You have come from a long trek and now you must be wondering how to wash your backpack especially after all the adventures you have had.

Backpacks are usually designed for carrying gear over long distances. It carries clothes, equipment, medical kits, personal items, and all the basic things you need in a trek. Not to mention, your backpacks go through a series of airport terminals’ checkpoints or train’s carriers.

Trekking bags are often made from lightweight materials, such as nylon.

Read on how to pick the right trekking poles for you

But what the question arises, how to clean your backpacks?

It seems like yesterday that you bought your backpack, but here you are, and it’s covered in sweat, dirt, and smells like you’ve been living in the rain forest for the last ten years. Yes, it’s time to clean your backpack.

You can take your bag to your local dry cleaner, but that will cost a pretty penny. While that’s a great way to keep your pack clean, it’s not the only way. Because of this, you will want to do the job yourself.

That being said, it’s not hard to clean your backpack. Follow these steps, and you’ll have your backpack looking like new in no time.

Methods on how to wash your backpack

There are basically two ways on how to wash your backpack: Hand-washing and Machine-washing. Let’s get in-depth below:

Method 1: Hand washing your backpack

Step 1: Empty your bag

Take out everything there is inside the bag.

Things that are easy to remove and clean separately are a water bottle, cooking containers, sleeping mat (if it is a self-inflating or foam mat that is also washable), and rain cover.

You can put other items in a plastic bag to not misplace them.

Check every compartment of the bag, and if you find any dust or crumbs, you can brush it off with a soft brush or a handheld vacuum cleaner.

If there are any threads at the zipping area of the bag, cut them off. If your bag has any detachable pockets or straps, then take it out and clean them separately.

Step 2: Check for instructions on the label

Before starting the washing process, check for care instructions that are on the label of the backpack. Check what the label recommends in terms of washing and drying so that your bag won’t get damaged.

If there isn’t a label then, test a small section of the backpack to see how the bag reacts to the detergents you are about to use.

Step 3: Fill the basin/bowl with lukewarm water

Half-fill the basin/bowl with lukewarm water. Don’t use hot water as it will damage the backpack’s color. Scrub the backpack’s body with a brush or a sponge and focus on the crevice’s as well.

Turn the backpack inside out and wash the insides.

If your backpack has stains, then you can use treatment stain remover by keeping it in the stained area for 30 minutes; avoid bleach.

Step 4: Rinse

After the scrubbing, drain the dirty water. Again, fill the basin/bowl with water and rinse out any detergent or soap from the backpack.

Wring out the backpack and fold it into a large body towel to dry off excess water.

Step 5:  Drying your backpack

It is best to naturally dry your bag than on a drying machine.

To naturally dry your backpack, hang it upside down, unzip all the pockets and let it dry in the sun. Before keeping it inside or using it again, make sure that it is completely dry.

Method 2: Machine washing your backpack

Step 1: Empty your bag

Take out everything that is inside the bag.

Things that are easy to remove and clean separately are a water bottle, cooking containers, sleeping mat (if it is a self-inflating or foam mat that is also washable), and rain cover.

You can put other items in a plastic bag to not misplace them.

Check every compartment of the bag, and if you find any dust or crumbs, you can brush it off with a soft brush or a handheld vacuum cleaner.

If there are any threads at the zipping area of the bag, cut them off. If your bag has any detachable pockets or straps, then take it out and clean them separately.

Step 2:  Check for instructions on the label

Before starting the washing process, check for care instructions that are on the label of the backpack. Check what the label recommends in terms of washing and drying so that your bag won’t get damaged.

If there isn’t a label then, test a small section of the backpack to see how the bag reacts to the detergents you are about to use.

Step 3: Remove metal frames

Check for any metal frames before putting them inside the washing machine. Also, check if the straps are removed as they can get caught in the washing machine, which would damage the machine and the backpack.

Step 4: Pretreat the stains

If the backpack has any stains, apply stain remover, use a soft brush or a toothbrush with soft bristles, and let the stain detergent sit for 30 minutes. AVOID USING BLEACH to clean the stained areas.

Rinse away the detergent. It would be best if you cleaned the stains as soon as you wash the detergent off.

Step 5: Washing the backpack

Put the backpack in a pillowcase and place it inside the washing machine. The reason for doing this is to avoid the zippers and straps from getting caught in the machine.

Then apply 1-2 tbsp of detergent and put the machine on a gentle cycle.

Here is an article from the New York times on the list of best laundry detergents of 2020

Check-in if the backpack has bunched up during the spin cycle. If it has, stops the machine and move the bag, and spread it out. Restart the cycle again.

After the cycle is finished, take it out and wipe down the backpack.

Step 6: Drying your backpack

It is best to naturally dry your backpack than drying it on a drying machine.

To naturally dry your backpack, hang it upside down, unzip all the pockets and let it dry in the sun. Before keeping it inside or using it again, make sure that it is completely dry.

How to wash your backpack: Things to avoid

  • Do not use hot water: Hot water will not clean off sebum, dirt, or oil; you need warm water to do that. Hot water will also damage your backpack through deformation, fading, etc.
  • Do not use durable Alkali detergent: This detergent is made for delicate fabrics and doesn’t work well on nylon or polyester clothes. It may ruin your backpack if you use it.
  • Do not use a washing machine if your backpack is made of nylon: This can cause your bag’s deformation.
  • Do not overwash your bag: Every time you wash something, the fibers get damaged. That’s why you should only wash your bag when it’s necessary.
  • Do not use the dryer on high: This will automatically wrap your bag and ruin it.
  • Do not use detergent with color: Your bag will fade and lose its color.
  • Do not leave your bag to dry in direct sunlight: This will cause your bag to fade, get fuzzy and lose its glow.
  • Do not use detergent with fabric softener: Just don’t, this will affect the longevity of your backpack.
  • Do not cut the locking system: Doing this will ruin the locks, and you’ll eventually have to replace them with new ones that are exactly like the old ones.
  • Do not double wear your backpack: You’ll have to wash it when you go away again, which will affect your backpack’s longevity.

I hope these tips and tricks made it clear on how to wash your backpack properly. If you have any tricks that might come in handy, please feel free to comment down below!

Also, read on essential items for trekking.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.