How to Clean a Backpack

How to Clean a Backpack

Follow our guide to learn how to machine wash or hand wash backpacks, as well as tips and tricks for keeping it clean all year round.

The 30 Days of Cleaning with Puracy

Back-to-school season may leave you wondering how to clean a backpack. Between dirty gym clothes and leftover lunches, backpacks can get pretty filthy day in and day out. Follow our guide to learn how to machine wash or hand wash backpacks, as well as tips and tricks for keeping it clean all year round.

How to Clean a Backpack By Hand

If you have a backpack with leather lining, patches, or other decor, hand washing may be the safest way to get it clean.

What You’ll Need:

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Make sure each pocket and compartment of the backpack is completely empty. Shake out any remaining crumbs or buildup.
  2. Spot treat any stains with Stain Remover. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Fill the sink or large basin with lukewarm water and add a tablespoon of detergent. Scrub the interior and exterior of the backpack with a microfiber cloth.
  4. Remove any buildup on zippers using an old toothbrush.
  5. Use a clean cloth to remove any remaining detergent. Pat dry with a clean towel.
  6. Hang up the bag and allow it to air dry.

Pro tip: Check the fabric care labels before using detergent on the backpack. If you’re not sure, test the detergent on a small spot first to determine colorfastness. 

How to Machine Wash a Backpack

If your backpack’s care label states it is machine washable, follow these steps for cleaning it using a washing machine. For canvas, polyester, and nylon backpacks, use a gentle cycle and cold water.

What You’ll Need:

Step-By-Step Guide:

  1. Make sure each pocket and compartment of the backpack is completely empty. Shake out any remaining crumbs or buildup.
  2. Spot treat any stains with Stain Remover. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Check zippers for any loose or hanging threads and cut them before putting them in the washing machine.
  4. Put the backpack in a laundry bag and then in the washing machine. Add detergent to the washing machine and set it to a gentle cycle.
  5. Once done, pat dry any remaining moisture with a towel. Hang up the backpack to air dry.

Pro tip: Never put a backpack in the dryer, as the heat can damage zippers and fabric lining.

Tips for Maintaining a Clean Backpack

Avoid ending the school year with a filthy backpack with these handy tips and tricks.

Do a Daily Clean Out

As soon as you get home, remove any leftover food or gym clothes to avoid odors from forming. Wipe the bag regularly with a clean cloth and mild soap.

Keep Dry and Carry On

Do your best to keep your backpack dry to avoid mold or mildew from forming. If it does get wet, allow it to thoroughly air dry by turning it inside out.

Vacuum Out Crumbs

If you're dealing with a food spill, turn the bag inside out and use a handheld vacuum to make sure it's thoroughly clean.

Nail Polish Remover for Clear Backpacks

If you have a clear plastic backpack, it may get dirty and foggy over time. Apply some non-acetone nail polish remover on a cotton pad and apply it to the bag's exterior and interior. Wipe it clean with a clean towel.

Clean Your Backpack with Natural, Plant-Powered Formulas

Whether you’re spot treating a lunchtime stain or putting your backpack directly in the washing machine, Puracy is here to help with our award-winning, natural cleaning formulas. Our Natural Stain Remover uses tough, plant-derived surfactants and enzymes to dislodge even the most stubborn of stains, while our Natural Laundry Detergent is optimized for those with skin sensitivities and allergies and effectively eliminates odors and build-up without dulling colors.