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How To Wash A Travel Backpack – Best Tips And Tricks

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Rain or shine, your backpack is your loyal travel companion – absorbing all the dirt that comes with traveling. But, when you can no longer bear the grime, stain, and smell, do you know how to wash a travel backpack?

That’s easy. You can put your backpack in the washer, press the setting, and then leave it. Unfortunately, cleaning a bag needs more than a few minutes in the washer. Also, getting the accumulated grime off the bag will be tricky. Have you ever heard of a deep cleaning technique? That’s probably what your backpack needs.

Use The Right Cleaning Supplies

Learning how to wash a travel backpack with the right cleaning supplies will make your life easier. Whether it is a deep or light cleaning, you will need the following:

  • Mild soap – no fragrance and no additive
  • Clean sponge or washcloth or a soft-bristled cleaning brush (e.g., an old toothbrush)
  • Old towels
  • Laundry bag or pillowcase (machine-wash)
how to wash a travel backpack

Hand Washing A Travel Backpack

Possibly your travel backpack comes with cleaning instructions from the manufacturer. Checking the care label is the first step. They know their product and can give instructions that are best for you to know how to wash a travel backpack. But if you don’t find any instructions or you have an older backpack we will go over how to clean a travel backpack.

Light Cleaning

Light cleaning is what your soiled backpack needs after an overnight trip or a few days of hiking. If you keep the backpack unclean for a long time, the dirt becomes hard to take off the bag. But if you clean it right away, it will be reasonably easy to get the grime off. If you haven’t tried this cleaning method, follow these steps on how to wash a travel backpack.

  • Empty the bag’s pockets and shake it upside down to get the sand and dirt out.
  • Without soap, use a clean sponge. Dampen it a bit and wipe the bag’s interiors.
  • Gently scrub the stains on the outside using a sponge and mild soap. (use a soft brush)
  • Now it’s time to rinse your bag with a soft cloth and water.
  • Finally, air dry your backpack.

Deep Cleaning

Deep cleaning is the way to go when you use your backpack for a long time and don’t have time to clean it right after. Here’s how to wash a travel backpack that has hard-to-remove dirt.

  • Empty your backpack, including the pockets, and remove the sand and dirt from the seams and crevices using a handheld vacuum.
  • Handwash the backpack’s removable parts – shoulder/chest straps and hip belts, using mild soap and a soft sponge. Use running water to clean and remove the soap residue.
  • Remove your pack’s detachable metal frame and set it aside.
  • Fill a bathtub with tepid water. Put the backpack in the tub or sink and submerge it in water. Sponge off the interiors and brush the exterior spots. Clean the areas that come in contact with the skin, such as the shoulder straps and back panel. Clean the mesh pockets gently.
  • Fill the bag with six inches of clean, cool water to rinse. Repeat this step to remove the soap residue.
  • Pat dry the bag with an old towel, then hang it upside down.
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Machine Washing A Travel Backpack

If you have a nylon or canvas backpack, you can clean it in a washing machine. But before you do that, read the care label first for the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations.

Do you know how to wash a travel backpack in a washer? Follow the steps below:

  1. Follow the first three steps of cleaning your backpack by hand washing. Then make sure you hand wash all the removable parts like the shoulder straps, metal frames, or hip belts.
  2. Test the backpack fabric with about ¼ teaspoon of washing machine detergent to see if the material will fade or degrade. Do this in a less visible spot of the bag.
  3. Mix lukewarm water with a teaspoon of detergent and use a soft-bristled brush to clean the visible stains.
  4. Next to protect your bag put it in a mesh laundry bag or a pillowcase will work.
  5. Fill the first line of the detergent’s cap and put it in the washer’s soap dispenser. Then set the washer on a gentle cycle.
  6. When the wash cycle is complete, use an old towel to pat dry the backpack and remove excess moisture.
  7. DO NOT put the pack in the dryer because the heat can damage the fabric and the zipper pulls. Instead, hang it upside down to remove excess water.

More Cleaning Tricks

Here are additional tips on how to wash a travel backpack with deep-seated stains.

  1. Use a handheld vacuum or a computer keyboard air blower to remove hardened crumbs or dust in the backpack’s seams and crevices.
  1. If your backpack has hard-to-remove muck, a new makeup brush will do the trick. The soft brush will help loosen the debris and minimize fabric damage.
  1. Apply a small amount of stain remover for exterior or interior stains using a soft brush or an old toothbrush. Let it sit for about 30 minutes, then wash it off with clean, cool water.

FAQs Regarding Washing A Backpack

Here are a few questions you may have on how to wash a travel backpack.

Is it OK to put a backpack in the washing machine?

You can machine wash a nylon or canvas backpack. All other materials don’t qualify for a machine wash.

Can I wash a backpack without using water?

You can start shaking your backpack to remove loose dust, dirt, and other debris. Next, gently brush the backpack’s exterior using a clean, soft sponge to remove dirt and dust. You can also use a damp towel to wipe off dirt on the bag.

Can I wash a backpack with a USB port?

Do not machine wash and dry if your backpack has a USB port or other tech features. Instead, it’s best to handwash and air dry, so you don’t ruin the fabric and cause damage to tech features like the USB port.

Additional Resources

If you are looking for more tutorials, walkthroughs, and troubleshooting on Luggage, here are some additional posts about Luggage:

How To Wash A Travel Backpack – Conclusion

If you invested in a good quality travel backpack, good maintenance, and regular cleaning are essential to make your bag look new even after years of use.

Some backpacks require deep cleaning, while others are good with light cleaning. Knowing how to wash a travel backpack can save years of wear and tear. And how to wash a travel backpack will keep it spotless and ready for the next adventure.

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Laura Fuller

Hello, I am a luggage and travel fanatic. With a vast knowledge of TSA regulations, I am here to assist you on your journey. Please join me, and together, we will navigate the world of travel. From TSA and air to cruising the high seas, we will explore the best accessories and tips for smooth travel.

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