A Practical Guide on How to Properly Wash a Backpack

A backpack is one of the essential pieces of gear for any outdoor enthusiast. Whether you’re a hiker, a camper, or a traveller, your backpack is your trusty companion on all your adventures.

But even the most trusty companion can show wear and tear after a while. That’s why it’s essential to know how to properly wash a backpack, so you can keep it in tip-top shape for years to come.

Wash Backpacks Using a Washing Machine

Washing backpacks in a washing machine is a great way to keep them clean. However, washing will depend on the type of backpack materials.

You can machine wash your backpack if it is made of canvas, nylon, and synthetic materials.
Here are a few steps to clean your backpack using a washing machine:

Step 1: Start by emptying out all the contents of your backpack. This includes any pockets or compartments, so you can thoroughly clean them.

Step 2: Next, check the care label to see what the manufacturer recommends for washing. If there is no care label, err on caution and use cool water and a gentle detergent.

Step 3: Put your backpack in a laundry bag before putting it in the washing machine. If your backpack is made of canvas or nylon, or another natural fibre, it's best to wash it in a gentle cycle with cold water.

If your backpack is made of synthetic materials, you can usually wash it on a regular cycle with warm water.

As for polyester, set the washing machine to its gentlest cycle and avoid using bleach detergent. It is better to wash it in cold water and avoid heat higher than 40ºC or 104ºF

Step 4: Make sure not to put your backpack in the dryer after washing. Hang it up to air dry instead. This will help prevent it from shrinking or becoming misshapen.

Washing Backpacks By Hand

Hand washing is the best way to clean backpacks made of leather, nylon, or other delicate materials.

Start by unzipping all the compartments and taking out anything removable.

Step 1: When you're about to wash your backpack, you should first check the care label. This will tell you what kind of fabric your backpack is made from and what kind of detergent to use. Once you've checked the care label, you can proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Mix a cup of mild soap with a cup of water and apply it to the backpack. Work the soapy water into the fabric with a soft brush.

Step 3: Rinse the backpack thoroughly with clean water and let it soak for another 20 minutes. Rinse it again and then squeeze out the water.

Step 4: Hang the backpack up to dry.

How to Prevent Your Backpack From Smelling

There are some things you can do to prevent your backpack from smelling bad in the first place.

1. If a backpack gets wet, dry it off immediately. Do not put it away wet.

2. Store your backpack in a cool, dry place. Do not put it in the attic or basement.

3. If you are using your backpack in a hot climate, make sure to put a towel in the bottom of the backpack. This will help absorb sweat and keep your backpack from smelling.

4. After you've washed your backpack, it's important to ensure it's completely dry before using it again. Drying it in the sun is best, but you can also use a hairdryer on the low setting if necessary. If your backpack is still wet when you put it away, it could mildew and become ruined.


Knowing how to properly wash a backpack to keep it clean and free of bacteria is essential. If you do not clean your backpack regularly, it can become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. By following the simple steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your backpack stays clean and fresh for many years.

Troop London offers a variety of backpacks in London that are easy to clean and perfect for any occasion. With a variety of materials, styles, colours, and sizes to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect backpack for your needs. Let us help you find the perfect backpack for your next adventure! Browse through our products today!