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Back to School - How to Wash A Backpack

Need to clean smelly, grimy schoolbags after a busy term at school? Here are some top tips on washing a backpack.


You might not have considered washing a backpack and replacing it instead. Rather than shelling out for a new one, save your money and be environmentally friendly by recycling the one you have and breathing fresh life into it by giving it a good old scrub! The same can be said for school trainers – if they still fit – they can be cleaned too! As with all items, it’s important to check the label to see if it’s suitable for machine washing or needs to be spot-cleaned.

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 lolly wrappers, dirt, coins and paper clips end up. Protect the washing machine drum by removing the frame (if it has one) and washing the backpack inside a large pillowcase or laundry bag. Using 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.

By hand

If you’re washing a backpack by hand, you still need 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 mild liquid. Use a sponge or a soft brush to clean the backpack before rinsing in cold 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 dirtiest areas but give the whole bag a good scrub so you’ll be left with a nice, clean backpack.

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 clean out is a great way to keep mess and unnecessary weight at bay: you can sift through the rubbish and make sure the backpack only contains essential items.

Backpack help

If you need help cleaning your backpack, contact Rinse & Repeat for some professional help.


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