Getting to work, going to school, hiking, or just enjoying a day in the park can all leave their marks (literally!) On your backpack. Every time your backpack comes out, it’s exposed to dirt and grime. And even if you hand your bag over with a disinfectant wipe once more when you get home, that’s not enough to thoroughly clean it. Spills, stains, and general grime can all make a backpack look old and worn out, but the good news is that it’s easy to clean your backpack to make it look practically new.
Before you start cleaning your backpack
Regardless of the brand of your backpack, what material it’s made from, or what cleaning method you use, you’ll want to follow these tips before you do anything else.
- Completely empty the backpack and unzip all pockets.
- Flip the backpack over onto an open trash can and shake off all the debris and food particles. You can use a soft brush to loosen dirt or use the hollow attachment on your vacuum to suck up any crumbs and plush bunnies that may be trapped deep in the seams.
How to machine wash your backpack
Yes, you can put your backpack in a washing machine as long as the instructions on the care label say so. If you have a nylon or polyester backpack, it can be machine cleaned on a gentle cycle, with non-bleach detergent and stain remover to treat stains. Wash it on its own, not with a full load of clothes – if you don’t have a large mesh laundry bag, you can put it in an old pillowcase first to help contain the straps. “However, even though the fabric is machine washable, it can cause some backpacks to lose shape,” notes Carolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab. So use the shortest, smoothest cycle your machine offers.
You don’t want to machine dry the backpack as it will damage it. Instead, tumble dry and use a clean, dry towel to blot the inside and outside well, then hang it upside down to air dry, preferably in an area with good circulation. air.
How to wash your backpack without a washing machine
If your backpack care instructions recommend spot cleaning, here’s how to do it:
- If the straps are made of woven fabric and can be removed, wash them first in a lukewarm soapy solution of water and a deep cleaning detergent, such as Good Housekeeping Seal star Tide Hygienic Clean, to remove any encrusted dirt. woven fibers. . Rinse the straps well in cold water, dry them in a clean towel and air dry.
- Then mix a few drops of dish soap in a small bowl of lukewarm water.
- Dip a sponge or rag in the foaming mixture and use it to wipe down the inside of the backpack itself. Use a soft scrub brush or an old toothbrush to scrub away tough stains. After cleaning the inside, approach the outside of the backpack in the same way, paying special attention to areas that often touch the skin and rest against the body.
- Using a clean, damp microfiber cloth (our favorite is from eCloth), wipe down the entire interior and exterior of the backpack. Rinse the cloth with clean water, wring it out and repeat the operation to remove any remaining soapy residue.
- Hang the backpack upside down to air dry. Do not tumble dry.
If the care instructions on the backpack label indicate that you can hand wash the backpack, Follow these steps:
- Fill a basin with lukewarm water and a non-bleaching detergent.
- Gently slide the backpack into the solution and use an old toothbrush to scrub the visible stains.
- Rinse the backpack in cold water a few times, then squeeze and dry it in a towel to remove excess water.
- Hang the backpack upside down to dry where there is good air circulation.
How do you clean a leather backpack?
Whether your backpack is all leather or just has a leather bottom that you want to clean, empty your bag first. Then, as you clean a leather sofa, use a leather cleaner and conditioner, such as Weiman Leather Cleaner & Conditioner, or a little saddle soap, on a damp cloth to remove dirt. Continue with a clean, damp cloth to remove any remaining residue. When the backpack is completely dry, apply the leather conditioner sparingly to the leather for extra protection.
Tips for disinfecting a backpack
Occasionally, damp sportswear can sit in a backpack for days. Athlete’s foot fungi and bacteria from sweaty socks, shirts, and towels cause odor and can transfer to the bag itself. So, can you disinfect a sweaty and smelly backpack? In short, no. While you can kill germs on the soft fabric surfaces, they technically cannot be disinfected. “Only hard, non-porous surfaces can be cleaned of germs to the level needed to be disinfected,” says Forte. However, soft surfaces can be disinfected. While bleach can damage the coating inside a backpack, you can instead try a bleach-free disinfectant wipe like the ones from Lysol:
- First, thoroughly wipe down the inside of the backpack, paying special attention to seams and other nooks and crannies.
- Use multiple wipes if necessary to keep the interior surface moist for the length of time indicated on the wipe label.
- Spray the exterior of the bag fabric with a fabric sanitizer, such as Good Housekeeping Seal Star Tide Antibacterial Fabric Spray.
- Make sure your backpack is completely dry before using it.
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