A dirty backpack can be the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. The good news is that most fabric backpacks and lunch bags can be machine washed. It is a good idea to wash them regularly and to clean and disinfect them before putting them back into use.
A backpack can be a valuable tool for students, hikers, travelers, and just about anyone else who carries around a lot of stuff. If the bag is heavily used, it is recommended that you wash it once or twice a year.
Before washing, empty the backpack of all items. This will prevent pens and yesterday’s lunch from getting caught in the washer. It is also a good time to empty out all of the pockets and compartments. Make sure you remove any metal frames as they can damage the washer or dryer.
If your backpack is made of fabric, place it in a mesh laundry bag or an old pillowcase before placing it into the washing machine. This will keep the bag from rattling around in the machine and prevent it from becoming damaged or ruined by any rust spots. Add a couple of tablespoons of detergent and wash the bag on a cool delicate cycle.
After the wash cycle, gently rinse the backpack in warm water and let it hang dry. It is important to let the backpack dry completely before putting it away or using it again. A backpack that is stored while it’s still slightly damp can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
For leather backpacks, it is a good idea to pretreat any stains before washing. Use a soft-bristled brush (such as an unused toothbrush) and a solution of 1 part liquid laundry detergent to 3 parts water. Apply the solution to the stain, scrub it into the backpack fibers, and allow it to sit for 30 minutes. Rinse it thoroughly with warm water, and let the backpack air dry before putting it away or using it again.
If your backpack has a rip or tear, you may need to mend it by hand. Depending on the type of bag, you will either need to stitch the tear or patch it with similar fabric. You can also use a waterproof spray to waterproof your backpack and help protect it against rain and other elements. After the backpack is dry, it can be stuffed with fresh and clean clothes and supplies. Don’t forget to check the zippers, clasps, and any other fasteners for signs of wear and tear. Once your backpack is in great shape, it will be ready to carry you off into the new school year. Good luck!