 2 Prepare the backpack for washing Prepare the backpack for washing
Step 3 Check the backpack care label Check the backpack care label
Step 4 Pre-treat any stain Pre-treat any stain
Step 5 Wash the backpack

·  Fill a large sink or bathtub with lukewarm water

·  Add a gentle detergent to the water

·  Scrub the backpack with a soft brush or rag

·  Rinse the backpack thoroughly

Wash the backpack
Step 6 Dry the backpack Dry the backpack

Step 1: Empty the backpack

Empty the backpackFirstly, it is important for you to make sure your backpack is empty before you wash it. This is because you can prevent any of your belongings from damage of water. It also protects your washing machine from hard objects if you use it to wash your backpack.

There are different kinds of backpacks; therefore, you should pay attention to each structure to empty the backpack most effectively. For backpacks with inner framing, please remember to take the aluminum bars out before you wash it. For backpacks with no frame or with semi-rigid back, there are usually removable or side pockets. Hence, don’t forget to check these parts to see any items left.

A useful tip is that you can use a small vacuum to reach to the deeper corners of your backpack to ensure there is no dirt left. After emptying the backpack, you should leave it unzipped. Then, make sure that you keep all the items from the backpack together and clean them, so that you can put them back later.

Step 2: Prepare the backpack for washing

Clean Backpack with ClothTo make the cleaning process effective, you should remove all dirt both inside and outside the backpack with a damp cloth. After that, you need to remove certain parts of the backpack depending on each type:

  • Backpack with inner framing: Remove all mental bars inside the backpack before washing it
  • Backpack with no frame or semi-rigid back: Remove all detachable pockets and clean them separately
  • Trim any loose threads, especially those near zippers to make sure they run smoothly in the cleaning process.

Step 3: Check the backpack care label

Checking the backpack care label can help you to know which temperature of water or type of detergent that you should use to wash your backpack. You can usually find the label inside the backpack and the biggest storage section along a side seam is normally the information that you need.

Step 4: Pre-treat any stain

If you notice any stubborn stain on your backpack, it is advisable that you have some pre-treatment before cleaning it. In this way, you can use either a direct application of soap or a slurry of Oxiclean and water. You can follow the directions on the package to know how much to mix them.

After that, you can use either your finger or a soft toothbrush (suggested) to spread the slurry onto your backpack and wait for 10 minutes. Then you rinse it thoroughly with water.

Step 5: Wash your backpack


Wash Backpack

  • Fill a large sink or bathtub with lukewarm water: Make sure that you have enough space to wash all parts of the backpack. Usually, you should avoid hot water to prevent color bleeding (check this carefully from the care label). Also, you need to check the instructions to see whether you can submerge or just wet the backpack with soaked rag.
  • Add a gentle detergent to the water: It is better to use detergent free of dyes, fragrances, and chemicals to prevent unnecessary damage to your backpack’s fabric materials or your skin.
  • Scrub your backpack with a soft brush or rag: Depending on the materials of your backpack and types of stain, you can choose the suitable items to clean it. A toothbrush is best for strong material and tough stains whereas a soft cleaning rag are better for delicate materials and general dirt.
  • Rinse your backpack thoroughly: Make sure that you rinse out all soap or detergent on your backpack. Also, you should pay attention to zippers, straps, and foam areas when wringing out the bag to avoid any unnecessary damage.

Machine washing

Laundry LabelYou can use the washing machine to save time and effort if your backpack’s care label recommends it. It is better to wash your backpack in a laundry sack or oversized pillowcase to prevent damage to the bag’s rug.

Then, you should set your machine on gentle or delicate mode and use cold water to prevent damage and color bleeding. A small tip is that you should keep an eye on the washing machine in case your bag gets stuck and causes “unbalanced load”. In this case, you need to spread your bag around or restart the cycle.

Step 6: Dry your backpack

It is advisable that you should hang up your backpack in natural light or inside rather than using drying function of the washing machine. Make sure that you leave the bag unzipped and upside down to let the water come out of the bag. Then you can wait until it completely dry and store it for next use.

Watch the Cleaning Guide from Tortuga:

Congratulations on cleaning your “new house” for all of your traveling items. These six simple steps can be applied for a full wash of your backpack and you can do it once or twice a year. I hope that you are confident for your next trip with a clean backpack now!

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