Back to School: How to Wash a Backpack

Need to get grimy schoolbags shipshape for the new school year? Here are some top tips on washing a backpack.



You might not have considered how to wash a backpack, but if your kids are heading back to school, cleaning last year’s backpack, rather than shelling out for a new one, is kinder to your bank balance – and more environmentally friendly.

The same can be said for school trainers – they can be cleaned too, if they still fit, of course.  

Before you start cleaning a backpack, check the label to see if it’s suitable for machine washing or needs to be spot-cleaned.

kids running at school


In the machine

If you have a machine washable backpack, washing is easy but preparation is crucial. Make sure the backpack is completely empty, paying special attention to inside corners, where sweet wrappers, dirt, coins and paper clips end up. Protect the washing machine drum by removing the frame and washing the backpack inside a large pillowcase or laundry bag.

Use a small amount of gentle detergent and a cool cycle, allowing the backpack to air dry, upside down, so any residual water in pockets or compartments drains away.


Washing machine in laundry room


By hand

If you’re washing a backpack by hand, you’ll still want to make sure it’s completely empty before you begin. If the backpack can be submerged, you can wash it in lukewarm water in the sink or bath, using a laundry soap or hand-wash liquid. Use a sponge or a soft brush to clean the backpack before rinsing in cool water.

If you can’t submerge the backpack, you can use a wet cloth with a small amount of detergent-free soap to spot clean it. Concentrate on the grimiest areas, but give the whole bag a good scrub so you’ll be left with a nice, clean backpack.


hands washing clothes in basin


Delay the next wash

Backpacks are a practical item and they’re likely to get dirty, but if you care for them well, they’ll last longer and require less attention.

A monthly sort through is a great way to keep mess and unnecessary weight at bay: you can sift through the trash and make sure the backpack only contains essential items. And a rucksack cover is a good investment as it protects from the rain and keeps the contents of your backpack dry.


Red backpack



Backpack SOS

If you’re looking for more backpack cleaning info, contact the experts at Laundrapp for some professional advice.


Guest written by,

Johanna Payton

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