Can You Wash A Backpack In The Washing Machine? Full Guide

Backpacks are essential to carry when going to school, work, or for just an evening to the park. Whenever your backpack goes out, it returns with dirt and stains all around!

There are stains from the spilled juices, gross of the forgotten lunch, ink leaked from your fountain pens, and the smell of your sweaty gym wear stuffed inside.

But nothing is permanent! 

Well, these stains and dirt can be washed from your backpack unless it is not suitable for a machine wash.

Yes, not all backpacks can be put in a washer! To find out if your backpack is not machine washable, you will need to look into the care label instructions.

To learn the complete guide about washing a backpack in the washing machine, make to read the complete article.

We will also be providing some useful tips on washing a backpack.

Can You Wash A Backpack In the Washer

Related: Washer Brands to Avoid

Is My Backpack Suitable for a Machine Wash?

For this, you must check out the care label instructions tag, which will most likely be attached to the backpack’s main compartment. 

If the care label indicates that it is not suitable for washing with water, you must not put it in the washing machine for cleaning purposes.

Such backpacks can be spot-cleaned. The complete procedure of it will be discussed later in the article.

If there is no such label, you can test a small section of the backpack before putting the whole bag in the water.

Usually, backpacks made of nylon and canvas are completely safe to put in the washer.

If the bag has a leather or some delicate fabric like silk or sequin on it, then never put it in a washing machine.

Also, if it has some fancy embellishment on it, consider washing the backpack by hand.

Empty Your Backpack and Remove Visible Dirt before Washing

Before actually getting into the process of washing, you must empty your backpack. 

  •  Clear out everything from the backpack. Moreover, clean the stuff as well if it is unclean, so you do not put anything dirty back into the bag. If the bag has any removable pockets, attachments, or a frame, remove that as well.
  • Brush off all the visible dirt and crumbs. You may use a handheld vacuum or a keyboard air blower to pull out as much muck as possible. 

How to Wash a Backpack in the Washing Machine

If your backpack is washable, then this is for you, and you must follow the procedure we will explain in this section.

After reading the care label instructions, you can also modify the steps according to them.

Step 1: Pretreat the Stains

To wash your backpack in a washing machine, you must pre-treat the stains. 

  • Take some pre-treatment stain remover and spray it over the area of stains. Rub the region with the help of a soft brush and let it rest for about half an hour. 
  • After this, you can rinse it properly with cold water. 

Step 2: Put the Backpack into the Washer

This is the main step where the backpack is thrown into the washing machine. But there are some points to be noted.

  • Firstly, put the backpack in an old pillowcase or a laundry bag. This would prevent the zips of the bag from tangling in any part of the machine. If you do not have a laundry bag or pillowcase, you can also turn the backpack inside out. 
  • Put the backpack into the washing machine.
  • Then add gentle detergent into the washer as the water fills in. It would be better to use liquid detergent as it is less likely to leave any detergent residue after the wash.

Step 3: Set Up the Washing Machine

After putting the backpack into the washer, make sure to follow the below points when setting the wash cycle.

  • Select the gentle wash cycle.
  • Opt for cold or lukewarm water.
  • Add an extra rinse cycle so that no residue is left behind. 

Step 4: Dry It Out

The last step is to dry out the backpack once the wash cycle is completed. 

When the bag is completely washed, take it out from the washer. Backpacks should be air-dried. 

You can hang it somewhere outside under the sun. If you are concerned about its color, hang it in a place with enough air circulation.

Keep it unzipped and hang it upside down. This will speed up the process and let the bag dry evenly and thoroughly. 

Make sure the bag is completely dried before you use it, or place it somewhere inside your storeroom. Even if it is slightly damp, mold can grow on it.

Can’t Wash Your Backpack? Here Is How to Spot Clean

For the backpacks that are not washable, spot cleaning is the solution. For that, you will need the following things.

  •  Gentle detergent
  •  Some washcloths (clean rags)
  •  A Cleaning brush (For stubborn stains, you may try an old toothbrush 

The procedure:

Step 1: Spray the Stain Remover

Grab a soft brush or a cleaning cloth. With its help, apply the detergent or the stain remover to the stains.

Step 2: Let It Rest 

Now let the backpack rest for about half an hour so that the stain remover or the detergent completes its actions efficiently. 

Step 3: Scrub the Stains

After this, gently scrub the stains with a cleaning brush or an old toothbrush.

Step 4: Rinse It 

Lastly, rinse the area having detergent with cold water, and it’s done!

How to Get Rid of Smelly Backpacks

Undeniably, backpacks do get smelly when you stuff a sweaty shirt, spill a drink or forget some food in your bag.

To tackle such smells, here are some tips to follow. 

  • Use diluted vinegar to apply to the smelly region and let it rest for some time. After this, you can simply wash the backpack, and the smell will go.
  • Get yourself an enzyme cleaner and use it on stains. The enzymes in it are known for breaking the bacterias of sweat and oil deposits on your bag. Also, it does not have any harmful effects. 

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So, that was all about washing a backpack in the washing machine! We hope this article has helped you clear out all your confusion regarding washing a backpack.

So the next time your backpack gets dirty or gets multiple stains, you know exactly how to kick off the dirt and stains from your backpack!

Steven Settles Author

Steven Settles is an ISCET-certified master in appliance repair. He has aced the National Appliance Service Technician Certification Exam, showcasing his exceptional diagnostic and repair skills. With an in-depth understanding of the latest repair technologies and a keen eye on evolving industry standards, Steven is a go-to expert for any appliance issue.

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